The Kindred story

The idea of Kindred emerged from our experience of over thirteen years of developing and working on projects through Community Works, an Australian development consulting company. During this period we have worked in partnership with multiple organisations in nineteen countries. They include consulting and project assignments with fifteen community mental health organisations, several years of teaching development practice, mediation and peacebuilding, research and project management in early childhood development programs and support to human rights work in several countries. We are privileged to have worked extensively with Aboriginal people and organisations in Australia.

As a result, we have gained many important insights and lessons, including the following:

Our most unique and impactful work is when we can create connections between people and organisations who do not necessarily work together. Group facilitation or cross-cultural work are examples, along with much of the early childhood development and community mental health programming in which we have been involved

Being responsive to local needs in a rapid and agile way is critical to building the relationships necessary for positive change to occur. People often feel that organisations, whether government or non-government, can get in the way of progress and be part of the problem. New ways to overcome systemic obstacles are always valued

We have seen that better outcomes are achieved for vulnerable or disadvantaged when there is facilitation or articulation of work across disciplines and cultures

While recognising that many channels of communication are being used effectively by communities already, we have also seen how good visual design can play many roles, including to unify efforts, improving understanding, amplifying community voices or supporting advocacy on behalf of groups whose knowledge does not often influence policy and practice

Acting as or identifying a conduit between the academy, research and peer-reviewed literature and the communities and organisations where it is needed is regular gap that our project work has addressed. Bringing evidence-based guidance and best practice to the design of projects and programs is a valuable contribution, especially through drawing on academic and research publications.

A strength of the Kindred concept is that it has emerged from solid shared experience, listening and observing processes that lead to positive impacts for disadvantaged communities. This experience has provided insight into both incremental and transformational change. Our collaboration with Spring Impact over several years of supporting the scaling up of successful programs has shown how the distance between ‘nothing’ and ‘something’ is far greater than ‘something’ and ‘something more’.