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New project supports rural volunteers
CFA District 2 is partnering with Macedon Ranges Shire Council, City of Greater Bendigo, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, and AFL Central Victoria to deliver a new project called Rural Challenge.
The program is led by Macedon Ranges Shire Council and will work towards improving gender equity and prevent sexism and violence against women in local volunteer organisations.
CFA District 2 Operations Manager Steve Smith said, “we have a number of brigades in the district doing some wonderful work in this area and this project will reinforce the great work they are doing.
“This project will help enable more of our brigades to build and foster a more diverse brigade.”
The Rural Challenge Project is in line with the intent and objectives of North West Region’s recently ratified Gender Equity and Violence Prevention Action Plan. The core-focus of the plan is to resource and strengthen the capabilities of our leaders to actively promote positive cultures and prepare the organisation for change. Implementation of the plan will take place over the next four years in partnership with a range of emergency and community sector organisations. The Rural Challenge Project is timely and opportune and indeed the kind of initiative warranting CFA’s participation.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council CEO Peter Johnston said the project was based on the Challenge Project which was successfully implemented in sporting clubs in several metropolitan areas. It aims to equip and inspire male leaders from football/netball clubs and CFA brigades in Macedon Ranges and Bendigo to make organisational and cultural change that will help prevent violence against women and promote gender equality.
“Our focus on CFA and football/netball clubs reflects the reach and influence of these rural institutions which often perpetuate traditional gender roles, but could instead be leaders in community action for a safer and more equitable society.”
The Rural Challenge project will kick off with a series of forums later this year, where expressions of interest in participating in the project will be sought from football-netball clubs and CFA brigades in Macedon Ranges Shire and the City of Greater Bendigo. CFA brigades interested in participating in the project can contact Stephen Hiley on 5422 0333 for more information.