cyi and Puuya sign the MOU

Cape York Institute forms partnership with Puuya Foundation

More than three decades ago, elders from Lockhart River community spearheaded the creation of the land rights campaign. Earlier this month, with the same commitment, Cape York Institute (CYI), and the Puuya Foundation Lockhart River, signed a memorandum of understanding, marking the beginning of a new partnership.

For more than 18 years, CYI has been working with and listening to the voices of Indigenous communities of Cape York to develop policies and innovations that build local capability, empowerment, and economic opportunities. Sharing a similar vision, the Puuya Foundation, established in 2008, is a locally led organisation offering a range of support services, with the aim of developing everyday leaders to empower local communities.

The MoU brings CYI’s team of experts in policy, innovation, leadership, language and reform, as well as the infrastructure of more than two decades of innovation to support the work of the Puuya Foundation. The organisations will collaborate to identify opportunities to advance the work of the Puuya Foundation to support the community of Lockhart River.

signing of the MOU

Chair of Puuya Foundation, Dorothy Hobson (left) and CYP Group CEO Fiona Jose sign the memorandum of understanding

“We’re very excited about the opportunities this partnership will create for the Lockhart River community, to not only empower individuals and families but to ensure the community’s future success”, said Ms Jose, Cape York Partnership Group CEO.

Dorothy Hobson, Chair of the Puuya Foundation, also saw the signing as a step forward for her community.

“For both sides, this partnership was, and always will be, about providing opportunities for the people of Lockhart River. Our foundation was created by the local community to control our local work in educating our children and building strong families.” said Ms Hobson. Combined with the resources of CYI, I’m confident my community will be the big winners from this partnership.”

Speaking around the products and services CYI could help deliver in Lockhart River, CYI CEO, Kirsty Davis sees great potential.

“The MoU will bring a suite of Opportunity Products to families and individuals of Lockhart River, that currently are available to other Cape York communities. These products unlock the potential for our Lockhart River families to save for their children, homes and ensure they are best placed to have control of their future,” said Ms Davis.

“Having already joined forces with Cape York Employment, The Puuya Foundation has been working closely with the team from CYP and CYI since the start of this year. We are already seeing families signed up for Pama Platform, receiving nudges to encourage better planning and being rewarded with incentives. This partnership builds on this with a shared office within the Kuunchi Kakana Centre to build the capability of the team and support the growth of the Puuya Foundation’s work.”

 We are committed to seeing this partnership prosper.

CYI CEO Kirsty Davis

Given the early signs of success, the partnership could see further programs, workshops, and events delivered to the Lockhart River region, developing skills and creating leadership opportunities to enhance the community’s collective voice and visions for the future.

Ms Davis also has one eye to the future and how this MoU could be the catalyst for how CYI can empower more communities throughout Cape York and Australia.

“We are committed to seeing this partnership prosper,” said Ms Davis. “If successful, it will become a blueprint for how CYI partners with other communities to support their local development agendas and the work we’re already seeing on the ground through Pama Futures. It will also facilitate conversations across the Cape, and across the nation that provide greater opportunities for community led organisations to work in partnership to build their work and access greater support.”



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