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WOMHEn: Workforce of Multilingual Health Educators

About the WOMHEn Project.

We’ve employed 50 migrant and refugee women to form a rapid response health workforce. Funded by the Working for Victoria initiative, we’re training these health educators to disseminate COVID-19 information and deliver multilingual health education in over 20 languages to migrant and refugee women.

About the Project 

COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact on migrant and refugee women, and their communities. We know that migrant and refugee women have expertise and insight. That their experiences and understanding of their community must shape the way we educate and respond to health issues and crisis.

It’s this expertise we seek to harness. We’re training health educators to go into the community and listen to refugee and migrant women. We’re using that information to develop resources and education that will make engagement effective, faster, empowering and respectful.

Recruitment and Training

We were overwhelmed by applicants across Victoria for the project.

Recruitment itself highlighted the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on migrant and refugee women. As stated above from one health educator, there is enormous need in the community for health education as well as many talented and skilled migrant and refugee women who have been placed under enormous financial strain.

At GEN VIC, there were over 300 high-quality applications for each position. We know definitively that the talent is there, as well as the need.

Led by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health we are proud to establish this much-needed multilingual women’s health education infrastructure across the state, both in metro and regional Victoria.

Introducing our Workforce of Multilingual Health Educators

GEN VIC and MCWH, along with 12 women’s health services, have built a workforce of over 40 bilingual health educators to go into multilingual communities to improve access to COVID-19 health information. Through this project we’ve managed to reach over 1800 migrant and refugee women.

Moving Forward 

Scaling up preventative health education and promotional workforce that specifically responds to the needs of migrant and refugee women will take time.

We’re training our educators to first engage with the community before delivering health education. We want to know what migrant and refugee women feel is missing, and ensure that their concerns are answered.

Vitally though, recording and documenting the stories of migrant and refugee women who have struggled during and after COVID-19 is important knowledge creation.

A compassionate, inclusive and migrant and refugee women-led approach require recognition and understanding. We hope that our final report will provide that to our stakeholder and the community.

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