LV has been matching skilled volunteers with need at Woor-Dungin since 2010
Woor-Dungin means ‘share’ in the language of the Gunnai people of south eastern Victoria and perfectly encapsulates the purpose of this NFP organisation.
Jan Mahoney has been volunteering there since January and finds great joy in being able to share the skills gained throughout her career. “I wanted to get involved with supporting indigenous communities to be sustainable and the opportunity that LV has given me is perfect. I have the time, the passion and the skills to share,” adds Jan.
It all started when Jan returned to Victoria after a stint in Cape York working with aboriginal women. Sunita Varlamos, Manager Social Impact at LV, suggested the Woor Dungin project and after a meeting with Christa Momot, Chairperson it became clear that they had similar views and objectives.
Woor-Dungin are a coalition consisting of Aboriginal organisations, philanthropy, pro bono providers and stakeholders working in partnership to enable Aboriginal organisations to achieve self-determination and access the resources and support needed to address issues affecting their communities; in particular, physical and sexual abuse, self-harm, suicide and drug and alcohol abuse. Woor-Dungin does this by increasing the capacity of Victoria’s Indigenous organisations, promoting best practice in Indigenous philanthropy and linking Indigenous organisations with the philanthropic sector.
Woor-Dungin was founded in 2009 by Christa and six aboriginal women and has supported four organisations through a pilot program. The objective is to provide guidance to these organisations for the direct relief of poverty, distress and other disadvantages suffered by Aboriginal persons. The main principle is that these Aboriginal organisations will determine their own future, rather than other people deciding what is best for them.
“The support received from Woor-Dungin differs for each organisation but everything is owned by the community and we walk alongside them adding skills when needed but totally driven by them and what they want,” comments Jan.
Christa maintains that one of the key issues for Aboriginal organisations is to be able to access consistent funding. “The government provide some funding but this is usually for a set time period, geographical area or issue such as health and so it makes it hard for long-term planning and delivery of services. By guiding them through the maze of philanthropy and writing funding applications we can assist them to plan for bigger and more holistic solutions.”
WD will work to empower the Aboriginal organisations we partner with. We will not “do things for organisations” such as write their grant applications. Instead, we will provide training, assist with project development, give feedback and advice, provide information on sourcing funding, facilitate introductions to funders, help with acquitting, documenting impact and provide ongoing support.
LV has been supporting Woor Dungin since 2010. At that time, 10 volunteers participated in a Indegenous Cultural Training. Without the support of the skilled volunteers Woor-Dungin would not be able to provide the transformational services that it does. Jan volunteers for up to two days a week and Christa, also a volunteer, three. “We have a number of other people who have been matched by LV come in and provide expertise such Mike Dawson-Smith and Mary Waterhouse, to name a few. These volunteers not only work for us but also are placed with the Aboriginal organisations to help them with specific needs,” says Christa.
2013 brings a new era to Woor-Dungin as they have just been given charitable status and with the success of the pilot projects will be searching for new Aboriginal community organisations to partner with. The selection process is being finalised now but with three of the original founding members still on the committee there will be a lot of input from those that are most affected by the results. Advertising will begin in July with each successful organisation receiving three years support from this team of exceptional volunteers.