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Empowering families in Dampier

Families in the Dampier Peninsular will get a boost to children's services through a partnership between Save the Children Australia and Aarnja Empowered Communities.
12 February 2018

The partnership was signed in December last year with the aim of the two organisations collaborating on developing partnerships with major communities and service providers to implement programs as part of the Empowered Communities First Priority of Children and Young People.

Aarnja is the regional body for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley and the secretariat and backbone organisation for the West Kimberley Empowered Communities.

Aarnja will assist Save the Children – one of Australia's largest aid and development agencies dedicated to helping children and families – to create opportunities for Aboriginal children and families, as well as respect culture, community and connection to land.

The ultimate goal is to deliver a sustainable mentoring program under the banner of Empowering Families.

This program will provide support mechanisms for Kimberley locals to link into existing services, promoting cultural learning between Elders and children.

Save the Children Australia Western Australia state manager Juan LarraƱaga said this was a step in ensuring service providers were accountable to community decision making processes.

"Aboriginal communities themselves are in the best position to inform strong programs to get the best outcomes for children. This partnership represents our commitment to ensuring that our work with Aboriginal communities is community led," Mr LarraƱaga said.

"Save the Children is excited by the prospect of a formal partnership with Aarnja and is committed to empowering Aboriginal organisations and communities of the Dampier Peninsula to lead change within their communities.

"Together with Aarnja, we see this as a unique opportunity to integrate our respective expertise, share and combine resources and technical skills to develop innovative solutions that will change the story for children and families of the Dampier Peninsula region."

Both parties have agreed to collaborate to develop and strengthen early learning and community priority programs to improve the wellbeing of children and families across the Dampier Peninsula region.

Save the Children will work together with the major communities of the Dampier Peninsula to help establish the capabilities of the community to deliver early childhood education.

Aarnja chairman and West Kimberley Empowered Communities leader Martin Sibosado said the collaboration between the organisations brought a best practice approach to addressing poverty and dysfunction which has plagued the Aboriginal people of the Dampier Peninsular.

"The traumatic history of settlement has led to the disempowerment of Aboriginal society in the region," Mr Sibosado said.

"This partnership will help foster generational change and will be driven by local families.

"Children are our future and it takes a community to raise a child."

The collaboration will run until local community capacity is embedded.

Call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027 for interviews.