Reflections on the Rise Up approach – Deb Cooper

Feedback from Deb Cooper, Regional Coordinator RJCP Women’s Centre

Over the past two years, Tanyah Nasir has been delivering this program on Bathurst Island. It has been an overall success due to the nature of the culturally sensitive delivery process.

  • Participants were Tiwi only, to encourage and enable each person to develop confidence and trust
  • Facilitators listened to their stories, acknowledging the strong family ties and recognising that a facilitator, Tanyah was a relative to a particular Tiwi family
  • Acknowledges in differences in culture on Tiwi, as opposed to the mainland
  • Encouraged to speak up for what they see as best strategies that will work for all generations. E.g. have representation of all different groups. Elders, men only, women only, youth, skin groups etc
  • Most potently, the presenters of this governance course learnt how the traditional Skin Groups advise the community, re law, social problems and counselling regarding family and community. This ancient system is intricate and fundamental to Tiwi Culture
  • An increase of Capacity Building over the 2 years of progressive presentations of the workshops that were developed to assess how Indigenous people (Tiwi in this instance) see Governance and what it means to them regarding family and community. Also to address how does Governance relate to modern Tiwi society in amongst stakeholders, service providers, council, law, and mainstream.
  • Capacity building… Public speaking, speaking up, motivation, support within the group, ownership of ideas. Post course I found that the RJCP women’s group to be more motivated regarding the future. Attendance improved and we found more of the women entering the workplace.
  • Everyone enjoyed the workshops and always looked forward to the next sessions. They embraced their time together and the Governance course engaged all groups, ages, all genders. A testimony to the success of the process can be seen in the videos of the women sharing songs, dance and music.

I am not sure how it all works because I did not attend; however, I did get invite to experience a couple of Tiwi songs with the group after an intensive session. This was phenomenal as the women had literally transformed into confident, radiant, happy, uplifted souls. I guess that by that time of day. All the work was complete and it was a special time if expression and sharing. If I can put it into words it would be… “That which we seek we already have within ourselves. It’s simply there awaiting an awakening, a self-realisation, an epiphany.” So indeed they did Rise Up to find an essence deep within themselves that day and I feel that this is something so strong that it will help in the future. I just hope there will be more opportunities to bring this course back to Tiwi for others to experience, plus to act as a reminder that living by our core values, culture and beliefs, enhances our lives. The outstanding outcome is that the governance course was so different to tother structured service provider, stakeholder, government, or even educational processes.