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New community-led model to help Yolŋu youth in East Arnhem land

Dechlan Brennan -

A youth model agreement will give Yolŋu youth in East Arnhem land the chance to be involved in ongoing and engaging activities, led by community leaders, for the next five years.

The East Arnhem Land Youth Model (EALYM), or Guŋga’yunga Djamarrkuliny, will be based on a successful, community-led pilot model established in 2020, and is supported by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA), as well as both the federal and NT governments. 

The full model will include activities reinforcing connection to country, culture, language, and family. 

The pilot model was led by leaders across Gapuwiyak, Galiwin’ku, Ramingining and Millingimbi — all who wanted a better way to support young people in the communities.

ALPA chief executive Alastair King said the Guŋga’yunga Djamarrkuliny program is vitally important as it is driven by “Yolngu in their community".
“Young people, their parents and traditional leadership determine how they will engage through activities that work for them in their community, ALPA’s role is to help facilitate their ideas,” he said. 

Mr King noted the model had the potential to be used elsewhere in the country, should it be successful.

In 2022-23, the model grew to over 20 clan and community-based activities, used to positively engage young people, support cultural learning, and help reinforce positive youth behaviours. 

Each community has their own local leadership group - designed alongside consultation with local clan and community leaders - who make decisions about a “flexible” community fund to support young people in methods that work for their families and their communities. 

NT Minister for Local Decision Making Selena Uibo said the government was walking together with the local communities, and their role is to “help the success of locally developed and community led approaches.”

“Yolŋu leaders are at the centre of programming, making decisions about the approaches that work best for their communities and their young people to support growing up strong in two worlds,” she said. 

The EALYM supports community leadership by taking control of youth care through the principles of Yolŋu governance and decision making - embedded in the model - alongside data and evidence from agencies and the community to measure success, as well as capturing learning data to help build the approach into the future. 


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