Partnerships for Indigenous development: International development NGOs, Aboriginal organisations and communities

13 Sep 2010

This paper outlines two pilot case studies which examine how international development non-government organisations (INGOs) conduct their work with Aboriginal organisations and communities in Australia.

Janet Hunt explores how INGOs working with Indigenous communities and community organisations reflected the community development (or bottom-up) approaches which both the Indigenous sector and the INGO sector favour. This is in contrast to the service-delivery (or top-down) approach more common in government-funded programs.

The paper also investigates the 'partnerships' operating between INGOs and Indigenous organisations or programs. 'Partnership' has become a word used to mean almost any type of relationship between organisations, so the paper explores what 'partnership' meant in these cases.

The first part of the paper sets out the rationale for the study, examines the available literature, and outlines the approach taken in developing the research. The two case studies follow. Each describes the two organisations and their programs relevant to the partnership researched. It then examines some of the features of these partnerships and the program approaches taken, and draws some conclusions about what have been important factors in their success. The study also highlights some of the challenges these case study partnerships face. A brief conclusion reflects on some of the issues these case studies raise for Indigenous development in Australia more broadly.

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