New skills, stronger communities Posted May 7, 2015 by Diaspora Action Australia

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Eleven diaspora organisations came together in Melbourne recently to develop skills that will help them establish potentially life-changing projects in their countries of origin.

Diaspora Action Australia worked with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to engage diaspora communities in a four-week series of workshops during March and April. Facilitated by professional organisational and business strategy consultants Platform Advisors, the workshops provided practical information, training and skills that organisations can utilise to establish, maintain and fund community development projects.

Most of the projects are in the very early stages of development. Many focus on providing medical supplies for hospitals, clean, safe drinking water, education and micro-finance development in support of women. Participants intend to establish the projects in countries that have experienced conflict, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Liberia.

Platform Advisors provided information about how to establish a new organisation, identify the roles of board members and understand the basic financial requirements for managing an organisation, in addition to how fundraising strategies and distributing monies to overseas projects.

Schools in Liberia

T Max Dixon, who established the New Futures For Kids Foundation, attended the workshops. He has set up a project to construct a school in Monrovia, Liberia. T Max is one of the many thousands of immigrants who have settled in Australia and have never forgotten their country of origin.

In 2011, T Max travelled back to Liberia to visit his family, and again observed the sad reality of many children who are unable to attend school due to financial constraints. Most families in Liberia live on less than $1 a day. When T Max returned to Australia he decided to establish a project that contributes to education opportunities for children in Liberia.

Unfortunately, construction of the school in Monrovia has since ceased due to insufficient funding. However, T Max is ready to move forward again, saying that he now understands that the project not only requires funding, but also requires more effective structuring.

 “I will get the board members’ roles and functions set up because I understand that I need to work with them and prepare a strategic plan. The project has been gradually improving, but too slowly”. For T Max, the school in Monrovia is only the beginning of a bigger project. He aims to establish numerous schools in different areas within Liberia, with a focus on benefiting many children, and working towards a more prosperous future for his country of birth.

Read more about our workshops and training:

Diana Rincón

Writer