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Indigenous youth empowerment

21 October 2020, Impact of Our Work, Voices from the Field, Action for Change

Building up young people to be the voice of their communities

The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. It’s something WAAPI’s Community Navigators believe fervently and passionately. And they’re taking action to make sure the youth in the Dampier Peninsula are aware of it too. 

Rosana, Janella and Josh are Community Navigators of WAAPI (the Woombooriny Amboon Angarriiya Partnership Initiative). They’re of the community and for the community. They’re at the forefront; leading communities to collaborate, mobilise and have a real say in the creating of a shared vision and strategy for working and moving forward together. This includes co-designing culturally appropriate projects and programs with local services that target community priorities.
 



Community Navigator Rosana Smith with WAAPI youth volunteer Shailyn Isaac painting the WAAPI Banner at the WAAPI youth camp.
Photo: WAAPI

One of those activities is the inaugural Youth Empowerment Camp, which has brought together more than 60 youth from across the region. Josh says it’s about both connecting and learning. 
 
“We’re here to empower young and up and coming leaders within our communities. To engage them in culture and the history of our communities. But a lot of the communities are working in silos, you could say, and bringing youth together breaks that in a way where they can connect and then share that with the communities they go back to.”

Josh

There are activities ranging from cultural cook-offs to learning more about healthy eating and creating a hip-hop video to promote healthy skin and prevention of skin sores. There’s also a marine tour at a pearl farm and learning from elders about country. Janella says she’s keen for the children to end the week with enthusiasm for the future. “We want to build their capacity to be leaders so they can speak up for what they want. We need more young voices in the community speaking up for activities programs and activities that matter to them, like sports or more camps.”
 

Getting the youth involved in sports and games at the inaugural WAAPI Youth Empowerment camp.
Photo: WAAPI

 

Education is also an important part of the camp, with talks from a range of organisations focusing on bullying, cyber safety, driver safety and being work ready for the future. 

Save The Children has played an important role in building the capacity of the Community Navigators by providing coaching, mentoring and technical expertise to enable local leadership and develop a strong, coordinated community voice for effective Indigenous-led, family focused social planning. 

“Enabling local leadership on the Dampier Peninsula is empowering communities to co-design and drive culturally informed, sustainable solutions for improving children and young peoples’ outcomes.”

Senior Project Officer, Dr Jess Bunning

By growing their connection and learning, Rosana, Josh and Janelle hope strengthen happy and thriving Dampier Peninsula communities where Indigenous babies, children and youth are strong, proud, smart, healthy and connected in their family community and culture with guidance from their elders.

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood