SydWest Multicultural Service Inc provides practical assistance and services to relieve poverty, distress and misfortune for disadvantaged people in western Sydney. It supports refugees, humanitarian entrants and migrants during settlement and at other critical times.
In 2010/11, SydWest held nine community information sessions with 180 attendees in partnership with Blacktown Community Services Centre (CSC). The sessions covered such topics as: what is child abuse and neglect under NSW law; how to report child abuse; what is done to protect children who are abused; and Community Services role and services.
Echo Morgan, Manager Community Services Multicultural Services unit, says: “This is a good example of NGO migrant services and local CSCs working well together to support vulnerable families in the community.”
Abulla Agwa, coordinator of generalist projects SydWest, and Asmita Dhawan, formerly coordinator Multicultural Team Blacktown CSC, talk about their partnership.
How have you developed such a good working partnership?
ABULLA: “We build partnership through networking – we organise a monthly migrant interagency meeting where Blacktown CSC is represented. We also conduct joint service delivery and needs assessment.
“This is how we identified that a lack of understanding of child protection affects our target groups (refugees/humanitarian entrants). Our best strategy was to work with Blacktown CSC to educate these groups and build trust.”
ASMITA: “We’ve built a strong partnership because we hold regular meetings together and Community Services staff attend groups and programs held at SydWest. Partnership has also been sustained because we’re able to provide feedback to each other and are willing to accept and incorporate this into practice.”
Why is partnership important?
ABULLA: “Our target groups have limited understanding about child protection and the rights of children and young people, so working closely with Blacktown CSC to run information sessions is our best strategy. The sessions have been friendly and really valuable, and have enabled us to build good relationships and grow confidence between our target groups and Community Services.”
ASMITA: “The partnership has benefited both SydWest’s target group and Blacktown CSC clients. SydWest’s target group has benefited from the info sessions Blacktown run. Likewise, our clients benefit because our workers at Blacktown CSC are more aware of the services/programs offered by SydWest that can benefit our clients, and Blacktown CSC has been able to quickly and easily make referrals to SydWest.”
How do you maintain this partnership?
ABULLA: “We plan, implement and evaluate the best way to work together to deliver sessions.”
ASMITA: “Through regular communication regarding all aspects of our agencies’ involvement with each other. And we hold an evaluation meeting at the end of each year, which is further opportunity to improve on the current situation.”