August 23, 2021

We have a vision to keep our country healthy but how do we know if we’re doing a good job?

Over the past two and a half years ASRAC has been working on a country-based monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to help track progress against the Healthy Country Plan. Through the Intercultural Monitoring and Evaluation Project (IMEP) ASRAC has worked with Bush Heritage Australia, Charles Darwin University, CSIRO, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Environmental Systems Solutions, and others to develop strategies, indicators, a monitoring toolbox, database, and appropriate governance structures. The Arafura Swamp Rangers IMEP Community Report is now available to share.

“Monitoring and evaluation is about making strong relationships between rangers, clans and landowners, and our partners and supporters. When Yolŋu make cycad bread we first go out together, collect the cycad nuts, and sort out the good ones from the bad ones. With monitoring and evaluation we are going out, collecting the information, sorting it out and making sense of it, and then using it to share stories about healthy country” – Solomon O’Ryan

As ASRAC works towards the designation of the Arafura Swamp Indigenous Protected Area, rangers will continue to develop M&E systems and provide ongoing support for clans and traditional owners to care for their country.

“We are always looking to see if Country is healthy. What’s in the woodland, the water, the fish, and the water yam. Everything. Balanda way you call it ‘monitoring and evaluation’ but in Ganalbiŋu, my mother language, we might say: Ngalimi’lim nyamak ga lim marŋgi’yirrarrk ga lim gatjanmak ngirri, ngälimalkuŋ gundjarrkuŋ ga mar’muŋurkung ngirri limala (looking, knowing, and holding our Country, our father’s and grandfather’s land)” – Mali Djarrbal