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LEA/NOW is a LOT sponsored project under the EU's Employment Initiative, New Opportunities for Women (NOW) programme. This programme, run throughout the EU member states (1994-99) has never supported a lesbian project prior to LEA/NOW. All projects within NOW are considered pilot initiatives, which by their nature change as they progress, once lessons are learned. 

LEA/NOW 1996-1997

The aim of the first LEA/NOW project was to devise, develop and provide a training programme which prepared participants as education/information providers on lesbian issues to a range of target groups. Target groups are defined as voluntary/community groups, educators, trade unionists, state agencies and the media. The 12 participants on the project represented lesbian groups in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Clare. Participants engaged in a series of training modules over a period of eighteen months which included: 

  • Group work and facilitation skills
  • Use of New Technology 
  • Local Needs analysis
  • Media Training
  • Video production
  • Lesbian Studies 
  • Production of resource material
  • Use of Information and Resource Pack on Lesbian Issues 

Project Rationale

The project was organised in response to a need to educate and inform the general public on lesbian issues via selected target groups, as well as providing skills-training and support to lesbians working ~n their local organizations. This two pronged approach was based on a recognition that recent legal reform (for example 1993 Law Reform and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Unfair Dismissals Act) had resulted in many agencies, employers, government departments, etc., having to inform themselves in a very real way on homosexual issues in general and lesbian issues in particular. 

Within the educational system there was also a pressing need for skilled outreach workers with the inclusion of sexual orientation in the new Relationships and Sexuality Programme for Irish schools. Teachers have very little access to inform ation and resource materials on lesbian issues. LEA/NOW sought to respond to the needs of the Department of Education in its in-service training of teachers. The production of the LOT information and resource pack with input from LEA/NOW participants during the project, will, we hope, respond to this need (LEA/NOW) 1998-1999.

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