CAWI: Making Voices CountSeptember 2, 2021
Making Voices Count (MVC) brings together grassroots community leaders and local organizations to work with local decision-makers and advocate for progressive systemic change in Ottawa. Led by the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), in partnership with the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres (CHRCs), this program supports residents of Ottawa, including newcomers and immigrants, to make their voices heard in municipal decision-making. Past wins include the creation of an EquiPass and $15 million dedicated to affordable housing in annual city budgets from 2018-2021.
The Civic Engagement Table of MVC meets monthly to learn, share information, and plan for action. It brings together residents and community agencies to work on collective action. We are focused on poverty reduction, affordable housing, equitable transportation, food security, and childcare.
Making Voices Count won the United Way Community Builder Award in 2019. We started as an action research project called Making Votes Count to increase voter turnout in low-income neighbourhoods across Ottawa in 2014. We continue to focus on voter turnout and education during elections for all levels of government. We also offer Elections Training leading up to federal, provincial, and municipal elections. After Elections Training, residents are supported to encourage voting with their neighbours. We also create asks and recommendations for politicians on each issue that is important to us: poverty reduction, affordable housing, equitable transportation, food security and childcare.
Between election cycles we advocate for socially just policies primarily at the municipal level of government. Every year, we offer training on how to make your voice heard in the City Budget. If you are interested in more information, please contact Lucia Morales, Civic engagement coordinator at CAWI at firstname.lastname@example.org.