WA Action evolved from community conversations tied to the poverty reduction plan launched by the province of New Brunswick in 2009. These conversations were part of a 2008 public engagement initiative, in which nearly 2,500 citizens from across the province contributed insights, ideas, and opinions about the issue of poverty. These contributions were documented in A Choir of Voices: The “What Was Said” Report.
A strong message emerged from these conversations: New Brunswickers are already working to improve our social and economic well-being!
Informed by the public engagement initiative of 2008, Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan was created and vetted by a multi-sector guiding body. This body included representatives from the non-profit, business, and government sectors, as well as individuals with lived experiences of poverty. Together, the guiding body established a process for implementation of the plan’s proposed actions. This process preserves and supports the regional perspectives, initiatives, and voices of New Brunswickers who engaged in the creation of the plan.
To these ends, the guiding body created and empowered the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation (ESIC) to be the keepers of the Overcoming Poverty Together plan. ESIC works to ensure that goals in the plan are achieved, and supports groups and individuals in multiple sectors as they carry out the plan’s commitments.
Twelve regional networks, known as Community Inclusion Networks (CIN), were also created to provide more localized support. Each network is a unique organization guided by regional conversations, and each has an independent regional board of directors or steering committee. All twelve networks, however, have ongoing contract funding that allows them to showcase and support social and economic inclusion initiatives that align with the goals of the poverty reduction plan.
The Westmorland Albert Community Inclusion Network (WA CIN), Region 1, was formed. The United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick became the initial host of the Westmorland Albert Community Inclusion Network (WA CIN).
The WA CIN started as a collective with a steering committee that hosted a series of community dialogues in 2010. These dialogues helped establish the first regional plan that outlined six key regional priorities:
- Early Childhood Intervention
- Food Security
In 2012, the steering committee identified the need to have a more formal structure for decision making, transparency, and community ownership. The group also wanted to form partnerships with and leverage funds for non-charitable groups, which the United Way was unable to do under its mandate. Consequently, the steering committee decided to formalize the CIN’s organizational structure in the fall of 2012 by establishing the Westmorland-Albert Community Inclusion Network Co-operative (WA CIN Co-op).
With a focus on creating impact, developing networks, and driving action, WA CIN has evolved in terms of its mission, its vision, and its approach to working with partners. As a reflection of the organization’s evolution and goals, the new identity of WA Action was adopted in 2017.