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Program funding opportunity: Community workshops

September 20, 2016
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New Journeys, with the support of Status of Women Canada, has the opportunity to help you facilitate and fund workshops to strengthen your community and reduce violence within it.

If you have an idea for a workshop you would like to host in your community, please send us an email ( to receive an application form to apply for funding between $500 – $1500. Your workshop should revolve around the themes of healthy relationships, reducing violence, or personal safety.

Below, we have included a few ideas for workshops to host within your community to build on the suggested themes. Feel free to use these workshop themes, activities and layouts as inspiration for your community workshop, or propose an entirely different workshop. Please note that priority will be given to Indigenous organizations/groups/communities. 

Workshop ideas

Suggested activity: Cooking a meal together/Cooking class
Possible topic: Identifying & dealing with domestic violence
Age range: Women of all ages
Goal: Build a support network of women who collaboratively cook and share a meal together, and can rely on each other in potential scenarios involving partner violence.
Required tools: Ingredients required for the chosen recipes to be served at the meal, notebooks, pens, NWAC You Are Not Alone Toolkit

Note: Due to sensitive and potentially triggering subject matter, it may be best to have an Elder present for support.

Part 1 – Meal preparation

Participants may choose to start with a smudge, and learn each others’ names. Either independently or with the guidance of an Indigenous chef, the group prepares and cooks a meal together.

Part 2 – Discussion

Over the meal and afterwards, participants will create a personal and community safety plan in the event they find themselves in an unhealthy or violent relationship.

  1. Identifying the different forms of violent relationships - with the guidance of a facilitator, have the group identify harmful behaviours in five different types of violent relationships. How do these behaviours differ from healthy relationships?

  2. With the help of NWAC’s toolkit section Planning to Leave, have the group make notes about all the things they would need in the event they need to leave a violent relationship. Whether or not the attendees are in an unhealthy relationship, this is an exercise in preparedness.

  3. Brainstorm healing activities participants could take part in in the event of leaving a violent relationship. Have participants list positive things about themselves.

Suggested activity: Mural painting
Possible topic: Building healthy relationships
Age range: 14–20
Goal: Have youth artistically portray what a healthy relationship looks like to them, in collaboration with other young people. By the end of the workshop, all attendees should be able to identify how to give and ensure consent, and how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationship tendencies.
Required tools: Paints, brushes, large canvas or paper, paper for planning and sketching ideas, pens/pencils, cue cards, tape, markers, Girls Action Foundation From the Ground Up Facilitation Guide

Key terms:

  • Healthy relationships: look different to everyone, but are based on principles of mutual respect and equality.
  • Unhealthy relationships: have negative effects on self-worth and self-confidence. Are often defined by power imbalances that result in control or dominance over one person in the relationship. Force, jealousy, criticism, blame, fear, and denial may be present in an unhealthy relationship.
  • Boundaries
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Safety
  • Fairness 

Part 1 - Discussion

Hand out a cue card to each participant and have them write down one right they should have in a relationship.
ie: the right to express their opinion and have it respected, the right to choose their partner without pressure from others, etc.

Arrange the cards in similar categories on a board. Discuss as a group how those rights create healthy relationships, and how the lack of those rights creates an imbalance and can lead to unhealthy relationships. Ask the group to brainstorm any other rights they may have missed in the initial brainstorm, and add them to the board. Repeat the discussion until the group is satisfied they have covered all the rights in a relationship.

Part 2 - Creation

Have the group brainstorm healthy relationship scenarios, including examples of what it would look like to have two members of a relationship respect each others’ rights, dignity, and choices. What type of communication do they use? How do they listen to each other?

Have the group split into pairs or groups of three and sketch out ways their healthy relationship scenario could be represented. Draw a rough copy of what that might look like.

As a group, discuss how all the healthy relationship sketches might be incorporated into one. ie. Medicine wheel layout, scenes from nature where individuals might interact, abstract, etc.

Sketch out a plan on the large paper/canvas and begin to paint the healthy relationships mural as a group. Display in your Friendship Centre (or local community centre).

Participants should leave with an understanding of who they can talk to or where they can go if they believe they are involved in an unhealthy relationship.

