CHI wins 'Excellence in Communications' at CIH All Ireland Housing Awards 2024

March 19, 2024

Co-operative Housing Ireland took home an award in the ‘Excellence in Communications’ category for ‘Inspiring Women in Leadership’, CHI’s International Women’s Day 2023 campaign, at this year’s Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) All Ireland Housing Awards last Thursday, 14th March. The CIH All Ireland Housing Awards was established to recognise and award good practice across the social and affordable housing sector and this year took place in the Round Room, in the Mansion House, Dublin.

‘Women in Leadership’ was a collaboration between the CHI Community Engagement and Communications teams to mark International Women’s Day on 8th March 2023 and celebrate strong women leaders in CHI communities, the organisation, and likeminded organisations in Ireland. The International Women’s Day campaign ran during March and comprised a range of events and communications designed to reach all stakeholders, including CHI colleagues, Member tenants, government, local authorities and similar third-sector organisations in Ireland. This included three events, an in-person yoga class in Limerick, where CHI has over 350 homes, an online, free, ‘Chair Yoga’ event open to all, and an in-person ‘Inspiring Women in Leadership’ forum for stakeholders. There were also coffee mornings held in CHI offices across the country with funds raised donated to Women’s Aid, UNICEF and Work Equal.

Outputs from the events included photographs, videos, social media updates, follow up emails to attendees and stakeholders, a live radio broadcast of the forum on Near FM, and articles on our website. These were in addition to a female-focused series of ‘Staff in the Spotlight’ blogs on CHI colleagues and their roles in the organisation. All campaign materials had a deliberate look and feel, with elements designed and drawn by colleagues on the Community Engagement and Communications Team alike.

The core element of the campaign, and key event, was an ‘Inspiring Women in Leadership’ forum held in Wood Quay, Dublin, on 8th March. The forum featured two panel discussions exploring different aspects of what it means to be a leader and was MC'd by Sabrina Ryan from Near FM 90.3, who also broadcasted the event. All CHI Member tenants, colleagues and stakeholders were invited to attend in person or online. The first panel focused on Inspiring CHI leaders and comprised CHI Member tenants who have contributed significantly to their communities, been active Members of the CHI board, or grown their own businesses. Joining the discussion were CHI Member tenants Mamy Nzema Nkoy, Caoimhe McCarthy and Marianne Ward-O'Leary Maughan. Speaking on the importance of women’s leadership at the Wood Quay event, Marianne Ward-O’Leary Maughan said,

“It’s very important that women have the support within their community to go forward, because sometimes she may not think she has the strength to be stronger, but with a little bit of encouragement, it’s amazing what we can do.”

The second panel was themed ‘Supporting Women in Leadership’. The panel featured activists with a wide area of expertise working in areas such a social integration, leadership development, sustainability, social entrepreneurship, neurodiversity, and workers’ rights. They imparted their advice and wisdom on attendees emphasising the importance of encouraging other women, using social enterprise to create community and inclusion, and how women-centred employment policies are crucial in helping women build and sustain their careers.

The forum fulfilled key aims of the broader work of CHI’s Community Engagement Team, which was to showcase the incredible women leaders in the CHI Member tenant community and provide a platform for Member tenant voices. Ultimately, CHI’s International Women’s Day campaign showed the organisation’s commitment to diversity and equity, and its drive to facilitate knowledge sharing among several groups of inspiring women.

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