ACWW update on Pickles and Fish

A year ago, we posted an announcement on how WI members could support two ACWW projects. Today I have good news, and soon to be good news.

Sheila Needham, Canada’s ACWW representative just issued her Fall 2015 ACWW newsletter which includes an update from the ACWW office in London, England:

Dear Sheila
I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your pretty card, showing autumnal colours, (Card was one of Linda Hoy’s) enclosing a cheque for £2,950.00, being donations from Canadian societies, following your very helpful spreadsheet. This is a very generous amount, and we confirm that these amounts have been allocated strictly in accordance with your instructions, with the following exception:-

Project No. 0960 ‘Pickles’
With these donations, you have exceeded your pledge to this project. We have therefore allocated the amount of Can $ 150.83 out of the 466.20 to project 0960, and we have allocated the ‘surplus’ for this project to project no. 0961.

I am delighted to attach a Certificate of Appreciation to this email, to mark the fact that you have fulfilled your pledge to project 0960.

Project No. 0961 ‘Fish’
As mentioned above, the ‘surplus’ of donations to project 0960 has been allocated to project 0961. This means that your donations to this project now total £1,662.11 out of your pledge of £2,786.00, leaving the amount of £1,123.89 still to be raised. [$2,269.19 CAD]

We are very grateful for the support of Canada Area for our projects and work. We understand that you have already thanked the various members and societies – thank you for thanking them!

With best wishes from a rather autumnal-feeling London
Juliet Childs, Projects Administrator

Please consider this post a reminder to include ACWW fundraising during your up-coming program year. Then I hope to post the good news that we have met (or exceeded!) the target!

For a .pdf copy of the project details or how to submit your donations, please click here.

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About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

An Historic Event in an Historic Setting

You may recall the announcement earlier this year when we reported the unveiling of the plaque denoting Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Canadian Woman of Distinction. What follows is the account of the August 14th, Parks Canada ceremony designating Mrs. Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Person of National Historic Significance.

Mrs. Watt, born in Ontario and a former resident of Metchosin and Victoria, initiated the Women’s Institutes in Great Britain and went on to gather the rural women’s groups from around the world into the Associated Country Women of the World of which Mrs. Watt served as the first president, from 1933 to 1947. She passed away in Montreal in 1948 and is interred there.

Under the Canadian Federal Elections regulations, no publicity of events such as this may be distributed during an election campaign as it could give the impression of favouring one political party over the others. Hence the delay.

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Madge WattAn Historic Event in an Historic Setting
On August 14, 2015, the historic Colwood Community Hall rang with laughter and joy, as Parks Canada joined with the Women’s Institutes everywhere to celebrate the designation of Mrs. Margaret “Madge” Watt as a Person of National Historic Significance. Nearly 70 members and friends joined together to celebrate the life and achievements of this remarkable woman.

Special guests for the event included British Columbia Provincial President Janet Bangs and Vice President Colleen Hooper, Past World President Lyndsay (Hackett-Pain) Mundy, Sharon Hatten, current Chairman of the ACWW United Nations Committee and Joan Holthe, President Elect of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. Lyn Gough of the Victoria Chapter of the Women’s History Month group, as well as Maureen and Nina Duffus. The Duffus ladies represented the Watt family – Maureen’s cousin was married to Robin Watt, Madge Watt’s eldest son.
Special messages were received from the Associated Country Women of the World, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes of England and Wales, Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada and Dr. Helen Geissinger of New South Wales, Australia, great-niece of Mrs. Watt.

The hall was adorned for the occasion with table décor of greenery and small Canadian flags. The 100th anniversary Women’s Institute display, prepared by the Royal British Columbia Museum was enjoyed by many attendees, as well as a display of quilts, and of course, one on Mrs. Watt. A historic British Columbia Women’s Institute flag was graciously loaned to us for this occasion by the Sunshine Valley Women’s Institute. This flag was a hand-painted rendition of the BC Women’s Institute official emblem. Members from Kamloops went to the effort of bringing one of the Provincial banners for the occasion. Ladies in turn of the century costumes greeted guests at the door and added a touch of Mrs. Watt’s time in history to the occasion.

Chairman for the day was Dr. Hal Kalman, from Parks Canada, who introduced the panel and spoke about the appellation Mrs. Watt has been granted. This was followed by speeches by BCWI President Janet Bangs, BCWI Provincial Historian Ruth Fenner, and Dr. Helen Davies of Parks Canada, all of which celebrated Mrs. Watt’s life and achievements. Dr. Helen Davies cited a quote from Mrs. Watt as “service to humanity is the finest flower of civilization”. We believe this is true today of the efforts of Women’s Institute members everywhere.

