Mná na hÉireann – Women of Ireland Fund

11th October 2019

Social Innovation Fund Ireland, in partnership with Bank of America and the Department of Rural and Community Development, announced six successful Awardee recipients of the inaugural Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund. The announcement was made by Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney TD at a special event held in Smock Alley in Dublin.

The €1.8 million Fund is the first of its kind in Ireland to support charitable and social enterprise organisations that seek to enhance the economic mobility of women, by investing in organisations that provide training, upskilling, work experience, education and other services directly to disadvantaged women.

The six inspiring Awardees, which include projects that support single-parent women, refugees and transgender women were chosen from over 70 applications. Each submission went through a rigorous application and interview process to ensure they met the criteria and high standards set out for the Fund and its Awardees.

The six successful Mná na hÉireann, Women of Ireland Fund Awardees are:

Women’s Education Programme (An Cosán VVC)

Women’s Education Programme offers women marginalised from the workforce, a flexible part-time education through a blended learning model of online lectures and in-person workshops.

Dress for Success Dublin

Dress for Success Dublin gives individuals ongoing access to skilled recruitment professionals and educational programmes to equip them with the skills and confidence to partake in the economic opportunities available to them.

Here Comes the Girls (Westmeath Community Development)

Here Comes the Girls works by pre-empting potential skills demands of local employers and offering employers bespoke training and recruitment opportunities to meet their staffing needs, while also equipping local women with the skills required to perform these jobs and enter employment.

Integration from Day One (Irish Refugee Council)

Integration from Day One supports refugee women in Ireland from the earliest stages of the asylum process to build opportunities and skills to successfully integrate and find their place in the labour market.

Amplifying Rural Women’s Voices (EQUAL Ireland)

Amplifying Rural Women’s Voices provides blended learning to women living in rural areas, combining workshops, a co-operative learning environment, online and outreach delivery, in partnership with communities.

Super Women (Transgender Equality Network Ireland)

Super Women addresses the inequality and inaccessibility of the labour market for transgender women.

In addition to grant funding, the six successful Awardees will also receive a place on an Accelerator Programme, which includes bespoke training and mentoring by experts from across the private, non-profit and public sector. Dublin based employees of Bank of America will be part of the mentoring team and they will also provide further tailored training to the successful organisations. The Accelerator Programme is specifically designed to equip charities and social enterprises with the skills to expand their business knowledge, drive growth and strengthen their impact across Ireland.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “We are thrilled to announce a wonderfully diverse range of Awardees supporting women who are often found to be furthest from the labour market – Trans women, refugees, lone  parents, women in rural areas and more. This €1.8 Million Fund will support these organisations to scale and deepen their impact across the country. Our goal is not only to empower these women into sustained employment, but to enable them to fulfil their potential and lead more secure, successful  lives.”

Pictured (L/R) are: Jasmine Brady, An Cosán Virtual Community College; Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland; Patty Clement, EU Chief Operating Officer at Bank of America; Dr Catherine Breathnach, National Director of Education and Maria Flanagan, An Cosán Community College. Photo – Marc O’Sullivan.