Last week young women from Project O in Smithton and Wynyard were working with former Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty to develop skills in advocacy and agency.
Project O is a primary prevention initiative which has run for six years in five states and territories, enabling young women to lead change in remote and disadvantaged communities affected by gender inequality and family violence.
Female mentors walk beside the young women, who develop new skills and contribute to their community, building confidence, resilience, leadership and agency as well as essential digital skills.
Last week young women from Project O in Circular Head and Wynyard participated in a roundtable discussion with Rosie, sharing their experiences of issues around gender stereotypes, youth mental health and tabling positive changes they would like to see in the future.
Rosie spoke about her own journey of advocacy on gender equality and domestic violence and gave the women suggestions on how they could make change in their community.
Later that week Rosie headed to Wynyard High to discuss their learnings and develop an action plan moving forward. The Honourable Ruth Forrest MLC also attended the meeting.
“It is always so transformative for me to meet with the young women of Project O and hear their fresh ideas and how they want to build a stronger, safer community”, Rosie said.
“There is a real desire in the community to get change on gender equality and domestic violence, and these young women are part of this movement. Change starts here, in your street, at your school, in your community.”
“Before Project O I didn’t know how to speak about the things I cared about, and now I feel like I know how to advocate for the things I’m passionate about in my community,” Jade Bambery, of Project O Smithton said.
“We didn’t realise other girls in different communities were facing the same issues or challenges, and now that we’re all working on it together we feel like we can actually make a change,” Shanyssa Faber, Chloe Webb and Leah Hite of Project O Wynyard said.
Rosie Batty has supported the work of Project O for over four years, in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Canberra.
She first encountered Project O at an event with the Governor General in Hobart in 2016, and has since worked with and mentored Project O young women through many workshops and events.