The WOMHEn project (which stands for ‘workforce of multilingual health educators network’), aims to address the barriers faced by migrant and refugee women when accessing health related information, aided by in-language health educators in communities across Victoria. This project has been a collaboration between the wider Victorian Women’s Health Services, spearheaded by Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, with funding from the Department of Health.

The first iteration of the WOMHEn project began in 2021 to assist the dissemination of COVID-19 health information. While not participating in the first iteration, WHGNE has been involved in the WOHMEn project’s second iteration from December 2021 to June 2022, and the third iteration from July 2022 to June 2024.

WOMHEN 2, worked in collaboration with three bilingual health educators across two partner organisations and regions and yielded many successful outcomes for the project and the communities.

For example, partnering with Uniting Vic Tas in Shepparton enabled access for Afghani women and families to COVID-19 information, as well as other health information.

Our partnership with Albury Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (2022) and Gateway Health (2023 to present) also enabled access for Congolese and Bhutanese communities in the Wodonga area to COVID-19 and other health information.

To June 2023, a total of 29 sessions provided information and support for 414 women across the three communities, with 166 women receiving COVID-19 vaccines with support.

Building on the successes of the prior learnings and community identified needs has shaped WOMHEn 3 and the third phase.

The continuation of the project provides an opportunity to incorporate key feedback and an expanded outlook around the healthcare information provided to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in our region.

Continuing to work in the locations of Greater Shepparton and Wodonga, the expanded project scope includes information on broader health topics such as sexual and reproductive health, mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention of gender-based violence, all through culturally considered and in-language channels.