Our change-makers collage of 2022

A few of our favourite partners and friends share their reflections, success, and lessons from a year that has been equal parts challenging and hopeful.

Dusseldorp Forum

Most inspiring moment We were privileged to spend two days with Dr Mary Graham whose knowledge of First Nations governance and philosophy guided us as we revisioned our strategy for the next five years. Pictured above.

Best resource Passing the Message Stick equips advocates and campaigners as they build new narratives about First Nations strengths and solutions.

Highlight Our digital storytelling campfires are building a network of storytellers across social change initiatives so that communities can better tell and share their own stories of change.

Lowlight We’ve seen how floods and extreme weather caused by climate change has devastated communities in 2022. Next year we launch a five-year strategy that includes new climate action partners. Stay tuned!


Highlight Government endorsement and adoption of the Maranguka Principles – ensuring community protocols and practices are at the forefront of all services operating in the Bourke community.

Lowlight Flood waters caused havoc in Bourke in late 2022 but that didn’t stop kids from going to school. They just invented new ways to get there.

Most useful resource Our coordinated School Holiday Program was an essential resource for families in Bourke in 2022 actively engaging young people and growing their positive connections.

Most inspiring moment The success of the Cultural Dance Workshops and the performances of the Maranguka Dance Group – learning stories and sharing culture promoting unity and growth for young people and future generations to come. Pictured above.

Karrkad Kanjdji Trust

Highlight For the first time since before Covid, we came together on Country to share, listen and learn from one another. Sharing visions for the future we laid the foundations of our new five-year strategy. Pictured above.

Most inspiring moment Celebrating access to full time primary education for children at all three permanent outstations in the Warddeken IPA for the very first time. It was just the beginning. We’re now fundraising to create connected, bi-cultural education pathways on Country with Indigenous-owned high schools, early learning centres and ranger training!

Lowlight Climate change is continuing to impact communities in Arnhem Land. The wet season was short, leaving only a small window to carry out preventative burning before the wildfires began. Meanwhile temperatures have been rising, some natural springs have stopped flowing, and saltwater is harming freshwater places.

Most useful resource Bininj Kunwok dictionary. Most languages in Central and Western Arnhem Land are endangered – it is exceptional to have an accessible and evolving dictionary for the dialectal variations of the language.

Our Place

Highlight Our Place Forum where leaders from education, government and philanthropy came together to discuss collaborative solutions to improve education outcomes for children.

Lowlight Flooding that inundated the communities Our Place supports in Mooroopna, Robinvale and Seymour

Best resource Early Years Online Hub that connects Robinvale families with early childhood services and provides information and events all in one place.

Most inspiring moment The graduation ceremony for the 10 mums and 12 children from the Robinvale community who participated in Our Place’s Baby College program.

Hands Up Mallee

Highlight Seeing the collaborative work of our community to create equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine recognised at the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards. This not only had an enormous impact on a significant local outbreak, but grew relationships that reach well beyond this work and will continue to benefit our community.

Lowlight The difficulty of growing broad awareness of community-led collective impact ways of working. Understanding the balance of adapting ways of working to ensure they are grounded in place can be difficult in our “one-size-fits-all” society, but to create change that shifts systems requires long-term investment of energy and resources.

Best resource The new HUM Measurement, Evaluation and Learning Framework, built in partnership with our community and with the support and guidance of learning partners Clear Horizon.

Most inspiring moment Watching empowered community members make change as part of the HUM Collective in the Aboriginal Yarning Circle, Youth-led work and the HUM Red Cliffs Project.

Burnie Works

Highlight Launch of our Community Knowledge Collector Project with UTAS – creating local storytelling and data collection expertise and employment.

Lowlight Learning that community consultation has its limits when it doesn’t cater for storytelling.

Best resource Our newly received Visual Note Taking skills which we are using in various ways to capture community conversations.

Most inspiring moment Seeing participatory democracy at its best. Burnie families getting a real say in local elections.

CAGES Foundation

Highlight Awabakal Preschool, Jarjum Centre, Dalaigur Preschool, Mudgin-gal, Deadly Connections, Gainmara Birrilee Preschool, Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre and Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation – Aboriginal Controlled services are ensuring children and families thrive, connected to country and culture.

Lowlight Family Matters Report shows limited progress by governments in reducing First Nations children in out-of-home-care. Community led support, intervention and solutions achieve the best outcomes yet struggle for adequate investment.

Best resource Common Ground’s website is an excellent source of how to work respectfully with First Nations people and why.

Most inspiring moment International Funders for Indigenous People Pacific Retreat held on Awabakal country. A real demonstration of the importance of listening and learning, then walking together – pictured below.

Just Reinvest NSW

Highlight Moree Block Party and the Moree Youth Forum where for one of the first times young people in Moree were able to decide what they wanted to do in their community. Nearly 800 young people attended the two events.

Most useful resource The Redefining Reinvestment Report was the catalyst for Aboriginal communities to have a voice in deciding how resources are directed in their communities. And this is what it meant to them.

Most inspiring moment Our Reinvestment Forum brought communities together alongside government representatives and senior civil servants to discuss and agree on potential pathways for the implementation of reinvestment in NSW.

Collaboration for Impact – Liz

Highlight Experiencing the strength of community mobilisation, connectedness and cohesion in action during the Northern Rivers floods.  The best of human nature came to the fore and community cohesion has strengthened people’s capacity to adapt to the ongoing recovery and start to contemplate what’s needed for this new reality.  CFI appointing Anna Powell as CEO.

Lowlight Increased homelessness and ongoing trauma across communities with repair and recovery work ongoing. Inaction on climate crisis.

Most inspiring moments Shift in momentum with a new government and hope for a social change agenda.  First Nations voice and the need for shifts in power structures starting to move from the margins to mainstream dialogue and agendas.

Most useful resources  Julie Diamond. A Users Guide to PowerThe practice of Adaptive LeadershipWhite FragilityCancel this book.

Centre for Public Impact – Keira

Highlight This year we launched our Reimagining Government Community which we are super excited about. It’s our way of holding a space of support and learning for people who feel some affinity for our vision for better government, and who are committed to exploring and supporting the ideas within that vision in different ways. We can’t wait to see what happens with this next year!

Lowlight There have been lots of tough times: realising we have got things wrong and having to apologise and pivot, working too hard to get things done well and experiencing how hard it can be to unlearn and learn!

Most useful resource(s) We have loved getting to know the folx at Collective Change Labs and this report is one of our favourites: Storytelling as meaning making. We also loved reading this article by Melanie Goodchild on Relational Systems Thinking. She explores the space between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of thinking about systems, and how we can peacefully coexist.

Most inspiring moment This can be a bit tricky to talk about because the nature of what we do means that we ask people to be vulnerable enough to learn and change, and that means we don’t talk about the work in detail outside of those safe spaces. However, in a general sense, it’s been a total privilege and a pleasure to see some brave people try some of the ideas we share, and to see what happens when they do! Those penny-drop moments are utterly priceless!