During October this year Tracy and Deb were excited to attend and present at the "First 1000 Days AustraliaSummit" - a three-day event in Brisbane that brought together early life educators, community organisations, social workers, researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and others aligned with the First 1000 Days Australian model.
World Health Organisation First 1,000 day's initiative acknowledges the time spanning roughly between conception and a child's second birthday, as a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the life span are established. In Australia, this international movement,which is nutritionally focussed, has been broadened out.A group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health researchers and practitioners headed by Professor Kerry Arabena, Chair of Indigenous Health at the University of Melbourne, have included child protection, early life literacy, the role and contribution of men and the range of other issues which impact on Indigenous parents and infants in Australia.
"We work to support parents in taking responsibility for our children, providing them with the best start in life and ensuring that the protective factors inherent in our culture and our strong familystructures areevident inour work with families,"(Arabena. K 2017 1000days Summit press release)
Presentations and workshops addressed areas including pre-conceptual education, caring and parenting, infant and child development, family strengthening including a focus on Indigenous fathers, implementation and translation, entrepreneurship and governance.
YFER's presentation focussed on sharing with the group, the power of timely pre-conceptual education, enhancing information uptake to assist in delaying a first pregnancy, which- if only for 1 year, can make a significant difference in the outcome for the mother and the child across the lifespan. The ability to access culturally appropriate, easily understood information shared by local women, as well as identify community support structures pre-conceptually, is a giant step forward on the path to improving the general community knowledge base and awareness of the complexities, challenges and choices which come with the journey to becoming a parent. The group enjoyed the images and video clips of YFER's work within the community of Nhulunbuy and Deb and Tracy were delighted to see some familiar COL faces in the audience!
For further information on other presentations at this summit or about Australia's First 1000 Days initiative please visit www.first1000daysaustralia.org.au