Yarnin’ Money….in two worlds

YM-npaIn early December, the Yarnin’ Money team visited the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) of Cape York to deliver the first “Yarnin Money with the Mob” training under “Yarnin’ Money”, ICAN’s three-year financial literacy outreach program.  The Yarnin’ Money program, funded by Financial Literacy Australia and the Department of Social Services, seeks to assist remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop financial literacy skills through a culture-centred training model, which recognises existing cultural worldviews and knowledge as the foundation to build new skills. “Yarnin’ Money with the Mob” training is the community-based delivery stream of the program that runs parallel to its local service provider counterpart delivered to NPA community service organisations earlier this year. In order to achieve the widest impact in the NPA, ICAN teamed up with My Pathway’s Remote Jobs and Communities Programme, who organised for ten student participants to undertake the training.

The training takes participants on a journey through their own timeline, to understand where and how money fits into one’s own cultural worldview and centres discussion on how histories and life events impact our view and use of money.  It also features group discussion of the impact of financial and consumer issues at a personal level through the ‘Yarnin’ Money Wheel’ exercise, where participants were able to explore the issues unique to their community.

Eddie Buli, co-developer and facilitator of the Yarnin’ Money Program, discusses how introducing a new photo narrative activity into the training for the first time, has assisted students to pass on the yarn.  “The Photo Narrative activity facilitates trust in a culturally sensitive environment for participants and trainers, with an emphasis on listening, storytelling and sharing,” he said.  “As a training facilitator, it’s important not to try to control the yarn in an environment where members feel relaxed and comfortable to communicate their individual experiences with money and their personal financial goals.

“The process of yarning as a form of Indigenous knowledge exchange and teaching is the component we want to emphasise,” Eddie explained. “In the right environment, learning can occur when one person can pass on that yarn, through telling stories and sharing information, which has always been part of our traditions.”

presentationThe importance of yarnin’ in financial literacy education for Indigenous peoples, was recently highlighted at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholder Forum in Sydney in late November.  With a theme of ‘Innovation’, the Forum brought together over 150 key stakeholders from the government, business, community and education sectors who are working to improve Australians’ financial literacy*.  ICAN was invited to discuss how the Yarnin’ Money program innovatively meets the challenges ICAN faced with limited resources, to effectively deliver a meaningful financial literacy outreach program to Cape York and Torres Strait communities, in ways that can make personal connections for participants.

Eddie Buli explained how those connections occur through connecting ‘old’ knowledge of cultural worldviews, with ‘new’ knowledge in financial literacy education.  “Connecting ‘old’ knowledge (our culture) with new knowledge (financial literacy) can create personal meaning for people where they are building upon what they already know, to learn new skills within a cultural framework” said Eddie, who presented at the Forum.  He further explained how the process of ‘yarning’ is utilised in the training to facilitate those connections.

“’Yarnin’ takes participants on a journey to look and see money – and money issues – from a historical, cultural, personal, family and community view,” Eddie said. “The delivery of the training is about our mob, our communities, our style, our yarn and the way we yarn.”

“If the training provides just a meaningful Yarnin’ Money moment for someone and that experience is shared on, if we can see how that information has an impact first at an individual level, and how it grows to the family and community levels – then that’s the yarn.”

The Yarnin’ Money team received positive feedback from their first “Yarnin’ Money with the Mob” training delivery in the Northern Peninsula Area, which differs from their first NPA training delivery to local community service providers.  “Students asked for one-on-one time with the facilitators to work on their individual budgets and asked about future, ongoing financial literacy training, including online options for taking the training course” said Jon O’Mally, Yarnin’ Money Facilitator.

The Yarnin’ Money financial literacy outreach program aims to overcome geographical barriers 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 (Yarnin with the Mob). 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.

ICAN’s Indigenous Financial Counselling Mentorship Program was also featured in MoneySmart’s new video “Building the financial capability of individuals, families and communities”, which was launched at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholder Forum, watch below.

The next Yarnin’ Money training will be delivered to the Western Cape communities: Mapoon, Weipa and Napranum in May and June 2016.

Financial Literacy Australia (FLA) is a not for profit organisation committed to advancing financial literacy in Australia. See http://finlit.org.au/ for more information.


ASIC – National Financial Literacy Stakeholder Forum 2015