Category Archives: Melbourne

Localisation in Practice – Readings

Image: CARE International

A Pacific Case Study from CARE and Live & Learn

Click to read full case study by CARE International 

CARE and local Fiji partner Live & Learn share lessons from their work jointly responding to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji.

TC Winston was a damaging Category 5 cyclone that hit Fiji in February 2016. Whole villages were destroyed and 31,200 houses were damaged or destroyed; and 250,000 people were left without access to safe water.

The response partnership reached 5054 households from 231 villages and settlements and distributed 4,037 Hygiene Kits, 2,583 Shelter Kits, 709 Toolkits and 4,108 start-up Seed Packs.

The article reflects upon a number of key lessons including:

  • The importance of leveraging partner strengths and building upon a pre-existing trusting relationships.
  • Keeping the response as local as possible and as international as necessary to manage and make use of surge support.
  • Making it work by pairing advisors and local counterparts – The importance of soft skills and skills transfer are paramount.

The article also discusses a number of challenges faced by the partners ranging from managing the rapid growth of the local organisation and their transition from development to emergency response.

Image: Disasters & Emergencies Prepardness Programme, Seven Dimensions of Localisation

Emerging Indicators and Practical Recommendations

Click to read full report by Disasters & Emergencies Prepardness Programme

The article focuses on the Start Network’s Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) that has invested in building local national capacity for disasters and emergencies preparedness in 11 countries.

The article defines the Seven Dimensions of Localisation and shares research findings on DEPP achievements and lessons.

The research finds that there is a general lack of awareness of, or confusion about key commitments to localisation made at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in the form of the 2016 ‘Grand Bargain’. Commitments 2 and 6 of the Grand Bargain relate to localisation and local participation in development decision making.

Local and national agencies are weary of the often-quoted slogan ‘as local as possible, as international as necessary’. This reflects the disappointment of local actors in seeing the slogan rhetoric turn into reality.

The research raises the issue of defining ‘who is local’. Is it the national government, national NGOs, or is it the smaller local agencies?

It was found that there is an absence of indicators to measure progress towards localisation.

Recommendations to respond to these and other findings are made.

1: Develop clear practical guidance for country-level decision makers and staff and set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure that GB and Charter for Change commitments are being implemented.

2: Continuous communication through verbal or written briefing notes and via short video or audio clips are necessary to explain the why, what and how of ‘localisation.’

3: Ensure that there is special attention to recognise and support the capacity at local level, which could include community based organisations, local civil society groups, local authorities, etc.

4: Ensure space for and support already existing local level networks and forums, as it helps them to collaborate and strengthen their own collective capacity to communicate and respond to issues in their own communities.

5: In contexts of chronic or recurrent crisis, in-between times provide the opportunity to map and strategically reinforce the eco-system of collective capacities. That will reduce the need to rely heavily on international surge capacity. Global surge preparedness should include policies, procedures and competencies to support and reinforce local capacities in a crisis situation.

6: The leaders of international organisations and donors should articulate more clearly what is expected of their staff to ensure implementation of the commitments to localisation.

7: Relief actors, individually and collectively, need to take action at the above four levels if they are to succeed in adhering to their commitments. The ‘Seven Dimensions Framework’ will assist action most directly at operational level.

8: More detailed indicators increase the utility of the seven dimensions framework. It provides a more comprehensive perspective on the diverse issues that shape the relationship between international and local/national agencies. Increasing detail under each ‘dimension’ allows for more precise assessments, preparation for a focused and structured conversation/negotiation, prioritisation and planning specific steps to advance localisation.

9: Contextual analysis is essential, and reflecting on the above influencing factors to assist in determining the pathways/speeds and the type of investment that is necessary for localisation to succeed.

10: Further preparedness initiatives and programmes that seek to promote ‘localisation’ should be based on following principles:

  • Strategic interventions rather than projects:
  • capacity-strengthening efforts should seek to rely on existing national/local structures
  • Future programmes should have a much stronger bottom-up design that has broad local/national ownership.
  • Work intentionally and intensively with international agencies already present in a country

Leaving No-one Behind: Inclusion for People with Disability

On June 16 this year, Melbourne Development Circle continued their Game Changer series for 2020 looking at the inclusion of people with disability. Our expert panellists explored the changing landscape, systems and innovations, in Australia and internationally, that have supported inclusion for people with disability. Times of crises, such as recent bushfires and the current global COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in rapid changes, leaving our systems strained, diverted and tested. They also shared about their experience with different structures (e.g. NDIS) and interventions to facilitate inclusion.