Next, the plaque was unveiled, and the cameras all came to the fore. The message on the plaque is inscribed in both English and French, and the English text reads as follows:

MARGARET “MADGE” WATT

In 1909, Mrs. Watt helped found the first Women’s Institute in British Columbia, bringing rural women together to learn agricultural and domestic skills and to promote civic reform. After moving to Britain in 1913, she used the Canadian model to establish Women’s Institutes there, leading women during the First World War in a critical campaign to alleviate food shortages. Following the war, Watt became a driving force behind the foundation of a major international rural women’s organization, the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), serving as its first president from 1933 until 1947.

Just when the plaque will reach its final public site is, at the time of this writing, unknown. But members everywhere can rest assured that those of us who have worked on this project since it was first suggested by the Women’s Institute, Lyn Gough and the Women’s History Month group will be watching and asking until this too, is achieved.

Our thanks to all who attended, and all those who have in whatever way, contributed to the success of bringing this about. Mrs. Watt may no longer be with us in body, but her spirit will live on through this and other sites where we and other Women’s Institute members have helped to establish public plaques and cairns to commemorate her life and worldwide accomplishments.

Another milestone achieved — may there be many more!

Ruth Fenner,
BC Women’s Institute Provincial Historian

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About WI
Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

 

Membership Monday – Connecting the UK to BC

Earlier this week we heard from a member of the UK branch in Holmsforth. Sorry, Holmfirth. (There were a few minor glitches, to be expected since Mercury is retrograde and all that.) Our ACWW pen pal member from Nova Scotia sent this message:

England and Wales are celebrating 100 years of WI. One group in a small town of Yorkshire, England contacted me with a request to hear from Canadian WI and association groups as a way of marking this event. Interestingly, their group of 76 members was organized in 2013 by a 26-year old. Members range in age from 23-75 and are diverse, not only in age, but background. I encourage you to write a note to them if you wish.

So, I did. Or I should say, we did. I broadcast the email to all of the provincial federations. Holmfirth will receive our emails any day now and I look forward to a lively exchange over the next few weeks. If you didn’t yet receive the memo, you can contact Michelle at president@holmfirthwi.org.uk

In the meantime, thanks to those aforementioned glitches, I had the pleasure of meeting Fay Van Horn, the president of the Glenwood WI in Smithers BC. This is perfect, I said to myself. I have content for the next Membership Monday post!

BCWI  Fay Van HornClick on the image above to read Fay’s bio. Then use the back arrow in your browser to return to the blog!

Like Calhoun WI on the opposite coast, Glenwood WI is a small group of ten, ages range from 40 to 75. The branch is near Smithers, BC and meetings are held in their own building, Glenwood Hall. Which happens to be the name of their Facebook page, if you’d like to drop by and say, “Howdy.”

Glenwood Hall
Glenwood Hall
Smithers BC
Smithers BC

The branch is very active providing support to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the hospital in Victoria.

Fay writes,

We have a bake sale every February and the money raised goes directly to benefit the children. We have a competition amongst the groups at the end of April each year and take turns hosting. Our competitions this year are a double crust apple pie, a decorated tea towel, a pint of pickles, a tote bag for carrying grocers or other items, a pint of mincemeat, and a lap robe made from felted wool sweaters. Our WI has won for the last few years.

Glenwood supports the ACWW in every way they can. They have made inquiries into finding a pen pal group through ACWW to exchange stories.

Hence, I gather, the interest in contacting the gals from the UK.

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada

We Work for the United Nations

Sheila Needham
Sheila Needham

Last night I told my husband about my latest project. It’s a continuation of the membership profile I wrote about Sheila Needham. On December 9th, 2014, Sheila, who is the Canadian Area President of the Associated Country Women of the World, was interviewed by CBC radio. The station has graciously permitted us to use the recording of the show hosted by Susan Campbell, as a way to promote the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW).

It’s been fun scouring the internet for photos to use as illustrations to accompany the radio interview.

It’s also been educational, as is the case on some many of the pieces I write for this blog. “Did you know,” I told my hubby, “That the WI has direct ties with the UN?”

“Really?” he said.

“Yup. It starts right at the local branch level. We collect money for the ACWW, and then there are regional and national committees and sub-committees that advise the UN on women’s issues. Cool, eh?”

“Well,” he said. “I guess you work for the UN, then.”

Huh.

I guess we do!

