The Uti Kulintjaku Watiku (Men’s) Project is an innovative, Anangu-led initiative to develop community capacity and resilience and prevent family violence.
In 2016 the Uti Kulintjaku women’s team invited a group of Anangu male leaders to work with them to establish the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project with a focus on family violence prevention.
The Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project brings together a team of respected senior and younger Anangu men and non-Aboriginal health professionals to learn from each other and identify ways to strengthen Anangu identity and increase Anangu wellbeing to prevent family violence.
This is done by drawing on the best of Anangu and Western knowledge. Between late 2016 and mid 2019 there have been 11 Project workshops. A developmental evaluation approach, has been built into the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project from the beginning. The report presents findings from the evaluation.
- The Uti Kulintjaku workshops create a safe and effective place for people to think deeply, learn and share ideas. These Alice Springs-based workshops enable the men to come together to focus on issues important to their families and communities without the distractions and need to respond to crises that are commonly part of their daily lives in communities.
- Storytelling is a key mechanism for teaching and learning and the Anangu men and mental health professionals have shared personal stories to illustrate experiences and ideas to support Anangu healing and wellbeing. Visual representations and drawing have also been important in this storytelling and sharing of new concepts. Learning through story has been effective.
- Several Anangu team members have shared personal stories of how their learning and healing through the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project has positively affected their relationships with younger generation family members. For some, learning about trauma and healing from trauma, as well as learning from the other Anangu men, has increased their ability to engage with greater empathy and more compassionately with young people to strengthen relationships.
- Many of the Anangu team members see the relationships with their grandsons as the key to supporting increased wellbeing and better lives for young people who, as a result, have a strong identity and family and cultural connections. Intergenerational camps have been a key mechanism for the men to apply their learnings, pass on cultural knowledge and strengthen relationships with their grandsons.
- The Uti Kulintjaku Iwara or way of working was developed through the Uti Kulintjaku women’s Project. The Uti Kulintjaku Watiku team has effectively adopted this Iwara and adapted it to support its work. The Iwara offers an innovative, safe and supportive way to learn, share ideas and take action in a complex, culturally diverse context.
The Uti Kulintjaku Watiku Project clearly demonstrates an initiative that aligns with current national priorities and principles for family violence prevention practice in Indigenous communities. The Project is taking a long view with regard to family violence prevention; it is not an intervention, it is an Anangu-led community capacity development and resilience strengthening initiative that is aimed at sustainable, transformative change.