File(s) not publicly available

Improving Indigenous Australian Governance: The how and what of capacity strengthening

conference contribution
posted on 2019-02-14, 00:00 authored by Roxanne Bainbridge, Janya MccalmanJanya Mccalman, K Tsey
In this paper, capacity strengthening will be pragmatically explored in response to two key questions: what enabling approaches are accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian (hereafter Indigenous) organisations to effectively make governance decisions; and what approaches can facilitate partnership processes between communities and governments for improving Indigenous Australian organisational governance. In particular, it will consider 1) the need to strengthen both hard capacities such as resources, technical skills, functions, structures, equipment and so forth; and soft capacities such as values, morale, engagement, motivation, incentives and staff wellbeing; and 2) one strategy that has successfully been used to facilitate partnership between Indigenous organisations and governments - reflective participatory approaches. It will draw from reflective short case study examples in which the authors have participated to demonstrate how, where and when capacity strengthening principles have been adopted. Given the paucity of well-designed evaluations, key principles and practices that appear to work to strengthen capacity will be discussed. Key amongst these are community ownership of governance improvement, collaborative development approaches that are context-dependent and long-term partnerships between government agencies and Indigenous communities built on trust and respect. Capacity-strengthening must have a clear notion of what type of capacity is being strengthened, for whom, and how the effectiveness will be measured.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

Conference Working Papers Series Volume IX, Muenster, Germany, July 2014



Start Page


End Page


Number of Pages


Start Date


Finish Date



Muenster, Germany


International Society for Third-Sector Research

Place of Publication

Baltimore, MD

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Author Research Institute

  • Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

Civil Society and the Citizen, 11th International Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research