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The WE LEAD Project Meeting in Leitrim

We were delighted to host the transnational meeting of the WE LEAD project in Leitrim recently. Our project partners arrived from Iceland ( UNAK & Transformia) Denmark (EUEI) and Spain (CDEA).

We stayed in the idyllic Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway, which was a very fitting location as we have previously interviewed Michelle Coghlan, Co-founder & General Manager of Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway, for our project. Michelle is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to women in tourism, and we think you will find her interview very interesting

WE LEAD’s overall objective is to improve the quality & relevance of women leadership in tourism education so that women are better equipped to use their skills to embrace leadership roles & empower them to face challenges, especially transition towards climate neutrality.

On the first day of our meeting, we embraced the peaceful atmosphere of Drumhierny as we held our meeting around the table of one of the lodges, we enjoyed looking out on the squirrels and listening to the birdsong as we worked on the final touches to Work Package 2  – orthe publication of our Eye opener report and Good Practice compendium. We held a content creation workshop for our We Lead course that will equip and empower women in the Tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors to find their voices and gain the confidence they require to work in leadership roles.

We had lunch at the Jackalope Café in The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo. This is another wonderful example of women working in hospitality, and we enjoyed service with a smile from Siobhan and her team. After lunch we took a trip to The Arigna Mining Experience, the centre gives visitors an insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s until closure in 1990.

When the mines closed this marked the end of an era and the miners were out of work. The local community, including many of the wives of the miners became actors in tourism and initiated the setup of the experience to retain employment in the region. In fact, many of the former miners went on to become tour guides and  educated visitors on the harshness of coal mining for the environment and for health. We found it fascinating to take a tour of the mines and explore the exhibition which features interviews with The Miner’s Wives, the doctor in the community, and local men who worked in the mine.

We returned to Drumhierny inspired and educated and after a woodland walk, we finished our evening under the stars in the outdoor hot tubs of the wellbeing sanctuary.

Momentum HQ in Leitrim Village was the location for the second day of our meeting. We continued our course development and EUEI presented the development plan for Work Package 4  – our Gender Advocacy toolkit.

The objective of WP4 is to optimise the scalability and sustainability of the projects’ results by building the capacity of industry players (those working in the Tourism hospitality and Leisure sectors), stakeholders and target group 4, so that they become advocates for gender balance and equity in tourism, hospitality, and leisure. This work is vital to ensuring that the resources have a long-life span, making them value-based and adaptable across tourism & leadership education while also ensuring that key players and target groups understand and use them.

We achieved so much during our two days together and we now have a robust project plan put in place for the remaining 10 months of the project timeline. We’d like to thank our project partners for all their hard work and commitment to the project, it’s a pleasure to work alongside them. We concluded the trip with a meal together in My Kitchen by Sham Hanifa where we met Sham, who is a local food tourism advocate.

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