Our partnership with Ninti One (www.nintione.com.au) is never short of complex and challenging work. Recent discussions have centred on the design and planning of programs. Frameworks for measuring impact, governance training and achieving an effective model for supporting the rollout of programs across a geographically expanded area of remote Australia have been central to the current period of work. It has been interesting to reflect on what makes for an effective program. Drawing on other programs managed by Ninti One and Community Works, six key ingredients come to mind:
- Productive relationships, especially through investing in building trust and rapport with community organisations
- A program model that everyone understands, meaning that priorities, ways of working, roles and responsibilities fit together in a manner that might not be perfect but is workable.
- A strategy that navigates whatever complexities exist around policy, practice, local expectations and needs to achieve the desired results on a cost-effective way.
- Clear-sighted communication with stakeholders, meaning the range of people with an interest in or affected by the program. It involves making sure people and organisations are kept informed, consulted with and participate in a way that is appropriate to the program.
- A shared understanding of what success looks like, which is critical in situations where problems may be many and program participants consistently feel they are not achieving what they want.
- Leadership, especially where decisions need to be made with clarity and confidence.
Yes, it may be true that financial management, accountability and other factors are not included above, but my focus here is on the human aspects of programs, which have to be central to programs and projects with a social focus. Work continues and we look forward to contributing to the determined, long-term economic and social development efforts of Ninti One and many people and organisations in remote Australia.
Ninti One’s Aboriginal Community Researcher network plays a central role in its programs