Ten Aussie social innovations to change the world
This evening marks the launch of the First Australian Social Changemakers’ Festival, kicking off nine days of talks, activities and events to celebrate social innovation in Australia, draw attention to some of the social & environmental challenges facing us, and showcase existing social innovations and the groups tackling these challenges.
To help you get inspired in the lead-up of the festival we’ve compiled a list of ten Aussie innovations that have had a real social impact.
Barefoot Power: A social enterprise that focuses on providing affordable lighting and phone charging products to low income populations that do not have access to electricity. By giving them access to micro-solar products, Barefoot helps poor families break their dependence on inefficient, expensive and harmful lighting such as kerosene lamps.
Kitchen Garden Foundation: A not-for-profit organisation supporting Australian schools to teach kids about lifelong healthy eating habits by engaging them in growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing delicious and healthy food at primary school.
Communities for children: A Government-funded early intervention and prevention initiative that aims to improve the development, health and well-being of children aged 0-12 and their families by addressing local needs and facilitating community participation. rograms take a collaborative approach, drawing on community strengths and existing infrastructure. Examples include supported playgroups, men's parenting groups, anti-natal parenting courses, community nutrition initiatives, and reading initiatives for children under five years old.
Permaculture: A theory of ecological design that aims to save work, reduce energy and eliminate waste by modeling human settlements and agricultural systems on natural ecosystems. Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holgren in the 1970s, the philosophy is for humnas to work with, rather than against nature to provide food, energy and shelter for themselves in a sustainable way.
Beacon’s school programs: Formerly referred to as the ‘No Dole’ program, this program assists students develop knowledge, skills and awareness of the world of work with the aim of attaining goals of further education, training or employment upon leaving school. Initiatives include a charter signing where year ten students pledge to be in further education, employment or training by the following year, business events, speed careering workshops and business visits to schools. These programs have been adopted into more than 120 schools across Australia.
Child Support Agency’s Staying Connected: A three-hour program targeting separated parents in the workforce. It covers how to look after yourself, maintaining a business relationship with the other parent and hints for staying connected with your kids. It has been embraced by both parents and employers who have seen the value to their businesses through the reduction of unplanned leave and lost productivity.
Inspire Foundation’s Reachout website: A web-based initiative that offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.
Mens’ Sheds: Modelled on traditional garden sheds, these are community spaces, which offer fully-equipped workshops where men can go to work on personal or community projects, and connect with other men. They’ve proved to have huge benefits to the wellbeing of the men who participate, their families and their communities.
Mental Health First Aid: The help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, or who is in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves. The 12-hour Mental Health First Aid course teaches adults (18 years and over) how to provide initial support to adults (18 years or over) who are developing a mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Job Services Australia: A national network of organisations dedicated to helping job seekers find and sustain employment. Contracted by the Australian Government, these organisations deliver employment services to unemployed job seekers on Government income support payments and employers.
Australia has a strong and vibrant history of successful and inspired social innovation. So show your support, get in touch with fellow changemakers and help us innovate for a better world by coming along to one of our events in the next nine days.