Unheard Voices (2013-2019)
To help reconcile communities and engage in peace building and repairing relationships in order to achieve a lasting, stable and peaceful future for all.
To enable communities to accept diversity, traditions and cultural diversity that exists and provide opportunities for women to explore other cultures, building tolerance, trust and respect by enhancing awareness of others’ identity, values and beliefs.
The Unheard Voices programme is a project aimed to engage marginalized women to build sustainable peace and prosperity in areas suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation focusing on and addressing some of the most sensitive complex and challenging issues where there are low levels of engagement in peace building activities. Women are key to peace building as we play such a central role within the home and communities.
The Unheard Voices programme will:
- Engage individual women and women’s groups that have not previously or only partially participated in community development and peace building activities
- Increase contact, dialogue, sharing and integration within and between communities; support creative and innovative approaches to dealing with contentious issues
- Build cohesion within and between communities to deliver improved relationships
- Promote greater understanding and acceptance of diversity between communities
- Target the engagement and participation of disaffected young people
Unheard Voices commenced in September 2013 with financial support from the International Fund for Ireland through their Peace Impact Programme (PIP).
The project was launched on the 6th March 2014, around International Women’s Day because of the significance the date held. It coincided with many events and celebrations taking place throughout the world at that time. Many women were recognised for their achievements and their work highlighted around International Women’s day, however we are also reminded of the inequalities that still need to be addressed.
Women and the Women’s sector have traditionally been excluded, marginalised and sidelined from peace building yet throughout the conflict women very often held the fabric of society together. Unheard Voices is a unique platform for local women, who have never had their voices heard.
The project was initiated by Creggan Enterprises and it was decided from an early stage that its success would only be guaranteed if it was brought out to the wider community and individual neighbourhoods who suffered directly during the conflict. This is happening with workshops, activities, visits and group meetings taking place throughout the city.
Women are starting to come forward through the Unheard Voices Project to speak out after many years of silence; women are encouraged to participate, they are gaining experiences so that doors will open for them for an easier pathway to community engagement, capacity building, creating learning / skills and even employment opportunities.
Many communities and hundreds of individuals have engaged in a vast range of programmes and activities initiated and promoted by Creggan Enterprises, designed to create the framework for economic and social renewal but also its many peace building interventions initiated to address the legacy of the Conflict and its impact on local communities.
Creggan Enterprises believe women are key to peace building as they play a central role within the home and communities. We believe the establishment of cross community links between individuals and diverse of groups will enable us to assist the ongoing process of peace building.
Speeches, Strikes & Struggles – a DCSDC Heritage & Museums Service project
Unheard voices participants worked alongside Derry & Strabane District Council’s Museum Service personnel to explore the museums collections and the social history of significant actors involved in the era of the civil rights movement as part of the Speeches, Strikes & Struggles project. UV’s role in the project focused on the contribution of Bridget Bond, Peter Maloney and Gerry Lynch.
Click here to visit www.speechesstrikesandstruggles.com
Beyond the silence – a short film developed by Unheard Voices
Beyond the Silence (Printed Publication & Ebook)
Women are so often the backbone of communities – and frequently the most isolated. Nowhere is this more evident than in today’s post conflict society, where women can often find themselves marginalised and without means of expression. Creggan Enterprises’ Unheard Voices Programme sought to connect with many such women across Northern Ireland, fostering understanding and reconciliation as they begin to examine the recent history of which they were a part.
Within the pages of this book, twenty-eight participants of the Unheard Voices Programme share their intensely personal experiences of life here during the Troubles – many for the first time. These reflections offer just a glimpse of how ordinary families coped in extraordinary times, and how these various experiences now empower them within the broader context of peacebuilding.
The aim was simple – to ask and to listen. What emerged from this process is a truly powerful collection of stories that have proved cathartic for all involved. Filled with raw emotion and compelling honesty, Beyond The Silence will inspire, provoke and challenge anyone who reads it.
Through stories like these, women everywhere can find a voice.
Click here to download the Beyond the Silence ebook from Amazon.
A clip The Unheard Voices radio programme ‘Make it Happen’ broadcast from the Hive Studios
A clip The Unheard Voices radio programme discussing third level education provision in Derry broadcast from the Hive Studios
Carol Cunningham – firstname.lastname@example.org