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“It used to just be us watching the boys, following them all the time, now we got something for ourselves and something to call our own”

Garnduwa recognises the power of all sport in developing community leaders and community leadership. With the rise of AFLW, Aboriginal women across the Kimberley are coming together and forming teams despite limited resources. We want to harness the strength, resilience and motivation of the women in these communities to inform the work Garnduwa carries out in the Kimberley. This pilot project will be implemented through our Active Leaders program, which acknowledges and celebrates the strength and importance of Aboriginal culture and identity.

In the 2019 pilot project, Garnduwa will visit ten remote Kimberley communities and create a space to listen to the real and perceived barriers to sport. Workshops will include a combination of football drills and health and wellbeing education. The central aim of the workshops will be to build relationships and listen to Aboriginal women in community to therefore inform both Garnduwa's community sport and recreation plans and the Active Leaders Program. Garnduwa has the means to provide a culturally safe place to listen to community and represent the Kimberley as leaders capable of creating change. As a community controlled organisation, Garnduwa wants to support a grassroots led dialogue to ensure the voices of Aboriginal women are heard as the development of womens football grows across the Kimberley.

In exchange for our workshops, Garnduwa will collect and share the feedback with communities, local service providers, football support services in the Kimberley and other key stakeholders. The project will inform our official Garnduwa Active Leaders Program by further developing direct engagement with more communities. Football is a conduit for change, an opportunity for growth and the chance for Aboriginal women in the remote Kimberley to make their mark.

 

Mowanjum & Looma

 

Mowanjum

With over 50 participants, Garnduwa’s first ever Making Her Mark workshop was a success! Kicking off around 4pm on Tuesday, our Active Leaders Coordinator Layla introduced the team and the concept behind Making Her Mark. Layla was followed by professional WAWFL athlete Katherine Dann, who spoke about her journey growing up in Broome and playing in the West Kimberley Football League, to moving to Darwin and then Perth to play professionally. We were also accompanied by ‘Macca’, a past WAWFL Swans District premiership Coach who now lives in Broome and spoke about her own journey, and what football means to her. Together they ran some drills to get the girls’ heart pumping and conversation flowing. The overwhelming feedback from the Mowanjum Lady Hawks was that they loved the drills, and wanted to keep them as part of their regular training. The Lady Hawks were quick, agile and ready to play footy!

After our initial drills session, we broke up into groups and ran a ‘SWOT’ (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Training) workshop with facilitator Pepita Wilson. Throughout this yarning session, the women really opened up as we spoke about how women’s football has impacted the community. It was a great opportunity for Garnduwa to engage young women living remotely in the Active Leaders program, and to encourage an ongoing relationship with Garnduwa. Layla was also on the hunt for talented young women who want to pursue football with our Kimberley Spirit women’s program.

After more drills and more yarning, we ate a feed of salads and meat while Jarlyn Spinks from KAMS (Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services) delivered a workshop on how to prepare our bodies for games and training days, focusing on hydration, and what to eat before and after games. Lessons learnt that can be applied our everyday lives and shared with their families. The women and girls involved thoroughly enjoyed it and asked some great questions. We ended the workshop with Garnduwa’s Derby Active Communities Coordinator Fiona Smith delivering a guernsey presentation. Our Jobs and Skills Centre representative also ran a survey with women under the age of 25 to inform local stakeholders and organisations with current data about employment in the Kimberley.

The Making Her Mark team was so inspired by the determination and focus of women in community, and the willingness to share and engage with us. We left with a lot of information and ideas to share with local stakeholders, and we look forward to visiting again.

 

Looma

First stop on our Looma trip was the Looma RCS Home Economics room, where the team prepared a feed. We would like to thank Principle Guy at LRCS for allowing to use the space and being so hospitable. Around 4pm, the Looma Lady Eagles kick started their training with us and we followed the same format of drills, yarn, drills, yarn, feed.  

Our first yarning session was on the oval. The Lady Eagles spoke a lot about the positive impact footy had already had on their community, and for the women in the team. There were stories of people managing their diabetes better, losing necessary weight and feeling much fitter and happier. A lot of women acknowledged a newfound self-confidence and level of control of their health and wellbeing as a result of playing football. Stronger friendships and bonding amongst women in the community are developing and women displaying strong leadership qualities as a result of being a part of a team culture. We were also humbled to hear about the feeling of pride for Looma locals, and how they are inspired to maintain their oval and keep the community clean for home games and visitors.  

As the Lady Eagles are an established team in the WKFL, they already had a lot to share about some of the challenges and frustrations they have, including their strengths as a community and as a team and suggestions of how to build relationships with other women participating in the WKFL.

Garnduwa is especially proud of this flagship project and the positive feedback we received from community. We want to thank the whole Making Her Mark team for the incredible effort to get this project up and running. We would also like to thank Jarlyn Spinks from Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Looma Remote Community School, Beno Pindan, Lynley Juboy and Cindy Pindan from Looma. This would not have been possible without support from Fiona in Derby, Steve in Mowanjum for access to the Hall and the motivation of the women from Mowanjum.

