Healthy Communities Project

The Healthy Communities project is a 6-month learning project with a strengths-based approach, focused on the benefits of Culture and Kinship.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) are provided with flexible funding to run upstream wellbeing initiatives focused on building community and strengthening Culture and Kinship. It is anticipated that focusing upstream on Culture, Kinship and wellbeing, will have downstream benefits for health including improved healthy behaviours (e.g. healthy eating, exercise, smoking cessation etc) and increased engagement with ACCOs and the health system (for checks, screenings etc.). ACCOs have designed their own initiatives under this pilot and include things such as youth camps, wellbeing programs, community skills and kinship workshops.

We have Victorian ACCOs reporting on programs that move beyond health promotion education to provide a holistic approach to chronic disease management and influencing healthy lifestyle changes. By focussing on Culture and Kinship in the first instance we believe conditions can be created to help someone feel connected, and give them a sense of meaning and purpose, belonging, identity, respect, and stronger relationships and the flow on effect of improved personal wellbeing will see more Community engaging in health-seeking behaviour.

The monitoring of this learning phase aims to demonstrate the value of ACCOs wider and holistic programs including those that focus on Culture and Kinship, which are generally underfunded. Collecting evidence of this will support ACCOs to secure funding from government for these initiatives.

The monitoring activities include:

  • Participant self-assessments which are an adaption of the ‘Good Spirit, Good-Life’ tool. They are short questionnaires focused on the individual’s sense of wellbeing and connection to Country, Community and Culture. The questions can be delivered and answered in any form (facilitator led, individually, group)
  • Impact Yarns will be done with ACCO staff (not project participants) after the pilot initiatives. Impact Yarns are a method developed by Blak Impact and are a cultural adaptation of the Most Significant Change methodology. They will allow ACCO staff to identify the outcomes/changes that they felt were significant in the pilot in their own words (orally or written or through pictures etc).

Based on both the self-assessments and the Impact Yarns, VACCHO will develop a learnings paper from this initiative and will further develop the program theory of change (TOC).

A more comprehensive program evaluation will be completed of the Healthy Communities Program once it has progressed from the learning phase – looking at upstream benefits of the program (wellbeing, Culture, Community) as well as downstream health benefits.

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