Community Engagement for Gender Equality


    WOMHEn Project 

    Funded by the Working for Victoria initiative, the WOMHEn (Workforce of Multilingual Health Educators) Project began in 2021 using in-language health education to address the barriers experienced by migrant and refugee women in accessing health education and COVID-19 information. 

    The WHISE Multicultural Community Engagement Team (MCCET) formed part of the rapid response health workforce across Victoria, delivering multilingual health education in our region. 

    On 15 July 2022, the Breaking the Barriers: Migrant and refugee women’s experiences of health care in Victoria Report was launched by project leads Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and Gender Equity Victoria at an event held at the Immigration Museum.  

    The report provides insight into migrant and refugee women’s experiences of seeking COVID-19 information in Victoria over the 2-year period and demonstrates how culturally competent services can aid in increasing access to healthcare.  

    Our team celebrating impact of the WOMHEn Project with colleagues from across Victoria

    AfriAus ILEAC – Girl Force Active Bystander Training 

    In collaboration with the Youth Workers at AfriAus ILEAC, we developed and delivered Active Bystander training to young people and their parents at a ‘Girls Force’ community event. The workshop was delivered to 47 young people.  In addition, 57 adults were in attendance.  

    Outcomes were to increase young people’s understanding of the harmful effects of gender stereotypes and what to do if they witness every day sexism. To raise confidence in their ability to be active bystanders in an age and culturally appropriate way. 

    South East Community Links (SECL): Healthy Bodies, Healthy Relationships Program 

    Working in Partnership with South East Community Links, WHISE co-designed and delivered 4 week sexual and reproductive health program to 10 women from the Burmese community.  Topics included puberty and periods, healthy relationships, consent, family planning as well as sexually transmitted infections, cervical screening, and HPV vaccinations.  

    Outcomes were to create a safe space for women to ask any questions on SRH; increase confidence in help seeking behaviours for themselves and others; and increase knowledge, understanding, and safety on women’s sexual and reproductive health.  

    AfriAus Care 

    WHISE partnered with AfriAus Care to develop and deliver the ‘Mamma’s Life is Beautiful’ program.  

    The women in attendance were aged between 27 – 70 years old, and predominately from South Sudan and Somalia. Sessions were developed in consultation with the Mammas addressing important health topics they wanted to learn more about. 

    Sessions were delivered in plain English, with written, pictorial, and video resources provided in language. Content covered pelvic floor health and incontinence and menopause information in collaboration with Monash Health, breast cancer and breast screens in collaboration with Breast Screen Victoria 

    WHISE delivered 4 sessions throughout May – July, with 15-25 women attending each session. 

    Southern Migrant Resource Centre: Afghan Women

    PVAW Session

    WHISE partnered with the Southern Migrant Refugee Centre (SMRC) to co-design and deliver a 1-hour culturally sensitive domestic violence awareness and knowledge building session titled ‘Safe Relationships’. 25 Afghan women attended the session.  

    Outcomes included: 

    • Increased knowledge in the types of domestic and family violence, and how to recognise it.  
    • Increased knowledge and confidence in help seeking behaviours for themselves if they were experiencing domestic violence. 
    • Increased knowledge and confidence in help seeking behaviours for someone they know who may be experiencing domestic violence. 

    Team members also participated in working and advisory groups associated with a range of issues including, development of Victoria’s eating Disorders strategy. 


    Program Name: Afghan Domestic Violence Information Session

    Net Benefit to Community : $71,319.

    The net benefit per participant is $5,486

    Benefit Cost Ratio : 9.21

    Social Impact as calculated through the Australia Social Value Bank for the delivery of the Critical Friends Network.
    The values used in this cost benefit analysis have been derived using the wellbeing valuation method from data gathered through the HILDA (Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) and Journeys Home Survey.

    Victorian Eating Disorder Strategy Feedback and Consultations  

    WHISE was invited to take part in the consultations and feedback for the development of the new Victorian eating disorders strategy. WHISE consulted directly with the VIC Health Mental Health Policy Team and developed an evidence-based feedback report outlining the importance of including the Women’s Health Services in the implementation of the strategy with the outcome of reducing the mental health gender-gap in eating disorder diagnosis.  

    The key points outlined in the report are as follows:  

    • Women and girls are more likely to be affected by eating disorders than men and boys. 
    • Research shows that sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuses are contributing factors in eating disorder development. 
    • We need to take steps to address gender-based violence and look at how gender plays a role in eating disorders among different groups of people. 
    • A collaborative approach between the sectors is needed to reduce the prevalence of eating disorders in Australia. 
    • WHISE recommends the Victorian Eating Disorders strategy acknowledges that preventing gender-based violence is a preventative action against the development of eating disorders and invests in collaborative evidence-based initiatives and approaches.

    Cultural competency training for allied health and health promotion  

    Our community team delivered a free professional development program on 24 November, to allied health professionals, health promotion practitioners, policy makers and health planners in the region.  

    The learning program was for the GHDS Strategy and a partnership between WHISE and the Multicultural Health and Support Service (MHSS), as part of the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (CEH). Delivered to 39 attendees, the program sought to improve the knowledge and skills of workers to enable them to provide culturally appropriate, safe, and inclusive services and messaging.