15 February 2018

Project Empower: Calling on rural communities to drive girl power

| Sophia Brady
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CEO Hannah Wandel passionate about empowering young women. Image provided by Project Empower

CEO Hannah Wandel is passionate about empowering young women. Photos: Supplied by Project Empower.

Country to Canberra is empowering young rural women to reach their leadership potential. Founded in 2014, this award-winning not-for-profit runs nationwide programs that provide education, leadership and mentorship opportunities to regional, rural and remote teenage girls. A leading voice for young women, they are committed to strengthening rural communities into the future.

This year, Country to Canberra has unveiled Project Empower – a national ‘workshop road trip’ that will upskill and provide free leadership training to young regional and remote women to empower the next generation of leaders, and rural communities.

CEO Hannah Wandel says the award-winning not-for-profit organisation will drive over 14,000 kilometres to every state and territory to run the uplifting workshops in rural high schools.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From May to August, our volunteer team will be jumping in a ute and hitting the red dirt to drive change,” Ms Wandel said.

The organisation is now calling on country communities to find out where they should run the workshops. “We want to hear from people in rural Australia so we can decide where to visit, so thousands of students can benefit. It’s really simple. Anyone can jump on our website to fill out the short Expression of Interest form and apply for us to visit your school or sports club! It’s all free and can make a huge difference for local girls. We’re also looking for people who want to volunteer and give back,” Ms Wandel said.

Prime Minister with Country to Canberra participants. Image provided by Project Empower

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Country to Canberra participants.

Country to Canberra has a history of success, having run its prestigious Power Trip program since 2014 to connect rural girls with the likes of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and top CEOs. It won Holden’s first-ever ‘What Drives You’ grant to establish Project Empower.

Hannah Worsley from Nullamanna in NSW says Country to Canberra changed her life. “I cannot praise this organisation enough. I’d encourage everyone to apply to have Project Empower visit you. I’m a better leader because of Country to Canberra,” Ms Worsley said.

CEO Hannah Wandell has been passionate about strengthening country communities from a young age. After growing up in rural South Australia and losing her home in a fire as a teen, Ms Wandel has appreciated the support that country communities provide.

“Country towns are the lifeblood of Australia, and the best part is how rural people band together. Issues like the gender pay gap, political underrepresentation and social media are impacting teen girls, while distance, time and funding barriers can make accessing education and career opportunities tough.We want to ensure no matter where you’re from or what gender you are, you have the tools to succeed, and we’re bringing these opportunities directly to the school gate.” Ms Wandel said.

Expressions of Interest close on 6 March 2018. See countrytocanberra.com.au/projectempower for more.

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