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Wednesday, September 18 • 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Participatory Action Research - An approach for evaluators to discover and celebrate community strengths

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Sharon Babyack (Indigenous Community Volunteers), Belinda Gibb (Indigenous Community Volunteers)

Building from community strengths, recognising and celebrating culture, community ownership and collaborative design and delivery is paramount for programming and evaluation in this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation. Sharing benefits and reciprocal respect is important for any evaluator seeking to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Participatory Action Research (PAR) provides a valuable option for embedding monitoring and evaluation into practical activities requested by communities.

In 2018 the organisation designed and launched a two year PAR project. It took this approach to maximise the benefits of the research for the fourteen communities who agreed to participate. The project tests the organisation's Story of Change - a theory that cements the patterns of the steps many communities have taken towards holistic wellbeing. Improving governance has proven to be a key step to achieving longer term community aspirations.

The PAR project asks, 'How does the organisation's approach strengthen understanding and implementation of governance to empower communities to achieve their dream?' The approach is flexible and multi-disciplinary and includes observation, co-design and delivery of activities, participatory monitoring and evaluation, co-authoring case studies with each community; and semi-structured interviews using a purpose built participatory tool. The organisation has received ethical approval from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) for the project.

Participatory Action Research is a useful form of inquiry as it is close to the ground, values the contribution of those with the lived experience and facilitates shared learning. As a flexible, multi-disciplinary approach PAR can also accommodate the co-design and delivery of the activities.

Importantly, feedback loops are built into this dynamic and cyclical approach to evaluation. This accommodates shared learning and the immediate adaptation of activities and solutions for improved outcomes. It mobilises evidence. This makes it meaningful for the people involved.

avatar for Mia Bromley

Mia Bromley

Manager, Paxton Partners
I am an experienced health and social service sector consultant and non-executive director with expertise across health, education and justice systems. I have a strong focus on emerging funding models, system redesign, and outcomes measurement. I enjoy partnerships and collaborations... Read More →

avatar for Sharon Babyack

Sharon Babyack

General Manager Impact & Strategy, ICV - Indigenous Community Volunteers
While at ICV, I've delivered the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Review project, co-designed the M&E database and framework and developed and run the consultation and M&E training processes with our regional teams.I'm currently co-leading our team as we undertake participatory... Read More →
avatar for Belinda Gibb

Belinda Gibb

Belinda is a proud Dharug woman, the traditional owner group from Western Sydney Australia. She has over 20 years’ experience in education, policy and program delivery, in both government and the not for profit sector, including a senior manager role at the Healing Foundation, and... Read More →
avatar for Doyen Radcliffe

Doyen Radcliffe

Regional Manager, Indigenous Community Volunteers
Doyen Radcliffe is a Yamatji Naaguja Wajarri man from the Midwest Region of Western Australia. Doyen  is a community minded individual with a passion for empowering  Indigenous communities to reach their real potential to improve  quality of life, health, social and economic wellbeing... Read More →

Wednesday September 18, 2019 1:30pm - 2:15pm AEST