ACLW's 2014 International Women's Day Event awarding SWECO Winners

on Wednesday, 26 February 2014. Posted in Sustaining Women's Empowerment in Communities and Organisations, Press Releases

ACLW's 2014 International Women's Day Event awarding SWECO Winners

One of the cornerstornes of ACLW’s vision is to recognise and reward women and men who catalyse their sensemaking of the barriers women face, into concrete action to address these barriers or change the contexts which give rise to them.

A common theme has run through the achievements of the 45 winners of ACLW’s national awards since 2006. Whether it has been a project that addresses the needs of those who are marginalized, or a workplace program designed to advance women in leadership or a project to celebrate women’s achievements, every project has been propelled by an individual or a team of individuals whose vision to assist women has been founded on identifying an unmet need or issue, collaborating with others and using available resources and networks to implement and monitor a plan of action.  The winners of ACLW’s 2014 Sustaining Women’s Empowerment in Communities and Organisations (SWECO) Award exemplify this undertaking with extraordinary outcomes for women in the community and in organsiations.

I would like to sincerely thank each of the 11 Judges who participated in the judging of 2014 SWECO and Minter Ellison for their generous sponsorship of the event.

For ACLW's 2014 International Women's Day, SWECO Winners received their Trophy, Certificate and Prize money at Parliament House, Sydney on 5 March 2014. Gold winners received $600. The Silver winners received $450 and the Bronze $350. The Ceremony involved Gareth Ward MP; Minister for Women Pru Goward; Speaker of the House, Shelley Hancock MP and Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Aboriginal Affairs, Victor Dominello.

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The Hon Gareth Ward MP hosted ACLW's IWD event and was the MC for the event.


 Minister for Women, The Hon Pru Goward's speech at the ceremony. 


 The Hon Shelley Hancock MP introduced each of the selected Nominees profiling their achievements and leadership. 


Katy McDonald, National Director of People and Development in Minter Ellison spoke on behalf of SWECO's sponsor, Minter Ellison


Diann Rodgers-Healey's speech at the start of the event.

I would also like to thank the following individuals for their kind assistance at the Awards Ceremony: Leanne Mckay, Mabel Tang, Kristi Cheng, Lorraine Denny, Christine Langford, Ben Fryer, Carol Fowler, Joanne Fryer, Aaron Healey, Richard Healey and Sue Conde.

The SWECO Award Ceremony was followed by the book launch of Considerations for Australia's next woman Prime Minister for which Eva Cox AO was the Guest Speaker. 

I am pleased to be announcing the winners for ACLW’s 2014 Sustaining Women’s Empowerment in Communities and Organisations (SWECO) Award. 

Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey 


Video of the SWECO Award Ceremony



2014 SWECO Winners 


Organisations Category Winners




Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) 

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Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) is an independent, feminist organisation committed to improving the health, safety and wellbeing of women residing in the twelve Local Government Areas in the GoulburnValley and North East Victoria. They were the first Women’s Health Service in Australia to develop a specific No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) specifically for disadvantaged women exiting family violence.  These loans have contributed to the economic security of 180 women and 400 children over the last 5 years. In 2009, WHGNE piloted the Common Cents project. It offered financially disadvantaged women an opportunity to receive mentoring aimed at improving financial competencies. This was followed in 2011 by the Tools for Change - Women and Financial Capability project, which, through mentoring, trialled a new way to support women to regain their financial confidence and capability, and reduce their financial dependence on abusive ex-partners. In 2013 resources were developed under the Keep Your Boat Afloat (KBA) which continued to raise awareness of financial abuse, and provided women leaving family violence situations with tools to re-establish financial independence. WHGNE’s also provides training for financial and community workers so that they develop the knowledge and skills to identify family violence—including financial abuse—and to provide client referrals where appropriate. Although, recent significant funding cuts has jeopardised this work, WHGNE is committed to supporting projects and research that address the structural barriers preventing women’s equitable economic participation and independence.


L-R Susie Reid, Karen O'Connor and Minister for Women, The Hon Pru Goward   


L - R Susie Reid and Karen O'Connor 


Thank you Speech by Karen O'Connor on receiving the Award and Press Coverage





Raise Foundation 

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Raise Foundation is a registered Australian Charity in Sydney that supports young people who are facing profound challenges in their lives including mental health, substance misuse, and sexual health issuesby providing school and community based mentoring programs and personal development workshops.In particular, Raise Foundation’s Bump program for young mums brings women together across the generations, challenges stereotypes, empowers with education and inspires girls to be the best women they can be. Run in partnership with the Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, it engages young pregnant and parenting girls with education and builds a comprehensive support network around them.  Young mums, aged between 13 and 23, connect weekly with an experienced woman who are their mentors and Program Counsellors. Together they attend ten monthly workshops which develop health and wellbeing strategies, and inspire the renewed ability to focus on aspirations.  The girls graduate with a TAFE Certificate 1 qualification and a wealth of knowledge and experience for themselves and their children, hence breaking the cycle of social, economic and emotional disadvantage. Over the past five years, on a shoe string budget with no recurrent or government funding, Raise Foundation has supported 255 young mums to graduate from the Bump program across Sydney and Melbourne.  They are girls who now understand that their journey may have been different to other women, but their destination can still be the same.


