Karrkad Kanjdji Trust: designing ‘Bush University’

Indigenous ranger programs are one of Australia’s biggest conservation success stories. They protect and conserve environmental and cultural heritage, generate employment, and stimulate other positive economic and social outcomes.

Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (KKT) was established by Traditional Owners in Arnhem land, to support their Indigenous ranger programs. Mimal Land Management (Mimal) and Warddeken Land Management (Warddeken) are among them. They manage about 35,000 square kilometres of land in central and western Arnhem Land.

The project (icon)
The project

Indigenous rangers undertake accredited and unaccredited training to support their work caring for country. However, training is not always fit for purpose. Mimal and Warddeken have held a strong vision for many years to establish a new approach to adult education and ranger training.

Warddeken and Mimal joined forces with KKT to explore a better solution.

“We want education to happen in our communities so that there are pathways for them, transitions from the community to larger institutions and work on Country” Dean Yimbarbuk, KKT’s Co-Chair said. “In an ideal world I want to see this training leading to opportunities to engage in higher education and a place for Bininj in the wider world.”

The objective (icon)
The objective
  • Develop a feasibility study and business plan for an Indigenous ranger training program
  • Address gaps in adult education, a lack of suitable training options available in remote Arnhem Land
  • Create supported pathways into leadership positions

The role we played

SVA was engaged to work together with Warddeken and Mimal – with support from KKT – to design and plan a solution to the regional education deficit inhibiting the growth and long-term sustainability of West and Central Arnhem Land’s ranger programs.

  • In-depth research and consultations were undertaken to understand and explore the barriers and opportunities in ranger professional development, the remote training landscape and potential model options.
  • Guiding principles for effective learning were developed together with Bininj (Indigenous) knowledge holders, and then translated into a program and a phased-model design.

This was then developed into a business case, including a detailed financial analysis to outline paths to program sustainability.

Dean Yibarbuk, Co-Chair, KKT

“We are changing the tactics of Balanda (non-Indigenous) education to suit Bininj (Indigenous) learning”

Dean Yimbarbuk
Chair of Warddeken Land Management Limited, Co-Chair of Karrkad Kanjdji Trust

Our impact (icon)
Project impact

SVA’s work supported Warddeken and Mimal to design an effective and tailored solution to address adult education and training challenges in remote Arnhem Land for rangers, and provided a clear and compelling plan to take the vision forward into implementation.

The project has since secured multi-year funding from two major philanthropic foundations and is currently being implemented.

“If we want people to take over positions of responsibility in our communities, positions that have value, then we need pathways to allow Bininj to engage, to learn, to show their own families what they are doing and how important it is.” – Dean Yimbarbuk, Co-Chair, KKT.

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