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This will be the second Annual Report that WHISE has released during a pandemic. Although now we are a bit older and, we shall say, a bit wiser.

Through our work, our team, partners, and Board have grown. Our services have expanded both in how they are delivered and what they deliver, our understanding of community and the needs of women has grown, and our capacity and capability to evolve and adapt our workplan has grown.

More importantly, our partnerships have grown - it is to these partnerships and supporters that we dedicate this Annual Report to.

When WHISE reviewed and developed its Statement on Cultural Values in 2020, a key value that we all very quickly identified was collaboration. It is a value we hold strongly to, and one that our partners and members tell us we live by.

Collaboration:

Collaboration is fundamental to our work. We build, support, and encourage collaboration within our organisation and across the region. We value and respect the skills, knowledge and experience of others and seek to create opportunities to share ideas, knowledge, and expertise. We believe in the power of working together and collective action to create a more equitable world.
Taken from the WHISE Values Statement

While this annual report shows the work and projects that WHISE has delivered over the last 12 months, in reality the work has been done in collaboration with others – other leaders, workers, and organisations. In working with others, WHISE understands that all women in our region can benefit as we bring together different capacity and skills to energise primary prevention and health promotion activities and work.

It is true that we have grown through the pandemic, but importantly, so have many of our partners and members through our region. We celebrate their growth as well as ours.

We also celebrate the collaboration across the great Women’s Health Services sector in Victoria. It is unique, it is vibrant, it is intersectional, it is feminist, and it is one of a kind in Australia. We thank the Victorian Government for recognising this, not only through our ongoing core funding but also through the boost they provided the Women’s Health Services in the 2020 Budget. The reality is that this would not have occurred without the collaboration and efforts of the Women’s Health Services working together with the leadership and guidance of our peak body, Gender Equity Victoria, and support from Government. We know there is much more to do, but it is a great start and surely a vote of confidence.

The investment from Government to support a proposal led by Gender Equity Victoria and our sister organisation, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, to establish a statewide network of Multilingual Health Educators is also celebrated. The WOMHEn project is surely more evidence of the value of partnership and recognition of the benefit of different skills coming together. We look forward to being able to share with our partners and members the outcomes of this work to increase vaccine confidence and women’s wellbeing through this pandemic.

We would like to close by expressing our sincere thanks to all members of the WHISE Board for their support and leadership. Our Board continues to work constructively and collaboratively.

Last but not least, we deeply thank our amazing, talented and hard-working team who, with our incredible partners, supporters and members, have made this report a pleasure to put together.

Yours sincerely,
Robinette Emonson, Chair
Kit McMahon, CEO