ACE Aotearoa is the lead body that promotes best practice for adult and community lifelong learning. It also provides advocacy and direction for policy development and its implementation to its members and the wider adult and community education sector.
In alignment with Foundation North’s Pacific Strategy, ACE Aotearoa is delivering a three-year Pacific Capacity Partnership for 20 Pacific organisations in Auckland and Northland; its approach is based on an understanding of what it means to run a not-for-profit and charitable service. Many of the groups’ members have ‘day jobs’ and are juggling work, family and social obligations, whilst coordinating a community group voluntarily on the side. For others, they have inherited the responsibility through communal association, and are now required to meet governance, management and financial accountability overnight. For most, they have landed in positions with good intentions and passion, albeit not always with the necessary skills, experience, prior training or relevant qualifications behind them.
This project has given these groups an opportunity to access tailored professional development, starting with a self-assessment of organisation strengths and identifying areas for capability building. They then work with ACE Aotearoa to co-design a plan to tackle each priority, addressed through a series of workshops and individual mentoring.
Originally, the project responded to a need to support groups with the pre-application stage of applying for funding. Whilst this is still a key motivator for the groups involved, it has become apparent that the greater demand is for building the groups’ collective skills and knowledge, so that they can be better positioned in the future to not only apply for funding, but also be able to run the whole organisation. One of the biggest barriers has been language. Understanding funding terminology has been a challenge, and ACE Aotearoa builds understanding in the workshops and through mentoring contact.
“We are committed to a Pacific for Pacific model. Both the Project Manager and Lead Facilitator are Pacific with education and community development backgrounds. We have placed the Foundation North Pacific values at the centre, focused on good relationships with the groups, and applying a culturally responsive approach.”