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$3.7M awarded to rural community groups to build capacity and prepare for drought

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FRRR has awarded $3,733,324 to local organisations in 11 regions across Australia for 65 projects that will enhance the capacity and resilience of these agriculture-dependent communities in preparing for the impacts of future drought.

Funded through the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative, this is the second tranche of funding delivered through the Initiative’s Community Impact Program. The first tranche was announced last month.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead for FRRR says that the Foundation is always impressed by the fortitude and adaptability of rural people and their willingness to learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience.

The Initiative is designed to support locally-led organisations across 35 remote, rural and regional regions, identified as vulnerable to the impacts of drought.

Thanks to the Community Impact Program, these organisations will work together to deliver a range of projects, events, initiatives, training, capability building and small-scale community infrastructure projects to assist local people prepare for future droughts.

“The collaborative nature of the Community Impact Program has been well received by local groups,” said O’Brien.

As part of the Program, a facilitator has been employed in each region to support the lead community partner in engaging and communicating with key stakeholders, helping identify investments that are already happening locally and ensuring that the projects align with the community’s preparedness priorities.

“With the Australian Government’s support, these grants will create opportunities for these agriculture-dependent communities to increase social connection, strengthen network opportunities and identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience,” she added.

As part of the program, each region can also access tailored Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) leadership development activities.

ARLF Chief Executive, Matt Linnegar, says the leadership development supports the delivery of local projects and yields long-term benefits for the regions.

“We know that a multimodal approach of leadership development increases the impact the investments have in each region. In addition to the project funding, these leadership development activities build the social capital required to support the project and people in each region. We get to connect local networks, create a deeper sense of shared purpose and develop a capability that helps people to take action and address challenges and make the most of opportunities.”

Participants also gain access to the wider alumni network of the ARLF.

“It’s these connections that prove invaluable to people. When they’re stuck, there’s someone to ask for advice,” Linnegar explained.

A detailed list of grant recipients and their preparedness projects is on FRRR’s website.

Other elements of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative are also underway, including a Mentoring program, being led by ARLF. Work is also underway on the design of the network to connect leaders working on these projects across the country and FRRR is finalising the appointment of an expertise panel, which the groups awarded funding can draw on, if they don’t have locally qualified people with the skills they need.

In addition, there will be small grants on offer in areas that aren’t covered by these Community Impact Program grants, which will open early next year.

Learn more about the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative at

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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