This paper outlines the final case study in a research project which examines how international development non-government organisations conduct their work with Aboriginal organisations and communities in Australia.
The author was keen to explore how international non-government organisations (NGOs) working with Indigenous communities and community organisations reflected the community development (or bottom–up) approaches which both the Indigenous sector and the international NGO sector favour. This is in contrast to the service delivery (or top-down) approach more common in government funded programs. The author also wanted to investigate the ‘partnerships’ operating between international NGOs and Indigenous organisations or programs. ‘Partnership’ has become a word used to mean almost any type of relationship between organisations, so it was neccesary explore what ‘partnership’ meant in these cases.
An introduction to this research and two previous case studies were reported in CAEPR Working Paper No. 71, ‘Partnerships for Indigenous development: International development NGOs, Aboriginal organisations and communities’. The final case study describes an international NGO and Aboriginal organisations involved in a partnership. It examines some of the features of this partnership and the program, and draws some conclusions about what have been important factors in its achievements to date. The study also highlights some of the challenges this partnership faces and concludes with some questions about the extent to which an international NGO can influence the wider social and political environment which is affecting Aboriginal development in Central Australia.