Learning Leaders Inspiring Community Action Through Appreciative Inquiry

Changing the Culture of Violence and Abuse with Rural Women and Girls


This article outlines the formation, work and growth of the Using Our Influence (UOI) collaborative. Learning leadership, developed and expressed through Critical Appreciative Inquiry (CAI), is described as an approach for transformative community empowerment and change-making in rural Canada.


Author: Gwenyth Brigit Dwyn

Gwenyth is the Health Promotion Team Lead for Mental Health and Addictions, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Her passion is facilitating positive community-level change through individual and group empowerment. Using community development and appreciative principles, she helps communities proactively address substance misuse through collaboration and public policy advocacy.

Contact: Gwenyth.dwyn@nshealth.ca

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Author: Rhonda Fraser

Rhonda works in the social justice community in Nova Scotia, Canada with a focus on violence and abuse in the lives of rural women and girls. A belief in innovation, collaboration and non-confrontational advocacy informs her choice to include Critical AI in her work to shift the dominant gendered culture.

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Author: Dale Gruchy

Dale is on the faculty of the Nova Scotia Community College and is a professional consultant/trainer. As an adult educator, she works to create learning environments that encourage compassionate approaches to social justice issues as pathways to culture shift. Her areas include: substance misuse, mental health and trauma-informed approaches.

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