Evaluation of an Aboriginal Health Promotion Program: A Case Study from Karalundi


This paper describes the evaluation of the Karalundi Peer Support and Skills Training Program (WA), an Indigenous health promotion program aimed at enhancing self-esteem and reducing drug use among Aboriginal students. The processes and outcomes of the program were evaluated using qualitative data and a quantitative questionnaire developed for a similar project conducted among non-Indigenous students in New South Wales. The results of the evaluation were compromised by problems with the evaluation design, with the inappropriateness of the questionnaire, and because of the unsystematic nature of qualitative data collection. While the qualitative data suggests some positive outcomes of the program, on the basis of the data at hand it was not possible to formally demonstrate these. Although the results of the evaluation were inconclusive, this should not be interpreted as a failure of the program, but as a consequence of the design and implementation of the evaluation strategy. Through no fault of the community organisation which conducted the program, the evaluation methods employed were technically, culturally and financially inappropriate. The problems raised are not unique to this particular program. They lay with the inadequate assessment of project and program proposals by funding agencies, and the lack of support provided to Aboriginal community-based organisations. The paper proposes a number of steps that can be taken to address these problems and, in so doing, can help to better identify strategies for promoting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

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