Monday, April 19, 2010
My secondment to Kununurra ....
One of the good things about working for a large and profitable organisation is that it has a lot of money to devote to community programs. My company does an immense amount of good work across Australia and we’re recognised for the contribution we make. It’s a nice side-effect of being hugely successful.
Our community work is in fact one of the really rewarding things about working here, in fact. Every year we get two days of paid volunteer leave – last year I helped out at the Sacred Heart food kitchen, and it was an eye-opening experience.
The secondment I’m about to embark on is an extension of that volunteering program. It’s medium-term skilled volunteering, hence the five-week duration; and the program is part of our reconciliation action plan.
I’ll be spending the time with an Indigenous NGO (non-government organisation) in Kununurra, in the remote East Kimberlies. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to discuss externally, so until I find out otherwise I’ll keep things vague enough here so that no person or group is specifically identified.
I know I was selected because the project I’ll be working on is a complex one, with a lot of ambiguity – and I’m good at dealing with ambiguity and change. The organisation wants some input around creating a strategic plan, itemising some clear actions to articulate the plan, thinking creatively about identifying and developing young Indigenous leaders in the surrounding communities, some strategic mentoring and facilitation, and long-term communications planning. I can do all that.
But what exactly will I be doing, I hear you ask? The answer is that I don’t really know yet. And I don’t expect to know until I get up there and start talking with people.
I think that’s part of the challenge, which is to begin thinking and questioning and talking it over with my friends and family – so that there’s an element of becoming an advocate for the program and stimulating other people to perhaps think about things too.
So please, consider this post the first part of a series relating to my secondment – I’ll try to update things as regularly as I can over the time I’m away.
I’m leaving in just over a week, and I’ll be gone til the first week of June. My heart’s beating pretty hard in my chest at the delicious thought of being away from work for that long – I’ve never had that much time off work before. Since I was 18, in fact, I’ve worked through all my uni semester breaks, and I started a full-time job when I was 21, so that makes ….. a really long time since I’ve had a five week break. On reflection, it may well have been the Christmas period when I was in Year 10, before I got a weekend job.
That’s a long time. But I digress. I won’t be on holiday, I’ll be working – but it will be in a completely different way, and I’m excited at the prospect.
So the rest of this week will be spent in briefings - crocodile briefings (yes, seriously), 4WD training, cultural appreciation, planning a side-trip to the Argyle Diamond Mine (heh heh heh) …. can’t wait!