Panellists included:

  • Alexandra Gartrell – ANCP Disability Advisor, World Vision Australia
  • Ian Jones – Executive Director, Agile Development Group 
  • David Moody – Chief Executive Officer, National Disability Services
  • Peter Persson – Vic ABI Support Network Project Manager, Brain Injury Matters

Thank you to our panellists and all participants who joined. We had an engaging session that didn’t leave much time in the end to answer all the questions our participants had. Our panellists have kindly taken time to answer these via email below.

Question: Love to hear ideas from NDS on translating lessons learned in telehealth in Australia to the international development setting – 1) overcoming internet/phone access (remote Aus examples) 2) Applying cross-culturally.

[David Moody] The Victorian State Senior practitioner released guidance on Practice on a page: Telehealth and Functional Behaviour Assessments (direct download).

The Victorian government has worked to provide access to online services for many Victorian across the community services sector – not primarily or particularly disability as this would be now seen as a Commonwealth role. However NDIA sees internet connectivity as an everyday expense and outside the remit of NDIS funding. It is worth noting under Victorian ISP many people used their packages for Internet connections. Further whilst NDIA updated policy to allow tablets to be purchased to gain access to services delivered by Telepractice (Low-Cost Assistive Technology for Support Continuity during coronavirus (COVID-19)). It limits people to purchasing devices that have wifi only access and no to be able to take a data SIM. I think this is a very white middle class approach that assumes everyone has ready access to wifi. It fails to recognise potential difficulties with hotspotting from phones, etc. 

The Victorian Government Seeking Feedback on Remote and Flexible Learning through DET who acknowledge learning at home did not go well for many students with disability. 

Please see also this information from a Helpdesk response on the availability of extra data from telecommunications providers during COVID-19.

Question: Love to learn more about tools for digital upskilling.

[Ian Jones] Increased digitisation – mobile phone saturation for example – is not sufficient on its own; the success of using the internet and ICT for the inclusion of people with disabilities is also heavily impacted by their knowledge and awareness of the broader ICT solutions available to them. For our women entrepreneurs with disabilities, we actively targeted with training that is designed to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence to use digital tools.

This began with starting from understanding the existing tool (type of smartphone etc) they were comfortable using and working upwards from there. So it started with setting up an email account on the phone, how to use Facebook and privacy settings (for more control over profiles etc). This was followed by training on photography and videography that was practiced and shared within a closed private Facebook group so that participants could get comfortable with the tech and formats. From there we progressed to training on Zoom, Skype by using a mix of Facebook Messenger and calls if needed. During this process, groups were set to practice calling each other etc.

The next stage we are currently writing is using free tools such as GSuite that can be utilized for their businesses such as Google docs, sheets etc. for business development, progressing further on Zoom and also introducing Facebook for business. The final level which is pitched for disability social enterprise employees or women who would like to improve their own business management efficiency is using communication and project management tools such as Slack and Asana. However, all of the above depends on a lot of variables such as access to equipment, Khmer/English levels (training is in Khmer, tools are not), and self-confidence. At each stage there are supportive soft skills training.

Question: The conversations about measuring inclusion are also relevant for humanitarian response. Do the panel have any thoughts about how we can support local organisations and national frameworks outside of disaster that can contribute to more inclusive response in times of crisis? Particularly in a rapid onset disaster, how do we move people away from the ‘it’s too hard, we don’t know enough’ etc to real strategies to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of every stage of the process?

[Ian Jones] The first case is to ensure that inclusion is focussed on first. For example, if strategies are developed for an early warning system for floods, then PwDs will be the hardest to move of they have not been included in the process or considered. Identifying how families of PwDs and people with disabilities themselves receive, use and share information is critical and should be a first step, and quite often tackling the inclusion barrier generally overcomes most of the obstacles you would be facing with the rest of the community in a disaster response situation.

Question: Ian, any experience including credit for ppl into budgets??

[Ian Jones] Yes, for each proposal we have to be hyper-aware of the barriers to participation and costs of transport, and costs of phone data are major barriers. For the digital upskilling we provide phone credit to participants, as whilst Cambodia is cheap comparatively for mobile data fees, it is still a significant barrier, and credit is included in all of the proposals we write.

