By November 8, 2016MEDIA, VOLUNTEERING
MAARNI MENTORING PROGRAM - indigenous rights

The Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation is proud to support Woor-Dungin’s mentoring program “Maarni”. Maarni is Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal women’s employment, leadership and capacity-building program.

Woor-Dungin is a coalition of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, philanthropic foundations and donors, and pro bono service providers working in partnership to enable Aboriginal organisations to access the resources and support they require to achieve self-determination.

The Maarni program was developed specifically for Aboriginal women identified by Woor-Dungin’s partner organisations as leaders.

The program aims to develop the leadership, employment and governance skills of participating Aboriginal women. The program addresses the lack of suitable training and employment programs for Aboriginal women in Victoria.

The key objectives of the program are:

  • To provide work experience and training which leads to the employment of Aboriginal women in their local Aboriginal organisation and the wider community.
  • To provide capacity building and mentoring which increases the knowledge and skills of Aboriginal women to source the resources needed to enable Aboriginal organisations to realise the goals identified in their strategic plans.
  • To provide capacity building, internships and mentoring which increases the skills and confidence of Aboriginal women to join the Management Committee or Board of their local Aboriginal organisation and/or participate in wider public/community committees.
  • To provide support and mentoring to enable Aboriginal women to identify their personal goals, develop individual work plans and then access the resources, expertise and practical support needed to realise their goals.

This year, eight Aboriginal women participated from four of Woor-Dungin’s partner organisations – Willum Warrain, Winda Mara, Mallee District Aboriginal Service and Healesville Indigenous Community Service Association.

It was considered that an important part of the participants’ development was the opportunity for ongoing mentoring from a diverse group of women with a vast range of experience and backgrounds.

Cheryl Asquith, Human Resources Consultant at Colin Biggers & Paisley’s Melbourne office, volunteered this year as a mentor. As part of the program, Cheryl hosted an introductory session to meet participants, attended a cultural awareness session and developed a mentoring plan with tangible outcomes for the participants.

Over the past year, Cheryl mentored two of the Maarni participants, supporting them in their development of HR practices and to gain experience in the tasks involved in administration. She also provided work experience opportunities and many hours of advice.

Christa Momot, Executive Officer of Woor-Dungin, said, “Like lots of small NFPs, income generation is always in the back of our minds as it is vital to supporting our planning and growth. We have lots of calls on our programs but not always the funds or staff to respond. We are fortunate to have some amazing pro bono corporate partners, donors and volunteers who provide fantastic support. Through their work, they really ‘walk the talk’ and are a great example of how to show support for reconciliation in a practical way.”

The Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation has partnered with Woor-Dungin for the past two years providing pro bono legal services, volunteering and in-kind support. Along with the Maarni program, Paul Rankin, Finance Team Leader, has provided valuable finance mentoring to staff and the Treasurer. Paul Cowan, Office Services Manager, has sourced furniture for the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Healesville Indigenous Community Service Association.

For more information about Woor-Dungin, visit the website:

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