ARDS was engaged by Power and Water to train Yolŋu Energy Efficiency Workers to more effectively discuss power and water delivery and usage with their communities.
The aim of the Dharray Manymakkum Pawaw Ga Gapuw project was to inform Yolŋu (Yolngu) in six major communities in Arnhem Land about effective usage of power and water services. Yolŋu Energy Efficiency Workers were employed through the project to discuss this information with the broader community. ARDS was engaged by Power and Water in recognition that community residents found it challenging to understand the complex mainstream service context of power and water delivery, and that Yolŋu workers found it challenging to know how best to discuss the information with them.
The ARDS team on the "Manymak Energy Efficiency Project"
Throughout 2015, our expert cross-cultural facilitators trained more than 60 Yolŋu employees in order to build their capacity to communicate the project's messages. This training included developing, in partnership with Power and Water and Yolŋu employees, a culturally meaningful way of speaking about power and water. An in-depth, cross-cultural story was developed in local languages that Yolŋu staff could then utilise when working in their communities. The training also up-skilled the Yolŋu employees in good-practice approaches to community outreach as well as developing a practical understanding of the paperwork and reporting requirements of their role.
ARDS also acted as key intermediaries between Power and Water, Yolŋu employees and their employers (local shire councils) and provided translation and cultural advisory support for the community engagement and communication strategy of the project.
As Project Director for the Manymak Energy Efficiency Project, it is clear to me that ARDS’ involvement significantly improved the engagement, capability and ongoing employability of the more than 60 Yolŋu employees involved. I would also like to highlight the success of the employment model employed by the project, where teams of local Aboriginal people were employed on a casual basis and trained by ARDS. The outcomes achieved with ARDS’ involvement proved that this employment model can be very successful, provided there is culturally appropriate support in the employees’ first language.Sam Latz, Project Director Dharray Manymakkum Pawaw Ga Gapuw