You can watch the video here. Enjoy.

un-building-web

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Membership Monday – Meet Sheila Needham

Sheila Needham
Sheila Needham

“We’re not good at tooting our own horn,” says Sheila Needham. Allow me, then, to share what I have learned about this WI gal!

As you will recall from a recent Membership Monday, Sheila Needham, the editor of the Quebec Women’s Institute Newsletter, graciously agreed that we could reprint the pictures and summarize the content of the Autumn/Winter issue. Her name has appeared here before on the FWIC blog. It was Sheila who alerted us to the fundraising projects undertaken by the Canadian WI’s in support of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW). Sheila is the editor of the ACWW newsletter as well.

The ACWW has had a hand in improving the lives of women from all walks of life, and by extension, society as a whole. Endeavours include building hospitals, lobbying for access to fresh water, or funding projects to educate and empower women.

As it happens, our Sheila, who was recently elected Canada Area President of the ACWW, has been discovered by more than just yours truly. Not only did CBC Radio’s Susan Campbell interview her, Matthew McCully of the Serbrooke Record wrote a wonder profile piece titled Sheila Needham-Think locally, act globally. 

Sheila joined the WI 42 years ago. “My mother-in-law brought me to a meeting when I was first married,” she said. “I think that’s how most women get involved; a mother, a friend, an aunt, someone invites you to a meeting.”

To read more about this inspirational woman, click on the link below to download a .pdf copy of the newspaper article.

Record article about Sheila Needham

After you read the article, drop on by to Sheila’s Facebook page to wish her a happy birthday!

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About WI

Women’s Institute is a local, provincial, national and international organization that promotes women, families and communities. Our goal is to empower women to make a difference.

About FWIC

The idea to form a national group was first considered in 1912. In 1914, however, when the war began the idea was abandoned. At the war’s end, Miss Mary MacIsaac, Superintendent of Alberta Women’s Institute, revived the idea. She realized the importance of organizing the rural women of Canada so they might speak as one voice for needed reforms, and the value of co-ordinating provincial groups for a more consistent organization. In February 1919, representatives of the provinces met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.

Pickles and Fish – Fundraising for Women in India

In her fall newsletter, Sheila Needham, the Canadian Area President of the Associate Country Women of the World (ACWW) sent along details of two fundraising efforts that might be of interest to your WI. The following two projects are the top two choices of the members at the Canada Area Conference that was held in Camrose, Alberta, in June this year. Both are designed to provide financial support to women’s groups in India.

The Grace Trust Project No. 0960. ACWW Grant £3,337

Grace Trust has formed 50 women’s Self Help Groups among disadvantaged rural Dalit women in Sedapatti block, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu. Their plan with this project is to provide a revolving fund to 50 women, so that they can carry out income generating activities, having first participated in skill training. The women will be trained in making pickles, papadums or candles, as well as in quality control, micro credit and savings, and record keeping.

Most of the products will be sold in local villages, as it is known that there is a high demand for these items locally. The women will repay part of the loan each month with 1% interest, and in this way loans will be made to further women Self Help Group members.

The beneficiaries will use the income to buy food for their families and to pay for their children’s schooling, and any other family necessities.

Pickle

The Organization for Community Development (O.C.D) Project No. 0961 ACWW Grant £4,702.

The aim of this project is to train 60 women in fish processing (drying and packaging). These women are among the most marginalized of the fisher folk community, being either widows or having husbands who are invalid or alcoholic. Because they lack resources, they have been forced to borrow money at exorbitant rates of interest from moneylenders in order to purchase fish to sell, and they are then often not able to make a profit owing to fluctuating prices and the perishable nature of fresh fish. They would sell processed fish alongside fresh fish and this would mean that they do not have to sell at a loss, and would have something to sell during the ‘off-season’ (fish breeding season), and when the catch is small owing to stormy weather.

The Federation of Women Head Load Fish Vendors will assist with beneficiary selection, training, micro credit disbursement and monitoring repayments. The training will consist of: processing fish of different varieties according to season and availability (equipment for storing and transporting unsold fish will be provided for the trainees); EDP (Entrepreneurship Development Training); leadership development; micro credit; maintaining accounts.

The Canadian Area has pledged $7,500.00 CAD or £4,123 pounds to be split between the two projects – £1,337 for project (0960 Pickles) and £2,786 (0961 Fish)

For a .pdf copy of this information and details on how to submit and direct your donations, please click here.

Margaret Christensen's ideas

Margaret suggests that the details of the projects be printed on card stock and put up near a collection jar or a fish bowl at any luncheon table that is at a W.I. meeting or other event.