In February this year, our CEO Peter Coleman launched the Woodside Development Fund, a major new initiative intended to support programs and groups that focus on outcomes in early childhood development.
The intent of the Woodside Development Fund is that Woodside contribute at least A$20 million over ten years to support early childhood projects that:
- bring about meaningful, long-term positive change in communities;
- build a sustainable workforce for the future; and
- demonstrate impact through a shared monitoring and evaluation process.
The launch of the Fund follows six months consultation with experts in the field, who recommended Woodside tackle challenges at their root cause via a collaborative approach.
This means that not only are we making a long-term financial commitment but also taking a new approach to the way we work with the community to make this investment.
With the aim of creating bold outcomes, Woodside is working collaboratively with industry, governments, community organisations and practitioners to support a collective approach to tackling complex social challenges.
So far on our journey, Woodside has partnered with the Centre for Social Impact at the University of Western Australia to assist with the design of the Woodside Development Fund and the collaborative effort it will support. A group of varied stakeholders have been working on developing a bold goal, a program roadmap, agreed measures of success and a set of principles of collaboration.
More information about this co-design process can be found here: Woodside Development Fund co-design process summary.pdf
To help get the conversation started, Telethon Kids Institute developed a draft issues paper for discussion that collated research evidence in relation to early childhood development and made suggestions about a potential bold goal and areas for action to support this bold goal.
This paper provided a robust point at which to begin a conversation about what, and how, the Fund might deliver lasting positive benefit for the children of Western Australia.
If you would like to read this paper, it is available here: Woodside Development Fund issues paper for discussion.pdf
Participating stakeholders provided comments and feedback about the paper, both through one-on-one interviews and group workshops. Feedback was that the proposed Bold Goal needed to be more aspirational and more grounded in a strengths-based approach.
While the Bold Goal, the program roadmap and the agreed measures of success continue to be refined, some key elements essential for creating long-term meaningful change have clearly been identified through the process so far. These are listed below:
- Systems change: It was readily accepted that no one sector, government, organisation or program can create large scale impact in the lives of West Australian children. Multiple cross-sectoral players were required to collaborate in order to create systems change at the state and local levels. Time, resources and skilled facilitation would be required to support the collaborative effort to intentionally gain the experience and skills to think and act systemically at a state and community level.
- Place-based: It was also agreed that a collective impact-style approach applied in a defined place was the most effective way to drive population level change for all children within a community. While a broader set of criteria for selecting places to invest were proposed, it was agreed that the level of vulnerability was an appropriate key determinant.
- Collaboration: It was agreed that funding and other support would be required to build the capacity of individuals, groups and communities involved in the collaborative project. In particular, it was thought support would be required to move well-intentioned willingness to collaborate towards possessing the knowledge and skill to do so.
- Sustainability: It was repeatedly stressed at the Workshop that sustainability would be more likely ensured if the collaborative project was invited into communities who demonstrated willingness and readiness to apply the collective impact approach.
- Scalability: It was an articulated expectation that the framework and model for the collaborative effort must be transferrable to other communities, cultures, states and nations.
This work continues to be ongoing with the outcomes and the next stage of the process emerging as we progress. As we move towards a defined Bold Goal, set of programs and commitments, your views are welcome.
Tell us what you think
- What do you see as the Bold Goal or unifying agenda that has the potential to make the most significant change for the children of WA and Australia?
- Where do you think resources and effort could best be focussed to make best use of the opportunity presented by the Woodside Development Fund?