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Jaanimili (a Gumbaynggirr word from the Mid North Coast of NSW meaning ‘gather together’) is the name given to the Aboriginal Services and Development Unit in Uniting.
The unit was born out of the 2007 ‘Dreaming as One’ internal review of Aboriginal staff recruitment, retention and service delivery, which highlighted the importance of Aboriginal leadership and participation in all layers of the organisation.
Jaanimili’s vision, people, services and partnerships are the embodiment of the organisation’s commitment to the self-determination of Aboriginal people.
Jaanimili is led and staffed by the Head of Aboriginal Services & Development, Operational and Practice Managers, and Regional Support staff. Contributing to Jaanimili’s unique model is the participation of all Aboriginal staff employed by the organisation, termed ‘Jaanimili members’. Today, we have over 100 members in every layer of the organisation, from entry level trainees, to senior management staff and Board members.
Jaanimili works with employees across the organisation to shape strong cultural conscience and practices. Policies and practice across the organisation are filtered through a Jaanimili ‘lens’, ensuring cultural applicability and enriching overall practice.
Jaanimili facilitates member meetings (‘gatherings’) annually, where key planning and decision making takes place. In addition, regional meetings are held and targeted working groups established to keep members briefed, consulted and engaged in Jaanimili’s role and initiatives.
Jaanimili produces an internal quarterly newsletter (‘Jaan-a-minute’) that showcases the work of the unit, highlighting opportunities and providing a resource for all staff.
As a conduit between Jaanimili members and the organisation, the unit has also established:
Jaanimili is a highly sought after capacity building partner in the establishment of new Aboriginal organisations, acting as a conduit between Uniting and partner organisations.
Jaanimili works with a range of partners to establish strong governance and operations within an agreed timeframe, before transitioning a program to a new or existing Aboriginal Board of Management.
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