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Women’s Health West

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Project Overview

Melbourne’s western region | 2021

Key Services
Theory of change | Impact measurement and management | Outcomes frameworks | Evaluation

Women’s Health West (WHW) is a women’s health service that offers health promotion, primary prevention and family violence programs and services to women in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne. One of its programs, Lead On Again supports young women in the region to become leaders.

Empowering young women to lead

Lead On Again is a strengths-based leadership program that provides a safe space for young women from refugee and migrant backgrounds to recognise their strengths, develop new skills and connections, and become active community participants and leaders. Each year, Lead On Again aims to support 10 to 15 young women from refugee and migrant backgrounds who live, work or study in Melbourne’s western metropolitan region through a six-day tailored leadership program.

‘In my community all the leaders are men, and LOA made me see that women can be leaders too … I was empowered to take a leadership role in my community and in school’ – workshop participant

Measuring the impact of Lead on Again

The evaluation sought to measure the impact of Lead On Again on the young women who participate. Focusing on the 2019 and 2020 cohorts, WHW wanted to understand:

  • the change experienced by the participants in a way that builds the evidence base and narrative about the impact of the program
  • how the program can be improved in future.

The evaluation involved mapping the Lead On Again theory of change and refining the program’s outcomes framework. We engaged with stakeholders through a three-hour online evaluation workshop and an anonymous survey that generated both qualitative and quantitative data on the program.

What we found

Young women from refugee and migrant background are highly capable yet face societal barriers to realising their dreams and aspirations. WHW has taken a holistic approach in supporting young women to overcome those societal barriers. Our evaluation found that Lead On Again supports young women to gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, increases their understanding of health and wellbeing topics and connects them with partners who mentor and support pathways to employment.

‘If I have confidence, I can achieve goals. If I don’t back myself who's going to trust me. Through LOA I was able to develop that strength’ – workshop participant
‘I have applied for CMY mentoring program and got a mentor. I now have a great CV and cover letter with her help. Now we're starting to apply for part-time jobs online. She's very helpful. I’m getting ongoing support and finding more things I could do. My mentor is showing me the range of opportunities and I’m more open to doing other things now’ – workshop participant
'The evaluation gave us a vivid and thorough understanding of the impact of Lead On Again for young refugee and migrant women participants. To hear them speak of the real changes in their lives, over time, in confidence, employment and leadership participation, and knowledge of important health topics, was powerful. Think Impact worked sensitively and creatively to run a genuinely participatory online workshop. They developed a report that will inform our future work in so many ways’
Kirsten Campbell, Health Promotion Coordination

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