Indigenous land management programs are increasingly understood as mediums through which exemplary benefits can be derived in relation to improvements in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people, their country (environment) and culture (as discussed in Wiseman and Bardsley 2016, Social Ventures Australia 2014). In addition to these elements, many are now realising the economic benefits that this provides to small, often remote communities in Australia, through the provision of employment and training initiatives, as well as social and community benefits to many. While environmental benefits can often be clearly articulated and quantified, doing so in relation to socio-economic and cultural benefits is more difficult. The socio-economic and cultural arena is a composite of numerous interrelated factors and these interrelationships are often poorly understood, making the articulation and quantification of these benefits challenging.
The Kimberley Land Council, which supports more than 14 Indigenous land management programs in the remote north of Western Australia, recognised this gap in a monitoring and evaluation framework and have been working with a variety of stakeholders to improve recording methods, as well as the resulting analysis and articulation of this. Working alongside Nulungu Research Institute at The University of Notre Dame Australia in Broome, a project was developed entitled, Interpreting Social, Community and Governance Benefits of Indigenous Caring for Country Programs: Monitoring and Evaluation Pilot Project.
The research project comprises two stages to ensure a framework is developed that will empower Indigenous rangers to collect, collate and analyse the required data. The first stage involves a comprehensive literature review that looks at both national and international academic literature, as well as government reports and the like, to identify monitoring and evaluation frameworks that may have been instigated successfully elsewhere, or as importantly, unsuccessfully.
The second stage implemented the proposed framework within a number of case studies with ranger teams. Working initially with Healthy Country Managers to identify potential improvements to the method prior to working with cultural advisors of the individual ranger groups, the method was trialled, evaluated and improved prior to its overarching implementation across the region expected early in 2017. The following poster presents these findings.