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A key part of our work is collaborating with local communities to help conserve the environment and give benefits to people at the same time. One of our most successful examples of this type of work is Healthy Country Planning. It is an adaptation of our Conservation Action Planning methodology to make it more relevant and appropriate for working with indigenous communities such as by including Indigenous social and cultural values, and the use of language, tools and facilitation processes tailored to their needs.
Much our work in the Australian Outback involves supporting Indigenous people plan for the management of their country and in some cases, to apply for their land to become an Indigenous Protected Area. Healthy Country Planning has proven to be a highly successful tool for this purpose.
Healthy Country Planning leads groups through a series of five steps:
Generally, the process for creating a Healthy Country Plan is undertaken through a series of workshops where interested groups, including an area’s traditional owners, gather to learn about how they can create a plan to look after the land and keep it healthy. The workshops are practical sessions, helping participants to work through each of the steps above facilitated by an expert coach. The tools and outcomes of the workshops are then taken back to their communities, to help to guide the process of writing a Healthy Country Plan.
Our focus has been to provide training and support to groups in applying the Healthy Country Planning approach, as well as directly building the capacity and skills of individuals within the community as coaches so that they can continue to support the implementation and adaptation of plans over time.
To date, we have trained 26 Indigenous groups in the Healthy Country Planning methodology across northern Australia alone. We’ve also trained 32 Healthy Country Planning coaches.
We’re really proud that Healthy Country Planning has been embraced by Indigenous groups and conservationists, as well as the Australian Government. It has become an important tool to help conservation across central and northern Australia, and is becoming more and more popular across the country.
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