Thank you for helping us partner with First Nations people in Australia, empowering them to make positive change in their lives.
World Vision’s Australia First Nations Program brings development expertise and works with First Nations’ people where community-led approaches can complement other services to support long-term sustainable change. Our focus on reflection and continual refinement of our work in each community means we are always learning about how best to support First Nations people through our projects.
For many years, this program has been known as the Australia Program. In consultation with the Australia Program’s First Nations Staff Network, we have changed the name to the Australia First Nations Program. By using this terminology to refer to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are recognising the original inhabitants of Australia and acknowledging this continent’s rich cultural history. The change in name also more strongly identifies our purpose and intention to work alongside First Nations peoples, communities and organisations in support of their aspirations and goals.
Our Early Childhood Care and Development program supports First Nations children, their families and remote communities to strengthen positive outcomes for their children from conception to age five.
In 2019, the program was implemented in 13 communities across two remote regions of Australia – the East Pilbara and West Kimberley in Western Australia – out of which 10 communities were introduced to playgroups. Playgroups not only provide learning opportunities for children but also for parents. Additionally, they provide a safe space for women and carers to learn from each other and host forums for visiting services, agencies and support networks to assist parents and their children’s development.
Another strong feature of the program is building confidence among parents and children in the transition process from playgroup to school. This also involves engaging schools and supporting approaches that make the school transition easier for children while strengthening relationships between parents and the school.
2019 was the first year in action for World Vision’s Unlock Literacy program in Australia. The program uses teacher support, community action and progress-monitoring tools to enhance core reading skills among children aged six to nine.
World Vision has been working in partnership with the four Warlpiri communities since 2008 with a focus on early childhood, local governance, and family violence prevention. In collaboration with community leaders and key stakeholders, the need
for a program to support early literacy that promotes a both-ways approach and engages the wider community was identified and is being addressed by this program.
The assigning of a project manager has been an important foundational element in developing the team in collaboration with the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC), a Warlpiri organisation that is partnering
with World Vision Australia in this project. Adaptation workshops were held with WYDAC and the community to help contextualise the Unlock Literacy approach.
Young Mob is a platform for young First Nations youth to build their confidence, knowledge and skills by learning from their peers and better understanding their own backgrounds, histories and identities.
Participation and engagement of students in sessions at schools form the foundations of the Young Mob program. Camps and cultural exchanges are the highlight of Young Mob’s calendar of activities. These were opportunities for some Young
Mob students to meet First Nations students from other schools, visit culturally significant places and learn from local First Nations leaders and Elders.
The Young Mob program is also working with the Victoria youth justice system to help some of the most vulnerable First Nations youth in the country. Engaging with them in custody continues to be a focus of the program. The program also provides
a chance for schools to demonstrate their support and work closely with the Young Mob team and First Nations student leaders to develop initiatives and share learnings with the broader school community.
– Mark, Young Mob Program Facilitator
IMPACT Clubs support disadvantaged young people aged between 13 to 17 years to develop the skills, behaviours and attitudes necessary to enter education, employment or enterprise pathways and make a positive contribution to their communities.
During 2019, it was vital to actively build relationships with young people, communities, and partners working in the youth development space. This has enabled us to learn substantial amounts about how local youth use current services, communicate
with each other and potential support networks, the kinds of activities that local youth respond to and how best to engage them.
Hosting youth engagement events and discussion forums served as opportunities to unpack these topics, meet local youth and services and lay the groundwork for the program in 2020. Through weekly coaching and mentoring, training, access to conferences and exposure visits, young people have been able to increase their skills, confidence, and knowledge and gain new experiences that will help improve their leadership skills and increase their long-term employability.
A growing number of First Nations women and men are engaging in the Channels of Hope for Gender program which addresses the need for change to combat and prevent violence against women.
Community meetings held at regular intervals are providing opportunities for local services and program facilitators to discuss the issues and challenges concerning domestic violence faced by the community. The meetings help build the capacity
of those involved in preventing violence against women and children as well as better understand how to improve collaboration between community and services more effectively in the long-term.
The program also helps facilitate formal Bible study sessions that focus deeply on the teachings that the Bible presents on respectful relationships and gender equality. The sessions also helped with clarifying misinterpretations that are unhelpful in the context of preventing domestic violence and are linked to key elements of local culture and kinship relations to reinforce respect and good relationships.