An expanding footprint—2001 to 2017
Since 2001, Jawun (formerly Indigenous Enterprise
Partnerships) has built a unique network of
Indigenous, corporate, government and philanthropic
partnerships. Over time and in a growing number of
regions, Jawun has leveraged these partnerships for
its mission to empower Indigenous communities to
achieve their own development goals.
This purpose is rooted in a historical crisis and the
call of an Indigenous leader for change. Noel Pearson,
in his publication O
ur right to take responsibility 5
and in the subsequent Cape York Welfare Reform
agenda, decried a status quo where passive welfare,
social dysfunction and economic marginalisation
were allowed to persist in Indigenous Australia rather
than being tackled head on. Pearson called for a shift
from assistance to empowerment, namely through
initiatives that promoted
self-reliance, enterprise and economic independence.
This philosophy was the foundation of Jawun, whose
founder is Noel Pearson.
Seventeen years later, Jawun operates in 10 regions
across Australia: Cape York, Goulburn Murray, East
Kimberley, Inner Sydney, West Kimberley, Central
Coast (New South Wales), North East Arnhem Land,
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY)
Lands, Lower River Murray and Far West Coast
(South Australia) (Figure 4). In each, the founding
philosophy of Indigenous-led empowerment applies,
owned and articulated by local leaders who give it
local meaning. An Indigenous leader in Inner Sydney
speaks of ‘shifting from a deficit lens’ to one that
instead sees Indigenous people’s strengths; while in
the East Kimberley a leader calls for ‘empowerment
of those with a forever stake’.
This report shows how a united cause is growing in
ownership and momentum, and what this means for
Indigenous individuals, organisations and communities.
For a more detailed overview of the origins,
expansion and evolution of Jawun, see the 2015
A story of shared value: corporate
and government partners. 6
The national discussion is often something we can’t control
as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; there are just
too many other people controlling it and holding the keys. The
wonderful thing about the Jawun program is, it is something
that we absolutely can control.
CEO, NPY WOMEN’S COUNCIL