Thank you for helping us partner with First Nations people in Australia, empowering them to make positive change in their lives.
By supporting our Australia First Nations Program, you’re helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to create positive and lasting change.
COVID-19 had ongoing effects on our work during 2021, with restrictions and outbreaks impeding travel to and from remote communities. We adapted activities wherever possible, for example by holding online workshops and virtual events.
We continued working with communities in the West Kimberley and Central Desert regions to improve children’s readiness for primary school. As part of the early years learning framework, we maintained a strong focus on good hygiene practices.
In Central Australia, we continued working with local partners to adapt and pilot our Unlock Literacy model, helping early primary-school aged children achieve improved literacy.
In the Northern Territory, the community-led Willowra playgroup has engaged 92 percent of local children aged six months to five years. Bush trips and training opportunities for parents helped promote more frequent attendance.
In 2021, we employed seven local women as playgroup facilitators. We supported them with professional development opportunities, including book-making workshops and child protection and safeguarding training. We also strengthened our accountability
to the broader community through regular reporting and quarterly newsletters, and by encouraging feedback.
In the West Kimberley, we supported families and communities to optimise both early and middle childhood development outcomes. Local staff designed and led activities with guidance from Elders and support from school staff.
For instance, literacy activities were created to give children opportunities to practise reading and writing outside of school in a fun and engaging way. Teachers learned about local culture and picked up local language words to introduce in
We continued partnering with the Australian Government through its Connected Beginnings program in the Kimberley region. This aims to close the gap in school readiness and education outcomes between First Nations and other Australian children.
We held large community engagement sessions on the importance of early childhood and how to drive local solutions. These helped build trust in World Vision as the program’s backbone organisation. We also ran five stakeholder engagement sessions
to begin working on a shared agenda for change.
playgroup sessions were held in Willowra, building on the strengths of First Nations culture.
children from Willowra and other communities attended playgroup, as well as 54 caregivers.
local people were employed as facilitators in three Kimberley communities.
people from Mowanjum, Derby and Pandanus Park took part in community engagement sessions.
Originally developed by World Vision International, this evidence-based model has been adapted into 35 languages and applied in over 24 countries worldwide.
In partnership with Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC), we’re adapting and piloting the program in three Warlpiri communities in the Northern Territory: Willowra, Nyirrpi and Lajamanu.
Unlock Literacy promotes five core reading skills: alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Particularly relevant to First Nations communities is its emphasis on family, community, and local languages and environments in literacy development and overall learning.
In 2021, we continued developing the program in close collaboration with WYDAC and Warlpiri communities. Through adaptation workshops, community members played an important role in shaping program activities.
Training opportunities and workshops for parents and caregivers also helped to increase their confidence in supporting children’s literacy development.
Some community visits and study trips were cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Katherine in late 2021. Instead, 25 people took part in an online workshop on Warlpiri curriculum development, organised by the Bilingual Resource Development Unit. The workshop involved teachers from each Warlpiri community – reinforcing strong relationships with the Department of Education.
Reflecting the importance Unlock Literacy places on locally developed resources, bilingual books were created – and launched at events attended by facilitators, adults and children. Local staff and participants also developed quarterly newsletters to help engage the wider community in literacy-related activities.
bilingual books were produced with Warlpiri and English text.
parents and caregivers participated in training sessions and workshops.
activity book was created to help community facilitators deliver program activities.
community members took part in workshops informing program development.
At a shaded spot near a river crossing in Looma – an Aboriginal community in the West Kimberley – mothers, children and Elders gathered to spend a special day together on country. It was an opportunity for younger generations to learn from their Elders, and for Elders to exercise their important role in nurturing children.
Playgroup facilitators, who we employ from the local community, were excited to hold their first day trip of the year. Building on strong partnerships with other community services, they organised the trip together with the Looma Home and Community Care Centre, where some of the Elders go each day for support and activities.
Mums were able to relax and socialise in a beautiful natural environment, away from their everyday concerns. Children played and had lots of fun painting and making damper. And the Elders enjoyed one of their favourite pastimes: fishing.
While not all cultural activities went to plan, this provided valuable opportunity for reflection. Community facilitators and project staff learned from each other about what works for future trips.
Outings like these promote physical health and social-emotional wellbeing. Children learn in ways which celebrate and strengthen culture – ultimately supporting them to be strong at school.