Mowanjum Workshop Attendees, Mowanjum Community via Derby WA
Aboriginal women's research Assistant and evaluation training project - (AWRAE)
Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) Foundation Ltd is launching a new social program (pilot) called the Aboriginal Women’s Research Assistant and Evaluation (AWRAE) Training Project that pushes the boundaries of Indigenous Data Sovereignty, creating employment and empowerment for Aboriginal women in remote communities.
The ABCFL will contract the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Clear Horizon to co-design and deliver the training program with the AWRAE participants. The training model has been designed to be culturally secure and hands-on with embedded mentoring and support and goes beyond a ‘standard’ training model; once women have learnt the skills of planning, data collection and analysis, they will work on contract evaluations (work placement).
The business model calls for three types of client engagement: (1) one-off evaluations (NGOs, government); (2) ongoing evaluations (six monthly surveys of NGO clients) and (3) whole-of-community evaluations.
The program will initially commence with 18-24 Aboriginal women from Karratha, Broome and Derby. The Aboriginal women will be a mix of majority job seekers (unemployed) and other women from within the communities. These women will be commencing the AWRAE training project (Stage 1) with wrap around support from ABCFL Indigenous Mentors (Field Officers); Employment Services Provider and other key stakeholders (Activity Supervisors); and the NCIE Training Mentors and Facilitators (External Support). Funding has been secured to provide a training ‘top-up' wage to all participants over the 9 – 12-month course. Once trained the ABCFL Program Manager will work to identify local work placements/clients for the women within their communities. It is anticipated that the training and work placements will lead to paid employment and/or consulting work. The project will commence from May 2021.
Overall, the pilot project will:
- 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
"It is impressive. It not only could serve as a tool to measure how services or research are impacting on marginalised groups, but it is a great example of Indigenous data sovereignty which is a very powerful movement to get First Nations people to take control of their own data; it's collection, analysis and interpretation.
When this happens effective change for good happens in communities and groups." Fiona Stanley
Projected outcomes and benefits
- By 30 June 2021: Identified and recruited 12 Women - Karratha, 12 Women - Derby/Broome to commence the project 2022;
- By August 2021: Work placements with prospective employers will be sourced for women to continue their training within a work environment.
- By June 2022: The ABCFL program manager and the east-cast based business manager will continue to source work for the graduates. This may be an on-going position within the organisation, or it may be contracted work for local NGOs, the Commonwealth, State or Local Governements. ABC will be responsible for managing the social enterprise.
- By June 2022: The pilot generates enough interest to attract full funding for years 3-6.
- By August 2022: The state and/or Commonwealth government begins to contract AWRAE services.
- By September 2022: Graduating women have been trained and 8 community evaluations have been completed.
- By May 2022: If pilot continues to be going well, a fourth site opens. ABCFL continues to manage the contracts for external evaluations, however, at this point, the AWRAE business manager will begin exploring options for either continued reliance on ABCFL for contract management, evolving into an independent entity or government uptake of the concept.
- By June 2023: Majority of the graduating women are engaged in evaluation related careers.
The benefits gained by the training and evaluations for the Aboriginal women will be significant. On completion they will have the ability to take up fee for service and/or careers within the research and evaluation sector across multiple industries (NGO, Government, Corporate). Or, with the support of the AWRAE project undertake further tertiary qualifications.
Their household incomes will be substantially higher than being on welfare or on minimum wage employment. With the ability to charge up to 500% on top of the minimum wage. As consultants they will also have the flexibility to work around their family and community commitments, creating a more balanced work / life balance.
There will other indirect benefits as well. With increased household incomes the Aboriginal women will be in a position to better support their family and community. As well as being role models for their children and community.
The other in-direct benefits will be from the customers/clients themselves who will be in a position to invest in a local based research and evaluation consultant, ensuring the money remains local and the investment has a whole of community benefit.
Training 18-24 Women in evaluations in WA will also have a significant impact on reducing unemployment rates as well as creating new employment opportunities which has not be identified previously. The Gascoyne Blueprint identifies the need to attract and retain higher skills, greater educated people within its workforce, exploring new employment sectors, as well as investing in Aboriginal employment and economic development, which this project addresses. The Kimberley Blueprint seeks to develop stronger leadership skills in its community, to be in a position to create local employment within its leading industries.
Evaluations generally cost 10% of project budgets. AWRAE expects costs for one-off evaluations to range from $20,000 - $50,000 with opportunities for multi-year evaluations through negotiation.
If you have a research and/or evaluation project in the Broome, Derby and/or Karratha areas, let us know.
Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation, Derby WA
Interested in applying?
Are you an Aboriginal Female job seeker or have become recently unemployed and wish you could get involved in local community research projects? Then, the Aboriginal Women’s Research Assistant and Evaluation Training Project, known as AWRAE, might be right for you!
The ABC Foundation, is currently seeking Aboriginal Women to sign up for our hands-on work-place training leading to employment program.
You can complete our online Expression of Interest Form here, download the physical Expression of Interest form below or contact us today! Get in quickly as spaces are limited.
The ABC Foundation Ltd would like to acknowledge all funders, sponsors, and donors for assisting the AWRAE Training Pilot Project, pushing the boundaries of Indigenous Data Sovereignty for Aboriginal women in remote communities.