City of Greater Dandenong, Vic, for Creating Change: Social Cohesion Program—Transcript

[Music plays and text appears: National Awards for Local Government. Creating Change: Social Cohesion Program, City of Greater Dandenong, VIC, Multicultural Australia—Strength in Diversity. Category Winner]

[Image changes to show Katharina Verscharen, Creating Change: Social Cohesion Program, City of Greater Dandenong, VIC]

I coordinate the Youth and Family Services at the City of Greater Dandenong.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) male and females]

We are the must multicultural community in Victoria. We have residents coming from 150 birth places with a very large population of refugees and asylum seekers.

[Image has changed back to Katharina talking to the camera]

Our councillors believe that the community voice needs to be heard, and therefore acknowledges and celebrates the importance of the diversity that we have in Greater Dandenong.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD male and females and then moves back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

We also have to recognise that young people are going to be our future, and so how do we build capacity for young people to feel that they do have a voice, and have an opportunity to share their knowledge and understanding.

[Image changes to show an aerial shot of the participants of the Youth Summit and then moves back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

We ran a Youth Summit with 200 young people around social cohesion, so providing opportunities where that dialogue can take place, and that they feel comfortable to be able to have the discussion.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD male and females]

And we do that in many forms, like the Creating Change program, where we started with a smaller number of young people, and then Building Bridges where then young people become youth ambassadors,

[Image has moved back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

where they then develop up projects that then move and share with a broader group of young people in community.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD male and females]

I think that this is one step forward in doing that. We've aligned it with the Victorian Essential Learning Standards, so that it can be embedded in school curriculum.

[Image has moved back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

I think that we have an opportunity now to share that, not just locally, but certainly regionally.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD male and females]

So while it might start with 80 young people, it can grow to thousands, and that has certainly been the case with Creating Change.

The reason we put up for this award was this is a very new area for Australia.

[Image has moved back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

Social cohesion is a phenomenon that I'm not quite sure whether we all understand as yet, and it can have a broad spectrum of understanding.

[Image changes to show different pictures of CALD male and females]

We see it as a very prestigious award.

[Image has moved back to show Katharina talking to the camera]

And I think it gave us a very strong sense of pride in how we are continuing to be innovative in tackling some of these issues. And that these are big issues, and that we have a Local Government that's willing to not stand back and shy away from something like this.

[Music plays and text appears: National Awards for Local Government. Creating Change: Social Cohesion Program, City of Greater Dandenong, VIC, Multicultural Australia—Strength in Diversity. Category Winner]

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Last Updated: 27 June, 2016