Community engagement is when citizens within a community are invited into the decision-making process and play an active role in the discussions and deliberations regarding a project or program which may directly affect them. It’s something we’re really passionate about here at Pandanus because, over the years, we’ve seen exactly how beneficial it is for both the community itself and the corporate sector alike.
When it comes to engaging Indigenous communities, those benefits may not always be abundantly clear from the outset. This can deter the corporate sector from partnering with the community in the area, which from our point of view is a massive squandered opportunity.
Here’s what a company misses when they fail to engage indigenous communities in their projects.
- Far-reaching acceptance
Engaging the local community in a project increases the likelihood that it will be more readily accepted within the area. Traditional landowners and Indigenous communities will be far more willing to sanction a project when they have been included in the discussions and decision-making process. In some cases, this can reduce any delays which may result from native title concerns and cultural heritage preservation.
- More effective solutions
When a company draws on local knowledge by including the perspective of the local community and associated stakeholders, it sets them up to discover more practical, effective and long-lasting solutions. It also means they avoid the cultural faux pas of making decisions on behalf of another established and respected group of people. This not only benefits the project itself, but it also reflects positively on the company’s reputation.
- Access to a group of people with an in-depth understanding of the area
One of the primary benefits that we’ve found over our years of promoting community engagement is the transfer of knowledge. We wholeheartedly believe that there is so much to be learned from the ancient and rich heritage of Indigenous culture and lore. The local practices and protocols are derived from thousands of years of looking after the land. What are you missing if you choose not to engage the local community to gain a better understanding of the land you’re going to be working with?
- A local network of invested community members
When you have more people on the ground who are working towards a common goal, it’s more likely the project will be successful. The investment of the community itself can make all the difference throughout the entire project. It also increases trust and helps to improve communication and understanding within all sectors. This in itself can prevent future conflict from arising.
At Pandanus, we’re invested in helping establish strong and long-lasting community connections between corporate Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. With our network of key stakeholders and extensive experience in the field, we can help companies to map out the Indigenous landscape and start reaping the benefits of community engagement. To learn more about how we can help, get in touch with our team.