Voices from outside “the centre” – hearing the stories of regional and rural change

Complexity and the Art of Evaluation – Reporting Sheet

Leader:    Tricia Hiley


Key Points:

We had a rich and flowing sharing of stories, people working with projects in regional or rural areas.

Some of the themes included:

1.    Lack of access to services increases isolation.
For instance –

•    No local insulation installer and no local relationship with one from “away”
•    Home sustainability assessors not funded to travel to rural locations (ie travel costs paid from post office closest to clients house)
•    Don’t have local trades people
•    Not eligible for water tank rebate because they are not on town waters
•    Regional project staff may only be able to do one visit a day because of distance compared to 6 or 8 in the city

How do we take this “systemic” consequence into account when planning and evaluating ∆ projects?

2.    Enthusiasm and involvement of whole communities.
Examples include:

•    Heyfield, where the whole of the community has embraced a sustainable town project.  It includes a “game” where people can, through their sustainability efforts, “attain” a white then green then blue flag to place prominently on their roof for all to see and celebrate.

•    Mildura, which has benefited by being a small, discrete community which has an inherent focus such as a city community may find it difficult as residents are members of so many different “communities” (ie living, working, school, shops etc.).

3.    There was a reasonable amount of sharing of the experience of vulnerability in farm families, particularly where there is a single income in which leads to a perceived lack of robustness – which can lead to resistance to change.  One group member introduced “crunch theory” which considers a community’s vulnerability with respect to natural hazards.  The example of the consequences of a similar sized earthquake to Haiti and Chile was given as an example.  In Haiti over 200,000 died.  In Chile it was in low hundreds.

4.    A couple of images that linger for me are  (I NEED THE ARTIST HERE)
a)    “the value of one tree in the paddock”
b)    a small town with a white, green or blue flag on the roof of every building
c)    “the country wave” as a young woman waves to or says hi to everyone she passes
d)    a set of scales with “natural hazard” on one side and “community vulnerability” on the other
e)    a project worker in the city – a project worker in the country

| May 10th, 2010 | Posted in Open Space Session |

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