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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Start a Chapter

Our input on how best to launch a new chapter is always evolving as our members provide more feedback and ideas in this regard. Here are a number of points to consider and some first steps:

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

We ask that new members wishing to start a chapter take the time to thoroughly review our Purposes (what we are all about) and our web site to ensure that they agree and will operate under our stated purposes, goals and objectives as described therein.

Submit the Questionnaire at the bottom of this page to begin discussions.

BY-LAWS

Currently, we have eight board members, who also hold the positions of officers: president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer; and Directors At Large. Our board holds reglar quarterly or monthly meetings in addition to the local chapter meetings. Members are asked to contribute a one time membership fee of $15. Each chapter designates one voting member who would represent them at AGMs.

FINANCES

If you chose to contribute to fundraising efforts, we require that all funds raised by our chapters are directed through the national office. This is required by our auditors to ensure we meet the legal and reporting requirements for our donors as a not-for-profit corporation. Currently most chapters also maintain a small bank account for funds that they acquire other than donations, through the sale of books, art items or any other sales to generate funds for local overhead costs. The main point is that when raising funds under the name of CW4WAfghan, the donor has to know that the money flows through our established system. Full accounting records must be kept at the local level for any funds not sent on to the National Office. Our auditor may require that we obtain copies of these financial records. Our Financial Officer is available to assist with the chapter in this regard.

PROGRAMS and PROJECTS:

The Programs Director works closely with our Project Management Committee  and Country Director in Kabul, as well as reporting to the Board of Directors on all Afghan programs and projects. This  PMC committee will designate which project(s) are funded each year from our donor resources. This allows us the ability and flexibility to be able to meet the needs of a variety of projects and partners, follow our budgets for the year, and to be able to sustain their programmes over many years. We provide an annual IMPACT REPORT outlining our programs and projects, and an ANNUAL REPORT with audited financial statements.

COMMUNICATION

We communicate with our chapters through emails and social media. Our members also join together in person each year at our fall symposium. See Events and Resource - Newsletters for lots of background information on past chapter events. Once the chapter is underway, you will arrange to provide contact information for our web site and to be included in our mailouts and other literature (some combination of mailing address (public or not); phone number (public or not); email). See CONTACT US for what others have provided.
 
OBJECTIVES/VISION/NEXT STEPS

There are several different areas upon which a chapter may choose to focus, including fundraising, education and advocacy or some combination of all three. We wish to remain very grassroots which includes ensuring that you, as a founding chapter representative and all of your local members, are giving of your volunteer time in a way that brings you each rewards and at the same time advances our shared goals. 

The typical first steps other chapters have taken are to find a venue and spread the word that you would like to hold a founding meeting for a new chapter of CW4WAfghan then gather together a few more supporters to help launch things. Then, bring forward our goals and objectives and discuss as a group how you want to proceed and discuss what you all see as a vision for the chapter. Communicate these discussions with us at the National Office so we can follow the progress and answer any questions that may arise.

The activities range from some groups who meet more regularly, say about once per month, and host a variety of events and presentations throughout the year as a team; to smaller groups with one or two main members who distribute literature, speak at schools or may hold several events each year to raise awareness and/or funds. To begin, you may want to plan a public event for raising awareness or fundraising (slide show, invite a public speaker, provide entertainment, a book reading or film screening, mother’s day tea or sell some products, etc., etc), visit a school, university, community groups and give a presentation; set up a booth at a local event of some kind; or design some other forms of promoting our goals and objectives, including distributing our pamphlets and newsletters to universities, distributing posters, and so on. We have lots of resources to share with chapters to help promote our work and are open to discussing new ideas and suggestions for expanding on this anytime.

Other suggestions include:

  • Build a Media list and begin to nurture an on-going relationship with local media. Ensure coverage of your event if possible with the local media (newspaper, radio, etc.).
  • During fundraising events, set up an information booth and have a Sign-in sheet available for attendees to leave contact information if they are interested in joining the group in some capacity or want further information on situation for Afghanistan women.
  • Build a Community Contact list of other volunteer or not-for-profit groups in the area, including multicultural or cross-cultural learning centres, refugee service groups, those working on human rights/peace/women's issues or with Afghan women specifically. Begin to network with these groups whenever possible. Suggest certain not-for-profit groups set up information tables at your events and/or join together at peace or not-for-profit fairs to set up information kiosks.
  • Keep reading about the issue, attending other Afghan related events, access current information and communicate with other chapters. That will help to continually educate those from the chapter wanting to speak to groups to raise awareness. Join our information list serve at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/w4wafghan.
  • Have fun and enjoy the growth everyone will experience!!!

After reviewing the above details on Starting A New Chapter of CW4WAfghan in Canada, please provide the following information via email, fax or mail.
 
Questionnaire:

  1. How did you hear about CW4WAfghan?
  2. What drew you to this issue?
  3. Are there others in your community with whom you may collaborate?
  4. What events, activities and or initiatives might interest you?
  5. What is your short- and long-term vision for a chapter of CW4WAfghan in your area?
  6. Do you have any specific goals and/or objectives for starting a chapter that may vary (or not) from those already established?

Please send us a short bio along with any questions you may have and we look forward to further discussions with you.

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625
e: community@cw4wafghan.ca

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