2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year for ICAN and ICAN Learn, with the expansion of our financial capability work through ICAN’s new business unit, ICAN Thrive.
To understand where we are heading, we need to reflect on where we’ve been, and how our financial capability work to date informs our future work.
For seventeen years, ICAN has been developing and delivering financial capability programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our standpoint is that financial capability training programs can thoughtfully engage and meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples when Indigenous methodologies and knowledges are embedded into the design of education resources and methods of delivery.
Since 2015, we have been delivering Yarnin’ Money, a financial capability program wholly developed by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Recognising how Indigenous methodologies and knowledge frameworks inform financial capability practice advances our work beyond notions of embedding cultural safety or Indigenising mainstream education, resources and practice1,2. It moves towards decolonising education and practice altogether, to one of reimagining how financial capability education can fit within one’s own cultural understanding of self and financial wellbeing3,4.
When we created the Yarnin’ Money program, we wanted to create the space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia to develop meaningful financial capability knowledge and skills that align with Aboriginal concepts of wellbeing and ‘lives lived well’5.
In 2017, we travelled to Canada to learn how Community Economic Development organisations were delivering financial empowerment initiatives through the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA).
The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach is founded upon the tenet that for people to build sustainable livelihoods, they need to build assets (both tangible and intangible) across different domains of their lives. This wholistic approach integrates well with our Yarnin’ Money methodology and provides a framework for understanding the interconnectedness of self, and Self in relation to Others6.
Since 2020, ICAN has been integrating this approach into our financial counselling and capability service delivery. We spent 2021 testing and refining how the approach is delivered in our financial counselling work.
Our new Financial Capability Development Manager will lead us into 2022 and beyond, when we look at embedding cultural knowledges into the framework7 and commence development on our asset-building financial capability program.
This is a unique opportunity to create the new ICAN Thrive business unit from the ground up.
1 Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books Ltd.
2 Battiste, M. (2013). Decolonizing education: nourishing the learning spirit. Vancouver: UBC Press.
3 Daniels, C., Buli, E., Davis, A., O’Mally, J., & Pasco, B. (2019). Yarnin’ Money report 2019. Cairns, Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network Ltd.
4 Haiven, M. (2017). The uses of financial literacy: financialization, the radical imagination, and the unpayable debts of settler colonialism. Cultural Politics, 13(3), 348-369.
5 Grieves, V. (2009). Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy, the basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing. Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.
6 Graveline, F. J. (1998). Circle works: transforming Eurocentric consciousness. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
7 We look to models such the “First Nations Financial Wellness Framework” outlined in: Prosper Canada & AFOA Canada. (2019). “The shared path: First Nations financial wellness.”