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Saturday, 7 July 2007

Compassion in action

Evidence emerging of reports of abuse and violencein indigenous communities that have been ignored by governments at all levels over the past few years is a source of shame and should be a cause for repentance and confession "we have failed to do that which we ought to have done" as the Anglican Prayerbook puts it.

Selfrighteousness is not in order from anyone who has had responsibility in the development and implementation of government programs, from the Minister down.

The question then is - what works for human flourishing and builds community?

If there is one lesson from the frequent failures and multiple reviews, it is that successful programs require indigenous involvement and ownership.

The Productivity Commission in a recent report includes many examples of things that work and they all according to its Chair Gary Banks have these factors in common: co-operative approaches between indigenous people and government, community involvement in program design and decision-making, good governance and ongoing government human and financial support. The process of working together is a significant step in building community.

The goal is the way. We cannot separate the ends we seek from the way we seek to achieve those ends.

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