Improving health and wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples

An emerging collaboration between Save the Children and the University of Melbourne on the operational build-up of First 1000 Days Australia is aiming to create transformational change with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and enable them to achieve their aspirations for health and wellbeing.

While international evidence on the life-long importance of the “first 1000 days” from conception through to a child’s second birthday already informs maternal and child health practices, the First 1000 Days Australia model is unique in including the pre-conception social context and incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and leadership at all levels.

This evidence-driven and multi-level approach to family and community strengthening, entrepreneurship and nations-building is not a single program, but instead a coordinated, comprehensive strategy for systemic change.

In working with families and communities to set their own goals and tackle their shared challenges holistically, the First 1000 Days Australia collaboration will enable the ongoing implementation of integrated activities such as community sector worker training, regional planning and service cooperation, policy advocacy and household-level longitudinal research.

Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said the partnership-in-progress was itself an innovative approach and an exciting development for the organisation, which leverages Save the Children’s operational strengths while recognising that key to this model is supporting the integrity of community-led implementation.

“With our national scale and strong experience working with communities across the country, and the University of Melbourne’s research expertise and existing work in this space, this is a chance for us to make a real difference. This is a unique approach to development in Australia, aimed at empowering families and communities to improve their own wellbeing and opportunities,” he said.

First 1000 Days Australia Executive Director and University of Melbourne Professor Kerry Arabena said that the ongoing and emerging work facilitated by this collaboration aims to create generational health gains.

“We will need an approach that strengthens culture, starting with women of child bearing age, their partners, extended family, and communities, and ensures our children are given the best possible start to life.”

More Information

Prof Kerry Arabena via the Media Office

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