Suggested activity: Photo gallery project
Possible topic: Personal safety
Age range: 12–18
Goal: Have participants exercise creativity while identifying what makes them feel safe and what their personal boundaries are.
Required tools: Disposable cameras, notebooks, pens, glue/tape

This activity should be conducted in two parts.

Part 1: Each participant gets one disposable camera to take photos that represent what the word “safety” means to them—physical safety, emotional, safety in relationships, anything that inspires or is meaningful. At the end of an allotted time, get participants to hand the cameras back in to be developed.

Part 2: When the photos are developed, give them back to the participants and ask them to write a journal-like entry about what the photographs mean. Display the photos and write-ups in your Friendship Centre (or local community centre).

Possible topic: Healthy vs. unhealthy relationships
Age range: 13+
Required tools: flip chart, markers, copies of Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationship Scenarios: Reference Sheet

This activity is in three parts and should take about an hour.

Using reference sheets provided by the Girls Action Foundation, scenarios and brainstorming, this activity will help youth participants explore the role and presence of conflict in relationships, identify unhealthy dynamics and explore options for dealing with conflict.

Scenarios in this activity can be changed depending on the realities of the communities participating. Be prepared to share resources for anyone in the group—local health clinics, online resources, etc.— and debrief with the group after the activity is complete.  

Part 1: Large group brainstorm—ask participants to brainstorm attributes that fall into either the “healthy love” or “unhealthy love” categories.

Part 2: Small group brainstorm—ask participants to read over scenarios and identify what “healthy love” and “unhealthy love” attributes are in the scenarios, and to write them down on flip chart paper.

Part 3: Large group discussion—sit in a circle with participants and ask each group to share the results of their discussion. Facilitate further discussion with the following questions:

  • Would anyone like to share examples of conflict that can happen in a relationship (with a friend, partner, parent, etc.)?
  • How can these be turned into positive experiences? Positive experiences can be supported through good communication, knowing one’s boundaries, active listening, etc.
  • Using the Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships & Conflict Management: Reference Sheet ask if anyone wants to talk about the differences between assertiveness, passivity, and aggression?

Help deepen the understandings by providing examples or ask them to share an example.

Debrief questions to ask: How did this activity make you feel? What did you learn or find useful from this activity? How can we support healthy relationships? What are the barriers to healthy relationships? Can we act on these barriers? How?

Suggested activity: Drum-making
Possible topic: Reducing violence against women in Indigenous communities
Age range: Men aged 16+
Goal: Engage men to speak out against violence towards Indigenous women and to create a support network of men who have chosen a life without violence.
Required tools: deerskin, drum frames, paints, brushes

Framework: This workshop aims to be a primary prevention tool (before violence begins) but can also include men and boys as a secondary intervention tool (after problem patterns have begun).

This workshop can take place as a lecture/discussion format, with the Elder/facilitator speaking about the teachings and inviting participants to participate in discussion while they create a traditional rawhide drum.

After the drums are completed, invite participants to decorate them with symbols and messages of strength (Idea: handprint on the drum to symbolize a hand that will never be used for violence). End the workshop with a drum circle and have participants set goals for how they will work towards ending violence in their community.

Subject matter: Use the facilitation guide “From the Ground Up” to create frameworks for exercises that would suit your group. This guidebook also contains language and themes should be covered.

  • What abuse looks like, different types
    • Power imbalances and control
    • Abuse of privilege
    • Internalized violence
    • Systemic violence
    • Physical abuse
    • Emotional/Verbal abuse
    • Financial abuse
    • Sexual abuse

  • What healthy relationships look like
    • Respected boundaries
    • Fairness and equality
    • Strong communication
    • Rights of the relationship are respected

  • What men can do to prevent violence against women
    • For this segment, consult the Moosehide Campaign’s guides “10 Things you can do” and “6 Things Men can do to TAKE A STAND Against Sexual Assault and Harassment.”
    • Use examples of real life scenarios where men would be able to use these steps
    • Use the Respect Women website for tips on how men can help others who are violent, and set positive examples for their children and among peer groups.
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