Future Challenges


The Organisation

Women of the North West was formally established as a formal development organisation in 1994. It is a network of approximately 30 rural women's groups which work for the betterment of all women. The organizational headquarters is located in Moygownagh Community Centre, 13 miles northwest of Ballina, County Mayo. Women of the North West covers a large mountainous rural area with a low population density, with only one urban centre. This issue based self-help community movement operates with the support of the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs funding. The management board consists of a voluntary management team of twelve women who are drawn from the existing membership of the local parish based women's groups.

The area covered by the network in North West Mayo has a population of just over 35,000 people. There are approximately 8,800 women in the constituency area. The education and training, lobbying and social and economic analysis activity of Women of the North West is open to all of these women.

Target Group

Unemployed and underemployed women and men.
Women active in the community. Management teams of women's groups.
Rural communities.
Education and Economic Policy makers and planners.
Health Professionals at a Regional and National level.
Local Regional and National politicians.

Profile of Network Membership

Member groups of Women of the North West are for the most part voluntary groups. The number in each group ranges from 15 women to 25 women. Approximately 400 women are indirectly involved in the work of Women of the North West. Many groups are relatively recent in origin with half of the groups being established in the last five years. Only three groups employ staff. One group employs two full-time staff members and two groups employ Community Employment workers only.

Groups are involved in the following range of activities:
Personal Development.
Adult Education.
Women's Health issues.
Arts and Crafts.
Community Development.
Economic Development.
Work with Older People.


Community Training

The personal development and adult education activity of the groups receives funding from the Department of Social, Community and Family affairs through the mechanism of small grant aid. Groups who are engaged in work with the elderly and women's health issues are in receipt of funding from the Western Health Board. In some instances community development work is funded through the local partnership bodies. (Kelleher & Kelleher, 2000)