Proving the value of Indigenous On-Country programs

In 2011, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) commissioned SVA Consulting to measure and evaluate the social, cultural and economic benefits of its On-Country programs, its foundational work supporting the Martu Indigenous desert people to build sustainable communities.

To do this, SVA Consulting developed the program logic for KJ’s programs, conducted a Social Return on Investment (SROI) study and developed a measurement and evaluation framework for KJ to use in the future.

KJ’s programs assist Martu to re-engage with their country, share and learn cultural knowledge themselves, and disseminate Martu cultural knowledge to the broader population.

By conducting an independent assessment of the programs’ benefits, KJ hoped to demonstrate, in a compelling way, that its approach was achieving meaningful and positive change.

The work has highlighted that a key to these programs is that they work with Martu priorities, harnessing Martu skills and knowledge.

Peter Johnson, CEO, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa

The SVA Consulting team spent two weeks in two of the four remote communities (Jigalong and Purnngurr in WA) facilitating open conversations with program stakeholders. This included day trips out on country conducive to Martu talking about their lives and the impact the program had had.

The study identified 24 unique stakeholder groups who experienced a total of 54 significant social, cultural and economic changes. It also showed the worth of KJ’s On-Country programs and validated the significance of the cultural, social and economic impacts.

Despite the substantial investment required to deliver a program in remote desert communities, it shows a positive return on investment.

KJ has used these findings to make the case for ongoing investment in its On-Country programs – urgent work as there are few pujiman (bushmen born in the desert who have lived a traditional life) still alive to pass down their rich culture.

Download the Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa case study (PDF, 475KB)

Editor’s note: In 2014 KJ engaged SVA Consulting to undertake an evaluative Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of its on-country programs. You can read more about this engagement in this blog post.