I’ve used this platform to highlight organizations doing great work in Canada before, but I am extra excited to share the work of METRAC. I’m excited because last week I was honored to be selected as a volunteer board member for a 2-year term! So you can expect to see lots more about METRAC in the coming months and years.
Who is METRAC? They are a Toronto based organization that works to end gender-based violence across communities in Ontario and beyond. They do this through education, research, and policy change. They deliver boundary-breaking services and programs, and focus on education and prevention. To give you a better idea of how they do this, I'm going to highlight a few of the programs they run.
OWJN: Ontario Women’s Justice Network
The OWJN is METRAC’s legal information website. It aims to help survivors of violence and their supporters better understand their legal rights in Ontario. The website offers accessible legal information in a way that reflects the diverse experiences and realities of women.
FLEW: Family Law Education for Women
FLEW evolved from the advocacy efforts of the No Religious Arbitration Coalition. It was a coalition of more than 100 community agencies that came together to advocate against the use of religious arbitration in family law in Ontario. The Coalition’s position was that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed all women in Ontario the right to access public family law to resolve their family law disputes. FLEW provides plain language legal information on women’s rights under Ontario family law and is available in 14 languages and in multiple formats.
Safety Audit Program
METRAC's Safety Audit Program is an action tool to build safer neighbourhoods, schools, campuses, workplaces, transit systems, living spaces, and public spaces. It combines best practices of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) with culturally competent, community development approaches, Participatory Action Research and a gender-based violence analysis. It is a catalyst to reduce sexual violence, assault, harassment and discrimination against women, youth and others at high risk and makes spaces safer for everyone.
ReAct: Respect in Action
The ReAct program builds youth leadership to end gender based violence and violence against youth. ReAct Youth Facilitators create resources and lead interactive after-school programs, workshops, and presentations for youth and educators. ReAct has even gone global and partnered with Girls Empowerment Clubs in Ghana!
It is perfect timing to begin my work with METRAC, as later this month, on November 25th, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence begin.
From November 25th (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to December 10th (Human Rights Day) the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is run all over the world.
The theme of the 2017 Campaign is “Together We Can End GBV in Education!”. The Center for Women's Global Leadership has created a 16 Days Activist Tool Kit, which can be found here. Last year I wrote about ways you can get involved in your own community to help prevent gender-based violence. You can read that post here.
I am so looking forward to working with METRAC over the next 2 years and beyond!