Alice Springs, NT
I have been working as a community researcher for over 20 years. I am based in Alice Springs, and over the last 5 years I have also travelled extensively to other communities working on a variety of different projects.
I enjoy and love research work. As a community researcher, I am doing work that can benefit that community. Often information we gather goes back to government, and it helps with understandings around the services that are there for people.
As a researcher you have a job of telling people where you are coming from and why you are doing the work. The research is about benefiting the community in the long run, even if it does not help them straight away.
Going into Town Camps I am very careful how I work with people, making sure that we don’t mention people who have passed away and aware of some of the issues happening in the community. I help people feel comfortable and not embarrassed. Sometimes people are happy to share stories if they are on their own, but if someone else is there they may feel like they are offending others, so it can be good to work one-on-one. You read body language, it’s not always about speaking language. To tell a story you have to hear a story.
I have been involved in a number of research projects with Ninti One. These include:
- A project associated with the installation of new electricity boxes and the transition from power cards to a new system where people can top up their metres at the shop. Part of my job was to go out and let the community know who was going to come out and visit them, and what was going to happen. First of all, I worked with the workers who were installing the boxes, helping them to understand feel comfortable in the community. Then I also worked directly with the community asking them about how they coped with the boxes and hear their story. (Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Kalkaringi and Hart’s Range).
- Research around the Milpa (lizard) program – clean faces and clean hands. This research was about people recognise what Milpa is about, and if it makes a difference to incidence of Trachoma. (Finke and Ali Curung).
- A project about community safety and wellbeing. This was particularly focused on health hazards and if the signs around the community were working for people. (Docker River, Imanpa).
- There was a project about mobility and service delivery – asking when and why do people travel to town? (Docker River, Yuendumu and Lajamanu).
Most recently I have been working with researchers from the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University on a project monitoring and evaluating the NTG Local Decision Making Policy.