Field trip notes July 2006
Gäwa - Mid term Report
Meredith works tirelessly for her community. Meredith has developed excellent IT skills that are proving invaluable for teaching other community members. Gawa is probably one of the most computer literate communities in the region. According to Meredith the project has been very helpful in assisting her continue to develop her IT skills. Meredith says that it is important for not just students but also for adults who are learning how to use computers to maintain language and culture.
Four days a week Meredith and Lorna work on their TAA 40104 Certificate IV, Meredith is keen to finish the course not just for herself, but so she can help other continue learning particularly through IT.
Meredith helped established a community shop where community sell food to themselves, this has inspired the students in the school to use the EFTPOS machine and internet bank.
The first is to do with how computers are now being use widely for money business. This is the first step in making the small business operations in the three communities more viable, and better under the control of their owners. For example, the eco-tourism venture at Mäpuru has been assisted by this project. There are currently bookings for four workshops. As community members have developed IT skills and learnt to internet bank they are seeing a future for themselves and their families. As Roslyn said, “the computer and internet are helping us to stay here on our country and make a future for ourselves.”
The second indicator is the amount of teaching/training going on informally within the communities, with the program spilling over into the school program in one community, and with the Indigenous champions from the other two communities communicating regularly with each other to get training and software set up in their homelands.
This is a particularly sustainable model as it is fully supported by community members providing maximum reach into the community. This model has emerged and is effective because it follows the community’s own patterns of relationships and governance.
Achievements in extending the range of work to other communities.
Since the project began there has been considerable interest from other organizations and homelands. Shepherdson College is currently writing a submission for satellite connections to be installed in a further five homelands. The Marthakal Homeland Resource Centre is working with us preparing applications for funding for the installation of stand-alone internet routers in the larger and more permanent homeland centres. Our researchers are collaborating with Telstra and other organizations like the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), to develop a best-practice model. (See further notes above under ‘Building relationships’).
There was considerable discussion at the Indigenous Champions workshop in Cairns about what it means to be a ‘Champion’. The Homeland champions understood their role in the research, but wondered about the term ‘champion’. I would have personally used another term to describe the role as I don’t feel it’s necessary to state that it is an Indigenous position. Plus I don’t feel like a champion.
As a CDU employee the role of an Indigenous Champion means maintaining and nurturing existing relationships with the local Indigenous Community plus fostering good collaborative working relationships with the Project Team, Indigenous Champions and their Communities, the Project Partners, the Indigenous Engagement team, and the Widebay TAFE facilitators.
My relationship with the Project Team and Indigenous Champions has been very important as it is through them that I communicate to the communities of Donydji, Gawa and Mapuru. There has been a lot sharing of knowledge, skills and personal information and good regard and respect for each other.