Immigrant women, social service and advocacy : the role of an organization of immigrant women in Manitoba

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Migliardi, Paula
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The purpose of this study was to explore the development and role of immigrant women's organizations in Canada. A case study of the Immigrant Women's Association of Manitoba (IWAM) was developed. The study was guided by a series of research questions such as what is the role of IWAM (i.e., services and other functions); what is the result of the organization on clients; what is the organization's relationship with government, its principal funder. A qualitative methodological approach was adopted to address the research questions. The main findings reveal that, in their service area, IWAM, as other organizations of immigrant women and immigrant in general, offers a safe and familiar environment where immigrant women were able to access resources and share common experiences. The services were defined as culturally appropriate and relevant to immigrant women. The organization, through collective action, was able to articulate the needs faced by immigrant women and in some cases to obtain financial support to develop programs and deliver services to address those needs. Nonetheless, the organization has faced shortcomings. An examination of the organization's dependence on government funding indicates some of the constraints faced by IWAM. A number of internal problems also indicates the inability of the organization to sustain the provision of services. In sum, this study shows the relation of constraint and autonomy between the larger environment and the daily activities of a small women's organization.