Ko Awatea’s Health Equity campaign is helping Thriving Otara to achieve its vision of creating a future where all people in Otara are thriving.
Thriving Otara is an initiative led by a collective of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are engaging the Otara community in co-design to create a better future. The collective comprises Otara Health, the Otara Network Action Committee, Accelerating Aotearoa, Cross Power and The Roots.
The initiative aims to change Otara’s status as a socio-economically vulnerable part of South Auckland which faces high unemployment, poor health outcomes, educational underachievement and low living standards.
Engaging the Otara community to take responsibility for making change is key.
“We identified a set of indicators to measure how Otara was doing, and it wasn’t looking good. The problems were much bigger than our collective alone could possibly address,” says John Coffey, general manager of Otara Health and member of the leadership group for Ko Awatea’s Health Equity campaign.
In September 2016, the collective organised a hui of 80 community stakeholders to agree on a shared vision, indicators and measures of progress and performance. Stakeholders included representatives from Ko Awatea, the New Zealand Police, education providers, social services, Māori wardens and local board members. The five-hour hui confirmed the high-level vision, ‘All people in Otara are thriving’, and identified 10 population-level indicators covering education, health, economy, housing, income, and safety and security.
A further five hui were held between September 2016 and March 2017. The population-level indicators were assessed for suitability using the Results-Based Accountability framework, and refined to a final set of nine indicators. These included unemployment and family violence rates; education indicators, such as the percentage of Otara school leavers completing tertiary studies or trades; and health indicators, such as the percentage of Otara children who are free of tooth decay at age five. Baseline data was captured and explored to understand the story behind it.
“Where we weren’t happy with what the baseline data was telling us, we wanted everyone in Otara to look at what they could do differently, big or small, to improve the indicators,” says Mr Coffey.
Stakeholders present were encouraged to think not only about what they could do to improve the indicators, but about what stakeholders who were absent from the hui could do. In this way, people who could help were identified to be approached outside the hui.
Stakeholders set criteria to guide strategy selection and compiled ideas for ‘turning the curve’ into spreadsheets that recorded the details of idea, who had proposed it, who would be accountable for delivering it, and an assessment of its merits against the selection criteria. These criteria included consideration of whether the idea was feasible, specific, built effectively on other ideas, and avoided any unintended negative impacts on other indicators.
By the sixth hui, 65 actions had been agreed upon to form the initial Thriving Otara Action Plan.
“We’re looking to get a whole lot of things happening and then watch the indicators move,” says Mr Coffey.
“Ko Awatea’s Health Equity campaign ties in very well with this initiative. The projects that are happening in this campaign will have an impact on each of the indicators we need to move to achieve a thriving Otara.”