L-R Vicki Condon, Carli Blumanis, Telisha Foung and Minister for Women, The Hon Pru Goward



Thank you Speech by Vick Condon on receiving the Award





Women’s Legal Service (Tasmania) Inc 

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Women’s Legal Service Tasmania Inc (WLS) provides free confidential legal advice to women in all areas of Tasmania including some representation and case-work as well as referral to legal services and lawyers or appropriate support services. WLS noticed that women in the 14 to 24 age group were less likely to pick up the phone to call for advice even though the legal issues women in this age group face can place them in very vulnerable situations. After conducting research into what resources were available, WLS discovered that there was no comprehensive legal resource available in Tasmania or Australia. To address this need, in 2013, Women’s Legal Service Tasmania (WLS) launched Girls Gotta Know, ( an interactive mobile website app and an Australian first for the delivery of legal information and resources as well as links, contacts and further assistance to young women aged 14-24. Women can access this resource anonymously and find out about sensitive issues such as contraception and becoming independent from their parents. Since its launch on 8 April 2013, the app has received over 4000 visits with nearly 29000 page views. The accompanying website was launched on 24 June 13. The Former Attorney General identified that the app is such a great resource that he has provided WLS with the funding to roll out the app nationally which is taking place in April 2014 through the national Women’s Legal Services Australia network.



L-R Susan Fahey, Pauline van Adrichem and Minister for Women, The Hon Pru Goward


Thank you speech by Susan Fahey upon receiving the Award


2014 SWECO Community Category Winners




The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence (JTAFV)


The publication “WILL MY RABBI BELIEVE ME? Will He Understand?” by The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence (JTAFV) in Victoria is an educational resource that provides culturally appropriate and sensitive ways for the clergy and professionals to respond to disclosures of family violence, abuse and sexual assault. It has been written within a Rabbinic Context with sensitivity to religious and spiritual issues explaining the complexity from a woman’s perspective. A first of its kind in the world, produced in consultation with The Rabbinical Council of Victoria, this book builds capacity for spiritual leadership in clergy, professionals, teachers and principals to whom women turn to for safe disclosure. It is part of a tool kit with a series of professional development/training courses offered by JTAFV to empower these authority figures to best support women and families experiencing domestic violence and the related issues. JTAFV also provides mainstream service providers like Family Life, Victoria Police and the Salvation Army cultural and religious sensitivity training to best support their Jewish clients and all women in need.  The resource book is being used as by police libraries, Police chaplains, rabbis, social workers, principals and teachers across Australia, England, Canada, the USA and South Africa. JTAFV is hoping to work with CALD communities to adapt the book for use in the Muslim, Indian and Anglican worlds to empower women experiencing family violence and abuse.



L-R  Sheiny New, Lorraine Gold, Deborah Weiner and Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon Victor Dominello


Thank you speech by Sheiny New upon receiving the Award and Press Coverage




Nasiba Akram


In 1979 when Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviet Union, and the war was causing the death and displacement of millions of Afghans, Nasiba Akram fled the calamity of this war, but never forgot the pain and suffering of those she left behind. Motivated to rescue her people out of their misery, when she became an Australian citizen in 1982, she started to support the refugees in the camps of Pakistan and some in India.  She engaged actively in sponsoring the women in camps who were in immediate risk and persuaded women and men of the Afghani community in Australia to support and sponsor the ones at risk. As one of the most important criteria for becoming a sponsor was to be part of the Australian workforce, she empowered many female members of the Afghan community around her and in other Australian states to join the workforce, in order to be able to sponsor family members. She sought to develop her own knowledge of what the Department of Immigration required for Humanitarian entries and undertook the paper work herself.  Nasiba succeeded in bringing to Australia 210 individuals. To support them in her own home, she worked full time and part time. Her last successful application for a family of four was lodged in 2007. Through this period, to maintain harmony in a newly emerging Afghan community that was feeling the ramifications of displacement, she broadcasted two language programs in SBS Radio, to guide, inform and educate the community on issues of Domestic violence.  With changes to the offshore humanitarian program and with the arrival of the coalition forces in Afghanistan, Nasiba Akram is now focusing on education within war torn Afghanistan with the aim to build schools and libraries in different parts of the country to be accessed by both genders, in order to equip them with an education, which she considers as the real tool of survival.


Nasiba Akram and Minister for Citizenship and Communities and Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon Victor Dominello


Thank you speech by Nasiba Akram upon receiving her Award