Report Launch: Towards active engagement with CALD communities

Researchers from our MMIC team - including Dr Charishma Ratnam, Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes, Rebecca Powell, and Chloe Keel - are excited to launch the ‘Towards active engagement: Understanding how organisations are using technology to connect with diverse groups during COVID-19’ report. The report is from a recent project that examined how organisations, mainly based in Victoria, have been using digital platforms during COVID-19 to connect and engage with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

We present a range of findings and suggested next steps from interviews with a range of stakeholders, who work directly with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, including non-government organisations, educational institutions, community stakeholders and leaders, advocacy groups, multicultural organisations, local government representatives, and peak bodies. The research revealed insights about the strategies that have been implemented by these stakeholders to communicate important information and continue engagement with community members during periods of social isolation and physical distancing.

The research reveals the effectiveness of some of these strategies. For example, transitioning to online platforms has meant some organisations have had broader reach to regional and remote parts of Victoria, interstate, and even internationally. Moreover, while the use of online platforms to digitally engage has increased, some organisations have also turned to more traditional methods, such as through telephone calls, text messages, community radio, and television in multiple languages, to communicate important COVID-19 information.

Some steps around how organisations could pursue more active and intercultural engagement beyond the pandemic are also outlined in the report. These include: the development of engagement strategies to involve digitally excluded CALD people, evaluations of current digital engagement practices, formal training and capacity building for staff to continue digitally based engagement with end users, and understanding the effectiveness of health messaging between organisations and their end users.

This research and report stemmed from initial desk based research conducted by the MMIC research team, presented within this research brief titled, 'The role of technology to facilitate and support intercultural engagement'.

As part of Social Sciences Week, Dr Charishma Ratnam will join a panel of researchers from Monash Arts and Monash Education to present some of these findings in the context of ‘COVID-19 and Digital Disruption’. The session will be held on Monday 7 September. To register for this event, click here.

The full report is available here.