On Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th of September, WHGNE celebrated 30 years of working with our community in the Goulburn Valley and northeast Victoria – that is, working towards gender equality and social equity to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes for women in our region. We came together with colleagues, friends and community members for our 2023 AGM and 30 year showcase over these two big events.

Watch the 2023 AGM Panel Discussion

On Monday night, local musician Jules Roginson expertly set the mood with her guitar as guests arrived to greet colleagues and friends and sample from the grazing plates before the AGM proceedings began.

After everyone was seated, the WHGNE 2022-23 Annual Report was presented, painting a picture of growth as a result of the Sick of Small Change advocacy campaign for increased funding to the Victorian Women’s Health Services, successfully recieved in the previous financial year.

The resulting funding boost has been the catalyst for a diverse array of activities and projects over the last year to better support gender equity, optimal health and wellbeing for women and the strengthening of community connections throughout the region and the state.

Following the formal proceedings and a nourishing meal enjoyed over conversation, guests at the AGM settled in to watch the panel discussion, which would be the culmination of the evening.

The panel discussion featuring Moderator Tammy Atkins and panellists Dr Adele Murdolo, Dr Rowan O’Hagan and Lee Coller provided a fascinating look at the importance of collaboration in fostering gender equity and social wellbeing.

Dr Murdolo, Executive Director of Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, emphasised the value of creating connections within communities and regions to ensure lived-experience perspectives inform or drive projects and activities.

Dr O’Hagan, Research Development and Governance Officer at Northeast Health Wangaratta, shared insights into the crucial role of women’s networks to promote health and wellbeing in rural settings.

Lee Coller, Manager of Health Planning and Prevention at Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit, described the importance of navigating compromise when working in partnerships to foster prevention and address the social determinants of health.  

You can watch the panel discussion in full to the left of the screen.

The 30 Years Been, 30 to be Seen Showcase was a special event to celebrate the work undertaken, not only by WHGNE over the last 30 years, but also the contribution to this work by our partners, friends, colleagues and collaborators from across the region.

The showcase featured exhibits about WHGNE’s historic work and traced the ongoing threads connecting our past with our present. Current projects were showcased alongside our history, including those around lived experience and consultation, exemplified by our Long Story Short and Housing projects.

WHGNE’s gender equity capacity building work was showcased through exhibits on the Gender Equity Community of Practice and WHGNE eLearning. The showcase sharing stories from the Workforce of Multi-lingual Health Educators (WOMHEn) project, highlighted the collaborative, community driven approach in tailoring vital information to diverse women in the region, while our work around women in a changing climate was on display in our Care through Disaster project, our historic work on Gender and Disaster and within our flood recovery project undertaken this year.

Throughout the morning, WHGNE staff presented on some of the projects highlighted at the Showcase event. Following a Welcome to Country from special guest and Yorta Yorta woman Nikki James, and an introduction from our CEO Amanda Kelly, the presentations kicked off with our Regional Manager Renata Lucas speaking about the WHGNE Gender Equity Pathway.

The second presentation featured a case study about embedding the principles of co-design when forming a Community Advisory Group to guide WHGNE’s collaborative project with Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, Long Story Short: Reshaping the narrative of women’s sexual and reproductive health, by health promotion workers Mary Reema Antony and Katherine Keirs.

Next, our multilingual health educator Bhakti Dhamala spoke about her experience connecting with women in-language through the WOMHEn project, to understand their needs and center their experiences to guide the delivery of health literacy information.

The final presentation of the day highlighted the Care through Disaster project – a collaboration between WHGNE and Australia reMADE, to hear from women and others in the community about what is needed to care and be cared for through times of disaster. The project was presented by our CEO Amanda Kelly and featured a virtual presentation from project partner and Co-Director of Australia reMADE, Millie Rooney.

Watch all of the presentations below:

Watch the 30 Year Showcase Presentations