The Jawun Model

Infographic tour of Jawun’s impact (2017).

Indigenous Australians have the right to vote and access to universal healthcare, education and welfare. Yet average life expectancy for Indigenous Australians is well below non-Indigenous Australians, and in some Indigenous communities unemployment is as high as 80 per cent. As Jawun Patron Noel Pearson has stressed, the solution is not simply providing Indigenous people with more freedom or more choices.

To achieve progress, a different approach was required, a partnership model which emphasised working with Indigenous people, rather than simply providing services to them. This was especially critical given that the majority of previous reform efforts had been unsuccessful in achieving sustained improvements for Indigenous communities.

In an effort to move away from a passive welfare economy and to effect real change in our communities, we didn’t want money … We wanted skills and expertise, and we wanted to have the opportunity to develop our skills and enhance our capabilities in order to take ownership of our future. We were in search of people with skills and expertise that could assist us in pursuing our reform agenda … It is from this notion that Jawun was born.

Noel Pearson, Founder and Director of Strategy, Cape York Partnership; Chairman, Good to Great Schools Australia; Jawun Patron.

Jawun increases the capacity of Indigenous leaders, organisations and communities to achieve their own development goals. This in turn leads to lasting, material and measurable improvement in the lives of Indigenous people in those communities.

This year, Jawun will place around 400 secondees from Australia’s leading companies and government agencies into Indigenous organisations in ten regions across Australia. These secondees use their skill and expertise to support the Indigenous organisations in achieving their aims. Their combined efforts equate to an annual in-kind contribution of approximately $14 million.

The four components of the Jawun model

The Jawun model consists of four key components. These components not only make Jawun effective in achieving progress for Indigenous communities, they also make it unique when compared to other development organisations around the world.

  1. An emphasis on Indigenous-led organisations and initiatives
  2. A local or ‘place-based’ focus
  3. Partnerships across different sectors
  4. Programs which utilise the unique skills of our partners

The Secondment Program

A number of steps are involved in placing skilled secondees into Indigenous organisations:

  1. Projects for support are identified: Indigenous organisations outline their priorities
  2. Skills required are identified: Jawun helps the Indigenous organisations think through the corporate or government secondees required
  3. Secondees are matched with projects: Jawun works with corporate and government partners to identify suitable secondees
  4. Induction and support: Jawun manages the secondee’s induction into the region and provides ongoing support during their secondment (typically six weeks)

[Jawun has] a decisive role in our work in Cape York. [It] gave us people from the private sector who have helped us to see beyond the welfare horizons that used to dominate Indigenous affairs when our sole source of input was government. The combination of key organisations, their sustained commitment over a long period of time, the commitment of their most valuable resource – their people – makes [Jawun] a new model for corporate–community partnerships aimed at tackling disadvantage.

Noel Pearson (2000), Founder and Director of Strategy, Cape York Partnership; Chairman, Good to Great Schools Australia; Jawun Patron.