The ICAN team is Yarnin’ Money!

ICAN staff in Cairns and Townsville recently underwent training through its “Yarnin’ Money” Program, to become trainers in the new outreach program aimed at providing financial literacy tools and skills for local service providers and community residents in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Far North Queensland. The Yarnin’ Money program, funded by Financial Literacy Australia, seeks to assist remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to developing financial literacy skills through a culture-centred training model, which recognises existing cultural worldviews and knowledge as the foundation to build new skills. And now, the ICAN staff are yarnin’ money too.

ICAN decided to integrate its Yarnin’ Money program into staff development, with the aim of having staff become trainers of the program, to provide a wide range of knowledge, skill and delivery styles under the program. It was further identified in ICAN’s early evaluation that the program would benefit by having both male and female trainers when delivering to remote Indigenous communities.

YM_Staff_Training_smThe first staff training was held in Cairns on August 7th, where the trainers tested its Yarnin’ Money Wheel and Timeline activities with the staff. Following on from its evaluation feedback from delivering training in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), the trainers incorporated a new activity involving telling personal narratives through photos. Cairns Staff Leeanne Griffiths and Sandy Rosas discuss some of the highlights from the staff training:

“A highlight of the training for me was the ‘Yarnin Money Wheel’. Not only was it visually effective, but the whole concept was excellent and relevant to Indigenous communities,” said Leeanne, ICAN Financial Counsellor.

“The idea that the ‘tread’ was where an individual was at in their current situation depending on how their budget fared and what issues (spokes) were present as to whether they were able to move forward, stagnate or reverse into further financial stress.

“If a person begins to track their money by using a budget, this may result in achieving momentum to reach their personal short-mid-long term goals.”

Sandy Rosas discusses the benefits of learning to use the timeline activity in training. “My colleagues Edward Buli and Jon O’Mally presented an outstanding Training Session showing staff a great new concept in helping our mob in the communities to maybe gain a better understanding of their financial responsibilities, through a timeline activity.

“During this training session, Edward drew a ‘Timeline’ on the white-board that represented his life span. He explained how his life only consists of the time that he was born to the present time, but then he extended the line backwards to show way before his time on the timeline, there was his parents life and before that his grandparents, then his great great-grandparents and so forth. He said he could go around the world thousands of times to show how far our people go back in history. What really hit me was when he said ‘We are a RESILIENT people’.

“If we as Aboriginal peoples can withstand all of what we’ve had to endure and fight against over the past and present years, I’m sure our mob can soldier on and overcome the financial issues that we face in our communities.”

class_townsville_smThe Townsville training was held on August 26th and was received well by the staff. A huge success was the narrative photo and timeline activities. Participants understood the importance of creating a yarn and get people to talk about their life experiences that in turn have an impact on their financial situation.

The Yarnin’ Money financial literacy outreach program aims to overcome geographical barriers by providing local financial literacy training coupled with ongoing support, by connecting ICAN’s financial counselling and literacy services to remote communities across Australia. The program, which will be delivered to twelve communities over three years, focuses on three delivery strands: Yarnin’ Money (Service Provider), Yarnin’ Money (Resident). Both training programs will eventually be expanded into online professional development (train the trainer) programs for financial counselling/capability workers and community services providers nationally. The Yarnin’ Money team will be heading to Thursday Island (in the Torres Strait) to provide its next training session in mid-September.

Financial Literacy Australia (FLA) is a not for profit organisation committed to advancing financial literacy in Australia. See for more information.