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Page Background

Key stages in the Jawun story

Early years, 2001–2005

When Jawun began in 2001 its efforts were focused

solely in Cape York. Although the region was in

crisis, Jawun had identified strong local Indigenous

leadership and communities hungry for change. With

Jawun invited into the community as the facilitator,

corporate and philanthropic partners began working

with local Indigenous organisations and leaders who

identified the need to build Cape York enterprises.

While there were early signs of the success of the

Jawun partnership model—including increases in

the number of Indigenous partner organisations

and the creation of new Indigenous businesses in

the Cape—Jawun remained committed to learning

and developing as an organisation. Significant

lessons in the early years included:

• the importance of

long-term commitment


action of key leaders from each partner group

• the benefit of secondees working locally or

‘on the ground’

with Indigenous partners

• the

key role of social issues

in building

a real economy

• the necessity of

supporting strong,

sustainable Indigenous institutions

grounded in Indigenous culture for

development success.

In 2004 a review was commissioned by the Jawun

Board to explore how the Jawun model might

operate beyond Cape York. The review, conducted

by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), found

that there was a growing demand for Jawun-style

partnerships in other locations across Australia

and recommended that Jawun expand to a

second site.

Expansion, 2006–2009

With the fundamentals of the partnership model in

place, Jawun’s next phase was to expand to regions

beyond Cape York. The rationale for expansion

was fourfold:

1. It supported Jawun’s original vision

as a

national entity

working with

Indigenous people.

2. It answered the

growing demand


Jawun-style partnerships in Indigenous

regions across the country.

3. It allowed for

best practice exchanges

between Indigenous regions.

4. It tested the Jawun model for


and adaptability


At the invitation of the Indigenous community,

Jawun began work in the Goulburn Murray region

of Victoria in 2006. The region was selected on

the basis that it fulfilled the following strict criteria:

• strong local leadership

• effective, well-governed organisations

• appetite for change and reform

• openness to new ideas

• willingness to connect and learn.

The expansion of Jawun to a second site was

critical in testing and proving the viability of the

model and its value outside of Cape York. As Jawun

Patron Noel Pearson explained: ‘[The model works]

when it is geographically focused on a place where

there is Indigenous leadership and there is an

agenda, because you need continuity and you need

people to drive a direction over a sustained period.’

Indigenous partners

determine development

priorities and work with Jawun

to identify areas for

secondee support

Philanthropic partners

provide financial support

to facilitate Jawun’s work

and expand its reach

Government partners

supply secondees to

assist Indigenous

organisations achieve

their development goals

Corporate partners

supply secondees to

assist Indigenous

organisations achieve

their development goals


works with corporate,

government and

philanthropic partners to

offer skills and resources

to Indigenous organisations

and communities