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Aboriginal Women’s Research and Evaluation Training Project

Project lead: Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation
Project location: WA

Currently, young women in remote Australia face limited on-country employment opportunities. In tandem, non-profits and government organisations face difficulty in assessing the value of their remote programs. Indeed, in the report Mapping the Indigenous Program and Funding Maze, the Centre for Independent Studies examined over 1000 Indigenous programs and found that “less than 10% of these...had been evaluated...few used methods that actually provided evidence of the program’s effectiveness.” 

To address these issues, the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation implemented the “Aboriginal Women’s Research and Evaluation Training Project” in Karratha, Western Australia. 

The pilot project aimed to:

  • Increase availability of meaningful on-country employment opportunities in remote and regional Australia for Indigenous women
  • Improve the ability for both government and non-government organisations to recruit skilled remote evaluators to gather accurate data and assess the value of their remote programs
  • Maximise community empowerment and agency in assessment of the value of projects being delivered on country, according to the principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty
  • Address the current shortfall of Indigenous evaluators available for conducting culturally appropriate evaluations
  • Reduce the occurrence of duplicative and/or poor programs being continued in remote and regional locations

Karratha was chosen by these organisations as a remote area with high needs, enough service provision that evaluation was necessary (e.g., there would be client NGOs) and women wishing to remain on country.

Initial community consultations resulted in the following guidelines for AWRAE:

  1. Open to all Aboriginal women 18yrs and over
  2. Mix of jobseekers and other women (who are working or studying)
  3. Embedded mentoring and support
  4. Culturally secure
  5. Practical hands-on learning and alternative assessment methods
  6. Cater to individual learning needs including low literacy and numeracy skills
  7. Block training during school hours 

The support model to be used with the AWRAE Training Project will consist of a three-fold wraparound structure that provides participants with access to adequate mentoring and support for the duration of the program.

Cultural Resilience for Children in Out of Home Care

Project lead: Central Queensland Indigenous Development 
Project location: QLD

An increasing body of Australian child protection principle, policy and law is mandating that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) receive Indigenous-led service provision. However, as the limited scientific evidence shows, the growing mandate for Indigenous leadership, self-determination, and cultural connectedness in OOHC is not comprehensively, consistently or transparently occurring in practice. It remains important to underscore to non-Indigenous OOHC decision-makers and actors – who continue to dominate the OOHC landscape in Australia – of the intergenerational benefits of mob-led service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. 

This need for this project was identified, and the study led and co-designed, by Central Queensland Indigenous Development (CQID). CQID is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisation with over 10 years’ experience providing comprehensive support to families who interface with the Queensland Government run child safety system on Darumbal lands and the lands of the Wadja Wadja/Yungulu, Gooreng Gooreng, Byellee, Gurang, Taribeland Bunda, Gayiri (Kairi, Khararya), Iningai, Malintji, Kuunkari, Butchulla/Batjala peoples and nations in Central Queensland. 

This project provided vital evidence and direction to leaders and policymakers, educators, social work practitioners and students as to why and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-controlled organizations are best placed to lead OOHC service delivery for Australian Indigenous children and their families. The wisdom, voices and experience of Elders, Indigenous OOHC social work professionals, and young adults who have recently transitioned out of OOHC in Central Queensland are qualitatively explored. Ten thematic findings – or directives – emerged that are relevant not only to explain the importance of Indigenous-led OOHC in Central Queensland, but for Indigenous-led OOHC across Australia. 
The CQID-led research was conducted with a multidisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers from The University of Queensland (Adjunct Professor Sandra Creamer, Professor Maree Toombs, and Dr Claire Brolan). 

This project was completed in November 2021. 

Mapping Boodjar: Walyalup Fremantle Cross-Cultural Mapping 

Project Lead: Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation 
Project location: WA 

Cartographic representations of the Western Australian landscape are a powerful visual manifestation of the author’s perspective and spatial understanding of place. Settler mapping has historically disregarded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge when representing land and urban landscapes. Mapping of Walyalup Fremantle has omitted or siloed Aboriginal knowledge systems, as a consequence limiting understanding of the complexities and interconnectedness of physical elements, social structures, memories, and the deep histories of place.  

Within the contemporary urban landscape, settler ignorance of Aboriginal knowledge of place is evident in the inability of planning protocols and built environment professionals to engage with and effectively embed Aboriginal culture and language within contemporary urban environments. This applied research makes a timely contribution to the Whadjuk Noongar and non-Whadjuk Aboriginal communities, local government and built environment industries through applying and documenting Whadjuk Noongar led cultural mapping, using these maps to communicate and influence Whadjuk landscapes in the planning system, and educating future leaders about the respect and use of Aboriginal knowledge.  

Mapping Boodjar continues the cultural mapping method undertaken with remote and regional Aboriginal communities as part of the Ngurrara Canvas, The Yiwarra Kuju (The Canning Stock Route Project), the Yawuru and Murujuga cultural management plans, and the cultural mapping recently undertaken within the urban landscape of The University of Western Australia. The project draws on this knowledge to further shed light on the contemporary issue of truth telling and decolonising within the built environment. The most important research output, a map, will be a visual expression of Whadjuk Noongar culture within the urban landscape of Walyalup Fremantle. 

The methods for this project supports the aims and ensure Aboriginal leadership, governance and ownership. Mapping Boodjar is an Aboriginal-Led co-research, co-designed project framed through the Whadjuk Noongar specific Kaart Koort Waarnginy (KKW) framework developed by Dr Richard Walley and Whadjuk Noongar Elders. The method is embedded in the Noongar six seasons and grounded in a philosophy of collaboration and conversation between all parties. The combination of the co-research where participants are co-researchers and KKW, facilitates respectful relationships, shared understandings, and two-way learning.  

Last updated: 31 May 2023