The ABA Animal Management Worker project commenced in August 2011 as a three year pilot program. Its objective is to improve remote Indigenous community health and wellbeing through the creation of local Indigenous Animal Management Worker positions and training. The pilot has focused on improving animal management with a specific focus on dog and cat health.
AMRRIC has partnered with East Arnhem, Barkly and Roper Gulf Regional Councils throughout the program to train, mentor and employ a total of 28 Indigenous people over an area spanning 541,049 square kilometres of the Northern Territory.
The knowledge and expertise the AMWs have gained from their training with AMRRIC continue to improve the health and welfare outcomes for the local animal populations; this in turn improves the health and wellbeing of the whole community. Through their involvement in education programs, messages about animal health, welfare and hygiene and how these affect the community have been widely distributed. Even for those AMWs who worked in the position and moved on, their training has given them the skills and confidence to further their careers and positively contribute to their local communities.
For a complete review of the program, see the - Animal Managment Worker Program Evaluation
Animal Management Worker Education
In addition to AMRRIC on-the-job training, each of the long-standing AMWs has been participating in accredited training courses through various institutes. In East Arnhem Regional Council, AMWs Tony Gunanganuwuy, Virginia Barratj and Julie Wulkurrngu are completing a Certificate II in Indigenous Environmental Health through Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, while Phillipa Dhagapan is completing a Certificate II in Animal Studies externally through Charles Darwin University. In the Barkly, Scott Spurling and Dewayne Foster are completing a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services externally through Open Colleges. John and Bonny have both provided significant tutoring assistance to enable the AMWs to complete their courses successfully.
Animal Management Worker Ashely Hayes working with Dr Malcolm Mcgrath in Barkly Shire
As part of the completion of the ABA AMW program, AMRRIC has contracted Regina Hill Effective Consulting Pty Ltd to undertake an independent evaluation of the program. The results will be delivered at AMRRIC’s 10th anniversary conference in Darwin in September 2014. We hope they capture the invaluable lessons learnt over the past three years and demonstrate the importance and value of the employment of local Indigenous Animal Management Workers so their positions soon become commonplace through regional Councils across the NT.
"It is great seeing the shift in the attitude towards the Dog Health Program - after we have been in a community for a few days and we have people flagging us down asking when we can come and pick up their dogs for surgery – I think it makes the Animal Management Workers proud to be involved in a program that is supported by the community and I think they really help build the trust amongst the community for what we are trying to achieve." Dr John Skuja
AMRRIC is committed to promoting capacity development and empowerment of local Indigenous communities, and will continue to lobby for community-driven direction of animal
The Animal Managment Worker program was funded with a $2.89m community enhancement grant from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA).