The aspect most valued by Working Group members and community residents is that it is a collaborative effort with everyone working together as a team to achieve positive, tangible outcomes. The Working Group actively facilitate collaboration through representation and communication strategies.
There are four different language groups that most people in Alekarenge come from – Kaytetye, Alyawarr, Waramungu and Warlpiri. Sometimes keeping people working cohesively together can be a challenge. The Working Group
made concerted efforts to have people from all language groups represented, and the opinions and perspectives of people equally valued regardless of which language group they belong to.
The Working Group also expanded representation over time. At commencement, the Working Group was comprised with only Traditional Owner representatives. After less than a year of operating in this way, non-Traditional Owner residents of Alekarenge brought their concerns about not being involved to a meeting. The Traditional Owners recognised the valuable contribution non-Traditional Owners had made to the community, and so Working Group membership was regenerated to include Alekarenge residents who are not Traditional Owners.
To encourage young people to become involved in planning and decision-making the Working Group invited them to attend meetings and appointed several young people to be Working Group members. To keep the wider community
involved, Working Group meetings are made open for other community members to attend and contribute to. In addition, regular community meetings are held to report back on completed projects, seek feedback and discuss future projects. The working group also periodically distributes a newsletter.
· Value the opinions of people from different groups equally
· Be responsive to feedback – make suggested changes if appropriate
· Create opportunities for young people to participate in decision-making
· Keep the wider community up to date with what you’re doing
To read the full case study, check out Exceptional Governance: Stories of Success from the 2018 Indigenous Governance Awards on the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute website.
About the Stories of Success publications
Since 2014 the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute has analysed the governance practices of organisations and projects who apply for the Indigenous Governance Awards. Each Awards round, applicants are evaluated by an expert Judging Panel on 5 criteria: Innovation; Effectiveness; Self-determination and leadership; Cultural relevance and legitimacy; Future planning, sustainability and resilience.
The analysis identifies successful, real-world strategies for each criterion, which are shared through the Stories of Success publications.
Governance is most successful when ‘localised’, that is, tailored to the specific context, priorities and culture. A range of ideas and practices are shared so that you may adopt and adapt the most relevant strategies for your project, organisation, community or nation’s needs.
The collection of Stories of Success publications are available via this link.