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More Than Money



Janet Murray shows the ICAN team the Sustainable Livelihoods Model

ICAN and
the Financial Counselling Association of Queensland (FCAQ) hosted Janet Murray,
the head of a new Canadian not-for-profit social enterprise, Sustainable
Livelihoods Canada (SLC), earlier this month. During her stay, Janet conducted two
full-day workshops at the annual FCAQ conference and ICAN’s Cairns office. The
intensive workshops provided Queensland’s financial capability practitioners and
the ICAN team an opportunity to explore the philosophy behind the Sustainable
Livelihoods model.

The ICAN Team at FCAQ Conference

The sustainable livelihoods philosophy

described the model as a holistic approach to poverty reduction, that addresses
people’s social and economic exclusion, by promoting community organisations’
capacity to build resilience and livelihoods. 

program development team witnessed the Sustainable Livelihoods model in action
during a Canadian study tour in 2019. Aaron Davis, ICAN CEO, said “When we
visited SEED and Momentum, two of Canada’s premiere community economic
development organisations, the sustainable livelihoods model really stood out
as an integral component to achieving both successful and measured outcomes. We
also felt that Sustainable Livelihoods married well with Yarnin’ Money’s
strengths-based approach.”

explained how Sustainable Livelihoods is becoming a movement in response to the
increased “siloing” and institutionalisation of front-line client services in
Canada. “We’re aiming to swing the pendulum back towards more holistic,
people-centred services, starting where people living on low-incomes are really
at”, said Janet. “Social development services in Canada often focus on narrow,
unrealistic outcomes that force front-line workers to skip over critical,
‘up-front’ foundation building with marginalised people.”

Sustainable livelihoods model grew from an evaluation

“Sustainable Livelihoods was originally adapted to
front-line work with people living on low-incomes as a part of a national,
multi-site evaluation”, said Janet. “The asset mapping tool was developed
as a way of engaging front-line staff as “Practitioner Researchers”
who did pre/post interviews with a sampling of their clients.  To
our surprise, they loved using the holistic tool and saw that the practice
itself had an impact on client results.”

“They began using it in their day to day work, and
organisations started coming to us with requests for training in the methodology,”
said Janet. “Evidence from our evaluations of over 10 projects has confirmed
that the practice improves outcomes.” 

On ICAN & ICAN Learn’s Sustainable Livelihood
implementation strategy

“I had a really productive planning day with the amazing
ICAN team,” said Janet. “ICAN has grasped the concepts underlying Sustainable Livelihoods
and moved quickly to explore ways of using the framework and tools, and even
come up with a number of innovations.”

“I was most impressed by the sophistication and
sensitivity of the emerging strategy to implement Sustainable Livelihoods,”
said Janet. “It gives ICAN staff time to use and become comfortable with the
concepts and process before moving on to engage clients. I believe that
this ‘patient’ approach will be more effective at getting people on board, and
will result in an approach and language that are adapted to your local context
and work.”

“This is our first international gig and I can see
that there is potential for long-term collaboration, mutual learning and
partnership,” said Janet. “I’m looking forward to seeing what innovations you
make with the model in the financial coaching space in Queensland!”

Visiting Cairns, North Queensland

“Wow! Cairns is a wonderful place! My partner Bruno
and I can’t thank you all enough.” 

“Around my work with the FCAQ and ICAN, we managed to do two wonderful trips to the reef (the Frankland Islands, in particular, were spectacular), a hike at Mossman Gorge, the Market at Port Douglas, a concert at the Tanks, and much more.  I’ve been surprised at how little Canadians know about Australia and will go back as an ambassador for your lovely community.”

“Thanks so much to Aaron, Jon, Carmen and all the ICAN
staff for their warm welcome and outstanding hospitality!”