East Kimberley

A team of 10 women travelled from Broome to the East Kimberley from July 28 – August 2 to deliver four consecutive Making Her Mark workshops in Wyndham, Warmun, Halls Creek and Yiyili.

This time the team was accompanied by West Coast Eagles star Cassie Davidson to share drills, skills and her story. Cassie is a Noongar woman from Perth and has a background working as a mentor with Indigenous kids.  She was a huge asset, and combined with our Kimberley AFLW role model Kat Dann they made a great team.

The most common story we heard was how footy has transformed the way girls and women in community engage with each other, and how it is bringing people together.


Wyndham

On Monday (July 28) Garnduwa travelled to Wyndham for our first workshop in the East Kimberley. It was a slow and steady start for the girls and women in Wyndham, by 3:30 we had around 20 participants ready to get their blood pumping and learn some new drills.

Layla introduced the program and team, handing the floor over to Kat and Cassie to talk about their journey playing footy professionally. They did a great job creating drills that were appropriate for girls aged between 5 – 40.

After drills, we moved onto our signature yarning sessions with Pepita Wilson, where the women and girls were asked to identify their strengths and weaknesses as a team, personally and as a community. Pep helped to unpack how team dynamics can play out in the community, and how each and every girl involved could be a leader on and off the field.

Jo Warren from Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Services then delivered a health workshop focusing on how to prepare your body for footy.

We want to thank the Wyndham community, specifically Shaye Taylor for encouraging girls and women to join in. Also Mark Timms, Chloe Gerrard, Alu Trust, Danni Woodhouse and Katie Tyson. It wouldn't have been possible without the strong community support so thank you!

Warmun

We had a huge turnout in Warmun as the ladies were gearing up for the EKFL Grand Final. After a full afternoon of skills and drills, the women in Warmun had a huge yarning session with us. We heard some great stories about the positive impact footy is having for women in community and we were pleased to see women who had come through Garnduwa's leadership program participating.

“I’m happy with the workshop we had today, it made me think about hopefully making it for AFLW. I learnt a lot with the food and exercise side of things. The training session was the best part, I just like getting out there and running around” Bianca (24)

Nicole from Kimberley Mental Health & Drug Services delivered for the awesome nutrition workshop, which was followed by a discussion with Cassie and Kat about their pre and post game meal plans. The feedback from participants in Warmun was overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of women saying they learnt a lot about when, how and what to eat and drink when it comes to playing footy.

Thanks to Mella for the big support in community, and to Sue Leonard and Dan Hughes for help on the ground.

Keep up the great work Warmun and congratulations on making the Grand Final in your first ever season!

Halls Creek

On Wednesday, the Making Her Mark team made it to Halls Creek. The session kicked off around 4pm with over 35 participants. We were joined by local women Darrilyn Gordon and Kimberley Pickett who came down to show their support. Atteya Thomas, captain of the Halls Creek Lady Hawks and nurse for Yura Yingi Aboriginal Medical Service was a huge help in encouraging girls to listen and join in the conversation.

Thank you so much to the Halls Creek Lady Hawks and supporting women/girls for coming down last week! We were so impressed with the listening, conversations and leadership qualities of the girls who came down.

A special thanks to Jarlyn from Her Rules Her Game, and Atteya from Yura Yungi for the deadly health workshop (and the gifts!). Siobhann Williams from Shooting Stars had a yarn with the MHM team about her experience growing up in Halls Creek, and her journey back to work as a role model for younger girls. Hearing how footy is impacting the lives of young women in Halls Creek is truly inspiring.

“even speaking to the elders in town, they told me that they think footy is going to help the younger girls and the older girls. All the girls talk about is footy, footy, footy. Now that AFLW is there, at least now these girls have something they can work towards” - Siobhann Williams

Yiyili

Our last stop on our East Kimberley trip was to Yiyili. We were struck by the enthusiasm and commitment of the Gooniyandi Goornboo, especially to give up drinking soft drink in August in a bid to raise money for the club. We would like to thank community elders Margaret and Barbara Cox for coming to oversee the workshops, and a big thank you to Erika for accommodating us. Also to Sandra Cox and Priscilla Gordon.

All of the women involved were happy to yarn with us and share their stories. Yiyili is such a vibrant, happy community and it was evident from all the smiles. After our skills and drills session (and a few photos with AFLW stars Cassie and Kat!) we gathered near the BBQ for a big healthy feed and yarning session. Everyone participated and helped themselves to our hearty salads. There are some amazing women getting the job done when it comes to club development, sponsorship and promoting camaraderie.

Well done to Bernadette who won the raffle for a brand new WAFL gurnsey and footy.

Everyone was so welcoming in Yiyili - it was a beautiful end to an amazing trip for Making Her Mark!