WORK to help Aboriginal men to step back up into their culturally appropriate place in their families and communities will begin within weeks as part of a new regional Aboriginal men’s alliance.
Gomeroi Education & Training director Shaun Allan secured $41,000 at Tamworth’s recent Pitch Night for the program.
He said Aboriginal men’s groups had “been around for quite some time”, but the gap the newly established organisation was trying to fill was about purpose, connection and self-determination.
“From an Aboriginal perspective, men traditionally had a really strong role to play, along with women, in nurturing the community and kids,” Mr Allan said.
“Crime, drugs and alcohol have contributed to a bit of a men’s taking a step back from those roles; this is about stepping back up into those roles into our cultural framework ...
“The big thing we want to achieve is being more connected to our own families and own communities, when you look at it from an aspirational point of view.
“We also want to see a reduction in some of those Close the Gap figures that are very prevalent within Aboriginal communities, whether that’s from a health perspective an educational perspective – we want to try to have an impact on all of those areas.”
Mr Allan said the program would work with established or new local Aboriginal men’s group to help them define the issues facing their own community, as well as their purpose and goals.
The second step would be to develop an action plan on the activities or issues the men want to tackle.
The third phase would be to seek partnerships with other people and groups already working on these issues or activities, or the men establishing the groundwork and leadership themselves.
Local groups would be networked into the regional alliance.
“It will take us a bit of time to work our way around the region, but some groups have been in existence for some time so already have a pretty good idea of what they want to do,” Mr Allan said
“The top two or three consistent issues that come through will form the basis of what the regional men’s alliance will focus on at a regional level.”
Mr Allan said some possible activities could be organising NAIDOC Week activities, or partnering with an organisation such as Tamworth Family Support Services, Centacare or Healthwise on a particular program.
He said Pitch Night had been “a very positive experience”.
“It puts you out of your comfort zone, for sure, but they’re the things you learn from …
“It was also a good opportunity to mix with the other two organisations, too, because there’s obviously a lot of synergy between us.”