What is our Northern Territory program?

Our Northern Territory program supports Eastern and Central Arrernte (pronounced UH-rrahn-da) people to better their situation and have more control over their lives.

The program works with Northern Territory Indigenous communities and corporations to:

  • establish and strengthen community governance structures
  • identify areas for corporate, philanthropic and government engagement
  • support community members to advocate for their own needs and to be heard

Our Northern Territory program came about when Eastern and Central Arrernte leaders engaged the local Catholic church network, seeking support to establish a capacity building centre where culturally appropriate responses to contemporary life issues could evolve.

We were approached to assist, and developed the Northern Territory program in response.

Initially, the program was based in the community of Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), but has since expanded to various sites across the Northern Territory.

Our Northern Territory program supports communities to advocate for their own needs, and be heard, through diverse activities:

  • Santa Teresa community, NT, by Jesuit Social ServicesStronger Communities for Children: we support Aboriginal people to build strong, independent lives where children, families and communities are safe and healthy; the program is funded by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and ensures that local people have a real say in what services they need and how they’re delivered
  • Making Justice Work campaign: we support a Territory-wide campaign that promotes evidence-based approaches to community safety, in order to respond more effectively to crime in the community
  • Cultural leadership: we run workshops with Elders and Clan group representatives in Wadeye (NT) at the invitation of the Thamarrurr Development Corporation, a local governance group responsible for strengthening cultural leadership in order to address social issues

How does the Northern Territory program work?

1. We work according to sustainable community development principles

We believe local people should have a real say in what services they need and how they’re delivered.

Our Northern Territory program applies a sustainable community development approach, which ensures services and activities are community-led.

Our approach aims to:

  • work at the family group level
  • embrace the importance of culture, family and sovereignty
  • maintain strong, respectful relationships and reciprocity in partnerships
  • build on the strengths of Indigenous people, families and communities

2. We only work with communities that invite us to work with them

Horse Program at Santa Teresa, NT, by Jesuit Social ServicesOur capacity building work with Aboriginal communities is based on relationships of trust.

We work with communities by invitation – we don’t impose ourselves, but rather listen, develop relationships and support community decisions.

Through local family and community meetings, we assess local needs, identify local priorities and support communities to develop plans to address them.

We also help to establish and strengthen community governance structures.

3. We facilitate communities’ engagement with stakeholders

We work with communities to identify areas for corporate, philanthropic and government engagement.

How can I refer people to the Northern Territory program?

Please contact our Alice Springs office:

Shop 4, 72 Todd St (PO Box 2233) Alice Springs NT 0871

Tel: (08) 8952 4616 | Fax: (08) 8952 4615 | Email: centralaustralia@jss.org.au