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The Consultations and Collaborations Behind the West Leads the Way Project

Building on what we shared last week reflecting on our project 'Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Lead the Way' in partnership with Network West, I wanted to expand on some of the voices and collaborations that were integral to its success.

Throughout the project, we worked with a number of our closest collaborators in particular, Terori Hareko-Avaivilla of Avaivilla Group, Pirooz Jafari of Track C Consulting, and Michelle Dunscombe and Dee Brooks (she/her) of Jeder Institute, in an effort to shape our program and cultivate a truly inclusive and holistic approach to community leadership that both reflects, speaks to and informs its diverse members.

We believe that collaboration and inclusivity are vital in understanding the diverse needs and aspirations of our community in the West. This is why we prioritised the work of Terori Hareko-Avaivilla of Avaivilla Group, to ensure that our understanding of active citizenship is informed by First Nations ways of knowing and being. Their deep-rooted connection to the land, culture, and traditional wisdom has profoundly

influenced our project's direction and we recognise the importance of allyship in the community leadership space. We acknowledge the Bunurong and Wurundjeri peoples and their organisations who supported our program and shared their cultural wisdom and welcomed us to their country. In particular, our Elder in Residence, Auntie Diane Kerr OAM who yarned with us about culture and involving our children in this learning.

By incorporating these diverse perspectives and fostering a sense of inclusivity, we have witnessed a fulsome and holistic learning experience that has captivated the attention of many. It's warming but unsurprising how seeking to expand our practice in these ways has resonated with people, especially drawing them towards exploring and understanding the richness of First Nations cultures and traditions in Australia and our responsibility as a community to do the learning so we can be better allies.

Our outreach efforts have been successful in reaching an astounding 169 community members, and it has reinforced our belief that when we embrace different perspectives, work where people are at, we not only foster a more vibrant and interconnected community but also open doors to limitless possibilities and growth.

Hot House Projects and Network West are incredibly grateful to Terori Hareko-Avaivilla, Pirooz Jafari, Dee Brooks and Michelle Dunscombe for their invaluable guidance and collaboration throughout this journey. Let's continue to learn from each other, celebrate diversity, and build stronger communities through shared wisdom.

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