Question: I work at the local community service level, I’d be interested in any resources/examples of building in the local level “research” you can share beyond this webinar?? (I call it research with a little ‘r’)

[Peter Persson] For example at our organisation which is tiny in terms of resources, we have used Survey Monkey to seek the views of our members (people with an ABI) on a range of issues (eg. the needs of people with an ABI, the most significant barriers for people with an ABI). We used both the collective experience of our leaders supplemented by a quick desk top lit review of strategic documents from like organizations as well as some academic research to formulate our questions. In other environments I have used existing information collected for the operations of an organisation, to gather a dataset, that can be interrogated. It can be quite a powerful tool for internal purposes as well as adding to a broader knowledge base. 

Comment: Ian, keen to hear if choosing accessible venues comes up with a document to share:-)

[Ian Jones] Yes, we’ll have one available shortly that can be shared. We have an older one we developed with EWB in Cambodia, but are currently updating it.

Question: One of my participants has no more internet data left and has to wait till the 25th of April for the next lot. Given that Telehealth sessions (psychology) are using up much of her data can we request that the NDIA fund data using core supports – consumables funding. If so what item numbers would we be able to use? Thank you.

[David Moody] Thanks for your question. No the NDIS will not pay for internet/data or phone. 

The NDIS website states the following:

FAQ – 30 March: My providers will be delivering services using videoconferencing. Can I use my NDIS funding to pay for my internet connection? 

Daily living expenses like groceries, rent, bills (including internet charges) are a personal expense. You cannot use your NDIS funding to pay for day-to-day items. The Government has announced a range of support measures for eligible people affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More information is available at Services Australia. budget 

Most internet providers are offering free or reduced rate data packages, participants should connect with their relevant internet/phone provider to explore their options. 

For example: 


Boosting mobile data allowances: We wanted to remind customers about the extra data we are providing to our mobile customers in April. We are providing all eligible mobile subscribers 20GB of free extra data which can be activated within My Optus app anytime during the month of April and valid for 30 days from activation. For our eligible Prepaid customers, we will also be offering 10GB of additional data when you recharge $40 or more during the month of April 2020. Click here for more details about these extra data offers.


Additional data for our customers: We’re giving post-paid personal and small business customers additional data, and offering unlimited standard home phone calls for pensioners, as part of our response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to help our customers stay connected. 

Mobiles and mobile broadband – Register for 25GB of extra data 

All our personal and small business post-paid mobile and mobile broadband customers can register for an extra 25GB of data at no extra charge – to use in Australia within 30 days if they register by 19 April 2020. You can register via the Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra apps until 19 April 2020 and the data will be available within 48 hours. We’ll send you an SMS when it’s been applied. Please note mobile broadband customers will not receive an SMS. You won’t see the extra data on your bill, but it will appear in your app usage information.

Internet – Enjoy unlimited data at home 

From Thursday 19 March until 30 April 2020, we’re providing unlimited data for our personal and small business customers with home broadband plans (ADSL, nbn and cable). You don’t need to do anything. The data will be provided automatically, at no extra charge. Your data usage won’t be counted during this time, but keep in mind you won’t see the extra data on your bill. Our FairPlay policy applies.



We’ll be giving Vodafone postpaid customers who are not on an endless data plan an additional 5 GB of maximum speed data to use in the next month. That data will be added to all plans by Friday 27 March. Customers won’t need to do anything to activate this bonus data. To ensure customers always have enough data to meet their needs, we encourage them to consider endless data plans. 

Active prepaid customers will receive a one-off bonus of 3 GB with their next recharge. 

All Vodafone nbn services already include unlimited data.

Further information from David Moody regarding the impact of tech/telehealth in the lives of people with disability in Australia.

Monaro Early Intervention Services
– Moved quickly to online/telehealth delivery of therapy and programs. Staff coped and adapted well to this but it did require significant IT spend – laptops and phones etc
– Many clients readily switched to online delivery, some went on hold and have yet to return (stayed in regular contact with them). For some families, where children were mostly seen at school, telehealth sessions provided regular contact with parents and more engagement – which is great.

Fairfield City Council, Children and Family Services
– There were a lot of cancellations initially but about 50% of those lost re-engaged via Telehealth. 90% of clients are from a CALD background. NOTE: They have a very linguistically diverse staff which was crucial for remote delivery.

Independent Rehab
– Quite a lot of clinician time was required to work through COVID-19 training and adhering to the Government Directives, along with the training and implementation of Telehealth. Required solid planning time. Estimated approx. 20+ hours per week x 40 employees for at least a ten week period.


Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector – Live video

View the panel discussion from our recent Melbourne event – Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector, featuring:

  • Ellie Rennie – Associate Professor/ Principal Research Fellow, School of Media and Communication, RMIT (Facilitator)
  • Jason Potts – Professor of Economics, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT
  • Amanda Robinson – Head of Social Innovation at the Australian Red Cross
  • Nick Byrne – CEO, TypeHuman

Blockchain basics – a visual guide

In the lead up to our event on Tuesday July 10th 2018 – Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector –  we have put together a visual guide of blockchain basics for attendees and those interested in learning more about the basics of blockchain. Follow the image links to find out more! 

So, what is it?

Blockchain is a technology that facilitates secure online transactions such as exchanging money or updating a digital record without the need of an intermediary body. It is an uneditable and therefore incorruptible digital audit trail. Blockchain is a type of ‘distributed ledger technology’ which is explained in a little more detail below.

Blockchain 101 (Hewlett Packard Enterprise)

Continue reading

Red Cross Blockchain Case Study – enabling transparency of Islamic social financing

Islamic Finance Global (source:

In the lead up to Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector (July 10,Melbourne), Melbourne Development Circle is talking to companies and organisations about what is going on in the blockchain space here in Melbourne.

Amanda Robinson shared an example from International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

Case study: Red Cross Blockchain

The value of global Islamic Social Finance is projected to grow from $1.9 trillion currently to $3.5 trillion by 2021. There is increasing awareness that through more effective management and distribution, Islamic Social Finance can play a major role in bridging the gap between available funding and growing humanitarian and development needs. For example, Zakat, an obligation for Muslims to give alms, is already one of the largest existing forms of wealth transfer whereby eligible Muslims are required to donate at least 2.5 per cent of their wealth to improve the welfare of those in need of assistance. But collection of zakat and other types of Islamic Social Finance is largely unregulated and disjointed, which presents a strategic opportunity to engage and direct funding to sustainable and impactful social and humanitarian initiatives.

In early 2018, a blockchain application developed by the International Federation of the Red Cross and AidTech won a global finance competition (FinTech Islamic Finance Challenge). The application promotes traceability and transparency of Islamic Social Finance, and offers individuals and organisations the ability to track their contributions in highly complex humanitarian settings.

Read more about it here: Case Study – how blockchain tech can help protect the vulnerable

DoC logoIn the lead up to Blockchain and the future of the for-purpose sector (July 10,Melbourne), Melbourne Development Circle is talking to companies and organisations about what is going on in the blockchain space here in Melbourne.

Lexi Randall-L’Estrange spoke with Peter Baynard-Smith about

What problem is trying to solve?

Organisations working with vulnerable people are required to undertake verification checks on their staff, volunteers, consultants, and contractors. 1 in 5 workers in Australia are now required to carry some form of accreditation. This applies across multiple sectors: aged care, education, health, disability services, humanitarian aid, sports, and many more. More than 5000 such accreditations have been revoked in the past few years.

In the event of an individual’s accreditation being revoked, the integrity of the verification data relies on regularity of checking. The current systems for organisations to ensure their compliance involves costly manual checking, inadequate frequency of checks, unreliable record keeping, and inability to detect errors/tampering or inconsistencies. Essentially, organisations are simply not checking that cards remain valid.

Public enquiries (eg Royal Commission) and catastrophic disclosures (eg Oxfam) have uncovered systemic failures. Vulnerable people have been the ones to suffer, and organisations have also borne huge cost in reputation, funding, and redress costs.

What’s your solution to the issue? is a secure online platform for managing and continuously verifying staff certifications for safeguarding and compliance. The solution was designed in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia as a secure one-stop-shop, allowing organisations to automatically verify individual staff certification requirements such as working with children checks, medical registrations, teachers’ accreditations and other professional licenses and registrations.

Over 10 organisations are already using the platform in the private beta stage, including companies from across disability services, sports clubs, churches and performing arts. A public beta will be announced shortly.

The potential for this technology in the humanitarian aid and development sector lies in its ability to transform the sector’s verification and safeguarding integrity, dramatically improve cost efficiency, provide CEO’s and boards with peace of mind that they are doing all they can to ensure the safety of vulnerable people, provide real-time response and data feedback, and operate across multiple jurisdictions globally.

