A project establishing a national ‘community-build’ prototype while teaching remote Kimberley kids how to build an affordable, sustainable SuperAdobe (earthbag) home – budget $60,000 – has won United Nations recognition in the recently announced Banksia Sustainability Awards in Perth, WA. The Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (FISH) is working with a remote Fitzroy Valley community to replace a vital community structure, lost in an electrical fire in 2017.
One of only 7 awards to the Australian non-profit sector, we say ‘Very well done to the entire Kimberley team of FISH and special thanks to architect Jara Romero-Escolar and project manager Kieran Rodd who live and work on-site.
FISH, the Foundation for Indigenous Health, is a non-profit organisation established in 2011 in WA.
The FISH mission: To break the cycle of generational trauma, poverty and engagement in the justice system for Aboriginal people and enable them to be valued by and able to positively contribute to their community.
Director Victor Hunter has spent many years researching work activities so Aboriginal people could learn trade skills while working on community projects. Poverty would be addressed and future work possible…eliminating welfare dependence and restoring self esteem.
Bawoorrooga is a tiny community in the Fitzroy River valley of WA’s remote Kimberley region…about an hour’s drive from Fitzroy Crossing the major town in the valley.
Community leader Claude Carter lives here with his family, working with and supporting young people from the Fitzroy Valley who have been involved in the justice system, helping them to reconnect them to country and culture.
Unfortunately Claude’s home, the centre for this work, was destroyed by a fire caused by an electrical fault in 2017.
Over time, rebuilding this community centre became a FISH training project. Kids who weren’t learning much in school became involved and learnt the ‘hands-on’ way. (See here for a description of the superadobe technique.)
“The project has included much wider skills and projects that benefit health and wellbeing, such as an orchard, art studio, education opportunities and a tourism plan for the future,” says Mark Anderson, CEO of FISH.
The Bawoorrooga earthbag build has the following measurable project outcomes:
• Engagement of 20 Indigenous people in construction phase and a further 50 school children and 10 volunteers.
• Employment of 8 full-time employees by June 2021 in agriculture, tourism and supportive industries.
• Orchard and Market Garden producing needs of community by June 2019.
• Orchard and Market Garden producing sufficient quantity of produce to establish a social enterprise and start selling to the market by June 2019.
• Establishment of sustainable tourism product by June 2020.
• Certified on the job training established on community:
• Formalised education partnership with Fitzroy Crossing High School established with Bawoorrooga Community (2019) and FISH:
• All community members financially self-sufficient with no one residing on community receiving ‘sit down’ money by June 2022.
The Banksia Awards in Australia are linked to to the 17 United Nations sustainability goals and the Bawoorrooga project ticked all the boxes!
*No poverty *Zero hunger *Good health and wellbeing *Quality education *Gender equality *Clean water and sanitation *Affordable and clean energy * Decent work and economic growth *Industry, innovation and infrastructure *Reduced inequalities *Sustainable cities and communities *Responsible consumption and production *Climate action *Life below water *Life on land *Peace, justice and strong institutions *Partnerships.
Well done Bawoorooga and FISH!