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Live and Learn five year evaluation

26th November 2014


Partners involved in the Regional Women’s Centres Learning Partnership's Live and Learn Project received a warm welcome at The Learning Lodge Magherafelt on Monday 17th November 2014 as they came together to discuss what could be learned from the external five year evaluation of the project.

The Live and Learn Project seeks to improve health, confidence, self-esteem, essential skills and employability, while also increasing the sustainability of the community based education sector, supporting the inclusion of ethnic minority women and promoting family learning. While each partner delivers is own ‘cocktail’ of training, designed to meet the needs within each locality, there are overall learning points from the project as a whole.

The meeting at The Learning Lodge was an opportunity to both look back over what has been achieved during the last five years and think about future steps. Copies of the five year evaluation report were given out to everyone present.

Brigid Loughran, the external evaluator, made the following points:
• The Live and Learn partnership project has consistently exceeded targets and has made real differences to women’s lives way beyond what was originally expected.
• Every woman’s learning experience is unique and the women’s centres acknowledge this uniqueness by providing tailored support, such as childcare and advice and follow up, underpinned by the woman-centred ethos of empowerment. Each organisation has worked very hard to meet local needs in a creative way.
• Live and Learn has been particularly successful in engaging ‘hard to reach women’ (who are marginalised) into the project.
• There has been a ‘ripple’ effect where woman had received training through the project were then able to go on and train others and/or get to get involved in campaigning and lobbying.
• The project has helped support the inclusion of both ethnic minority women and local women isolated in their own communities.
• Through the Live and Learn programmes, women have been able to progress from engagement level and confidence building through to courses accredited at level 1, 2, 3 and to higher level programmes.
• Partnership working and sharing knowledge have greatly enhanced this project.

There was a full discussion of the five year evaluation and its implications. Partners explored how they could best work together to implement the findings in the current environment of cuts and the recent closure of education related community organisations.

Everyone left the meeting charged with going back to the Centres to think through how they could contribute to this process before a further review in the New Year. The meeting closed with freshly made hot soup.

Thanks to Kellie Shields Business Development Manager Magherafelt Women’s Group for hosting the meeting. You can download your own copy of the report here.

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