How does blockchain technology help solve this problem? uses blockchain technology to create a continuum of ‘verification events’ by storing encrypted data in a permanent, public and auditable ledger. Smart Contracts ensure the integrity of the data, forever. Alerts are sent out immediately when an issue is encountered and organisations can earn free platform credits (“VDOC Tokens”) for taking an active role in the ecosystem.

How would you summarise what’s unique about for the MDC community?

  • a permanent, auditable ledger: organisations will have an auditable record to prove their compliance and that they did everything they could and should have done to ensure the safety of vulnerable people in their care
  • care is distributed on a blockchain: the integrity of the verification data will be tamper-proof. No personal identifiers are made available. The blockchain holds a log of ‘verification events’ and metadata.
  • continuous screening: organisations can re-verify people as often as they need to, and when detects a compliance accreditation has been revoked, lapsed or expired an organisation will be immediately notified through multiple channels

Read more about on their website.

Sign up for the July event here:

If you have a case study you want to share, send an email to Lexi.

Making an Impact Summit

2015 Link FestivalEngineers Without Borders Australia’s upcoming event Making an Impact Summit will held on 14 December 2015 in Melbourne.

The Making an Impact Summit is a showcase of the role that industry, academics and students can play in creating positive social outcomes.  Meet EWB Challenge’s National Finalists, hear about cutting edge EWB university research, and learn more about innovative corporate approaches to social impact. Continue reading

Tumultuous Times: Aid Cuts & Partnership Impacts – Event Summary

Dave Husy (left) and Adam Valvasori (right)

Dave Husy (left) and Adam Valvasori (right) taking questions from the audience. Photo by Dan A’Vard – Opencage Photography

Tumultuous Times: Aid Cuts & Partnership Impacts

Tuesday May 5th, 6-8pm, Donkey Wheel House Melbourne

Event summary by Kelly Rae

Disproportionate cuts to the Australian aid budget announced last December mean that Australian NGO’s are already starting to axe international programs, with a devastating impact on their partner organisations and communities in which poverty alleviation programs have been operating. With further aid cuts expected to be announced this May, NGO’s are in limbo, many starting to alert partner organisations that programs may have to be scaled down or ceased all together. The impact on partnerships, long term programming, and the people that they work with, will be profound.

Continue reading

Communication for Development Event Melbourne

Communication for Development approaches in the Australian NGO sector and academia / Knowledge sharing & networking for an improved practice

Wednesday 3rd June 2015, 2PM-6PM, Melbourne

2015 ACFID University Network Conference – side event


This event brings together academic researchers from Australian universities and think tanks with Australian NGO practitioners. The aim is to provide a platform for international development actors involved or interested in communication for development (C4D) work to share experiences, lessons learned and recommendations that can contribute to an improved practice. Connections between practitioners and researchers on C4D-related research projects that strengthen the value of the practice are also facilitated.

An additional aim of this seminar is to offer a space to those who have an interest in this field and are planning to kick-start new C4D activities. It is a forum to brainstorm ideas and to put forward questions related to programme design to an experienced audience.

This event will be a unique opportunity to gather knowledge on the status of C4D work among Australian NGOs and research institutions, and to create a network of organisations where that knowledge is regularly exchanged.

Visit event website here


Apply to present

If you would like to present your work at this event, please email your EOI to Dr Valentina Baú at the address no later than Sunday 17th May 2015. You will be notified of your outcome by Friday 22nd May 2015

RSVP to attend

This event is free for participants, but RSVP is essential
If you would like to attend, please email by Sunday 17th May 2015


La Trobe University city campus Teaching Room 2, Level 20, Westpac Building, 360 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3086


Dr Valentina Baú
School of the Arts & Media, University of New South Wales, Sydney Email:

Tait Brimacombe
Institute for Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, Melbourne Email:

Download full event details in PDF, or online here

Help CARE and receive FREE entry to Boxing Day test

MCG_standsWill you be in Melbourne for Christmas? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stand on the hallowed turf of the MCG on Boxing Day AND support a great cause? Well here’s your chance!

CARE Australia is heading to the Commonwealth Bank Boxing Day Cricket Test at Melbourne’s MCG and we need a helping hand.

Time: Approximately 1.5 hour shift in the afternoon

Place: Melbourne’s MCG

What you’ll be doing: Handing out information about CARE’s work … and having fun!

In exchange, you’ll receive a free one-day ticket to the cricket (Boxing Day, 26 December).

If you’re interested: please send us a quick email with your contact details (mobile and email) to

CARE_logo_RGBAbout CARE: CARE Australia is an Australian charity and international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on empowering women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.