WHAT WE DO
WI in New Brunswick meets in over 40 communities. Monthly get togethers include a program or discussion of some description. Most times programs are community related and involve guest speakers or hand outs to learn from. One such program was when the RCMP visited several Branches to talk about cyber security. Programs are usually informal and last ten to fifteen minutes.
Along with programs, many Branches support community initiatives like the milk program for schools, breakfast programs, and donating to Food Banks and Women’s Shelters. WI improves communities one project at a time.
Members and Branches
The decision-making process for each WI Group rests in the hands and hearts of its members. There is no central organization that ‘tells’ the Branches what to do. At the grass roots level, WI projects are adopted based on the voting members in the Branch. To be a voting member in a Branch, members join and pay a yearly fee (determined by the Branch). Each member in good standing gets one vote.
Members belong to Branches and each Branch has a name determined by the inaugural members. Incorporation as a Branch comes at the initial meeting when the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries acknowledges a Branches incorporation, under the legislation of the Government of New Brunswick. Many Branches have been around for decades, but new ones are also beginning, sometimes as a result of amalgamation.
Often times several neighbour Branches will come together for socializing and common projects, such as hospitals, school programs and recreation projects. Today Districts are not necessarily as popular as they once were, because many Branches have closed, and virtual Branches are replacing them.
WI in New Brunswick does have a provincial organization that provides opportunity for all Branches to come together to share concerns and issues. Traditionally it has been a means through which Branches submit resolutions to governments. Historically WI has had an influence in legislation and policy for many concerns. Since Covid 19 resolutions and get togethers at all levels have suffered from no participation, but as of May 2022 most groups have restarted. The New Brunswick Women’s Institute does have counterparts in other provinces of Canada.
FWIC WI Canada
WI is a cross Canada organization with 5000 members. Just as the Branches belong to their provincial bodies, the provinces belong to WI Canada. Resolutions presented at Branch levels are forwarded to provincial and then national levels. Once adopted at each level, the strength of the group and more voices have contributed the successful attention for various issues.
WI also has an international body to bring women together. Known as the Associated Country Women of the World internationally, there are 9 million members from 70 countries. The Head office is in England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was our Patron for many years. The purpose for the ACWW is to bring women’s voices together for specific causes, legislation, and policy. At this international level many of the issues and conversations are circulated amongst specific countries and the United Nations.
Some of the international issues to gain traction through the UN Committee work as human identity around the world, human trafficking, and attention to rabies in dogs all over the world and the dangers they bring to humans, especially the young and elderly.
Over the past 125 years, WI has brought forth various resolutions which were put before different decision makers and levels of government. Today, WI still sponsors resolutions with respect to social and community change, but they also advocate directly within communities for positive change that will empower women and youth. One such example is working with human trafficking and youth who find themselves in the sex trade. By collaborating with the Community of Hope in New Brunswick WI is able to directly help survivors and current youth in crisis.