Skip to Content

The Year in Inclusive Prosperity

Enhancing participation, belonging and inclusion.

We are richer as a society when all groups have a voice. We value the knowledge of our First Nations people and their connection to Country. We recognise the experience of different voices and we all benefit because we learn how to think differently.

Inclusive Prosperity is an emerging strategic domain for MSDI. Our aim is to empower communities to thrive, to create space for leaders and change-makers from different backgrounds, and to reform systems in order to listen to and promote marginalised voices.

We need to be deliberate that the change processes we’re going through are inclusive. As the world strives to build back better, at MSDI we’re making sure that economic development is connected to social and environmental development.

Equity in policies, programs and projects

People with disability used innovative coping strategies to survive the pandemic in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

MSDI, the Faculty of Law, the University of Melbourne and The Australia-Indonesia Centre, in partnership with Universitas Hasanuddin and PerDIK, a non-government organisation working with people with a disability, conducted the first in-depth analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on the daily lives of people with with disability in South Sulawesi. The study spoke with 86 people, including men and women with disability, as well as community leaders, government officers, and policymakers. A resilient community: Tackling COVID-19’s impact on people with disability report makes seven key recommendations on government priorities to assist people with a disability. This work will be important for rethinking disability-inclusive and gender-specific disaster policies in Indonesia.

Our Water for Women project work also continued in 2021, thanks to strong, equitable and rigorous partnerships with our Fijian and Indonesian colleagues. Funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Water for Women fund, our project is a partnership between MSDI, the Faculties of Law as well as Art, Design and Architecture, Universitas Husanuddin, University of South Pacific and Emory University. The project examines the gender-responsive participatory design of water and sanitation services for urban informal settlements in Indonesia and Fiji, as an add-on project of the RISE program. The data will inform a toolkit that will help water infrastructure projects worldwide to incorporate a focus on all genders and marginalisation, avoid a colonial model of development, and find opportunities for capacity building for more sustainable and inclusive outcomes.

Learn more about our work in this space:

A resilient community: Tackling COVID-19’s impact on people with disability

Water for Women

Model of development

The Social Inclusion Index is a partnership between BehaviourWorks Australia and Inclusive Australia.

For the last three years we have produced an annual Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index report that measures social inclusion, prejudice and wellbeing. The data is collected from around 2,000 people who are representative of the broad Australian population. The report results were reported in news outlets such as SBS and The Guardian. This year’s report revealed higher discrimination against young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It also found that, regardless of the pandemic, social inclusion was resilient. In fact, people’s connection to Australia has improved. There wasn't any significant increase in levels of prejudice. And wellbeing has stabilised, which means that people remain equally satisfied with their life.

Learn more about our work in this space:

The Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index

Case studies

Leave No One Behind

The Leave No One Behind program inspires and supports students who want to do good in the world.

The program helps demystify entrepreneurship for secondary and tertiary students by giving them a toolkit to look at a social problem, understand it, develop a solution, test their concept with potential customers, adapt it, and create change.

The participants learn important innovation and entrepreneurship skills around critical and creative thinking, and problem solving. At the end of the program they present a three minute pitch to a panel, demonstrating their solutions to a social question that inspires them.

In 2021, over 100 students participated in the kick off event for the program, the Social Innovation Summit, and 60 students participated in the program. The winning teams included Making Waves, a social business empowering women to take up space through surfing and in their communities and Food for Life, who are tackling childhood obesity by offering children’s birthday parties where children cook and share a healthy meal together. The parties subsidise cooking courses for low-income families.

“We had a dozen incredible pitches from students who have a burning desire to provide actual innovative solutions to some of society’s major challenges including homelessness, racism, youth obesity, mental health, affordable housing, sustainable living, gender equality in sport, diversity and inclusion and even world peace. Inspirational stuff!” – Pitch judge, Tim Marchinton, Founder and Director of Purple Soup

“Our team wanted to create a social space that facilitates the exchange of life experiences with people across class, race and social status. The idea is to help university students build a mutually beneficial relationship with people who have lived through hardships in their lives. This is so university students can co-design better solutions that address the needs of the people they are trying to help.” – Participant, Jesslyn Lan

“I worked in a diverse team when four of us are from completely different disciplines: business, architecture, psychology and science. The whole process taught me 'patience'. I was impatient when a three-hour meeting didn't leave us with any agreement. But going slow resulted in the best idea at the end. It was great fun working together as PACT Sustainability. My Saturday actually feels a bit weird without our three-hour weekly meeting.” – Participant, Ha Chi Ngo

MSDI Capability: Build capacity and empower leadership by building the skillsets and mindsets for effective action, enabling people to lead from where they are.

The Method book

BehaviourWorks Australia is sharing a suite of accessible behaviour tools and learnings for free through the release The Method Book.

In 2021, by the first day of every month, the BehaviourWorks Australia team wrote and published an online chapter of The Method Book; a practical list of research and decision-making tools for practitioners that will increase the chances that any behaviour change efforts will be effective. The Book is based on our extensive experience of applying different behaviour change skills and approaches in partnership with government and industry across a range of contexts.

There have been close to 30,000 views of the chapters throughout 2021, which have also been shared across multiple social media channels. Some government staff have also used The Method Book to form internal organisational book clubs. We can’t reveal the identity of the government departments, so you’ll just have to imagine who!

Each chapter shares key knowledge and learnings that make up the core of the BehaviourWorks Australia Method across different project phases, from unpacking the problems to sharing key learnings about “what worked” to address the problem. The book provides practical case studies to demonstrate The Method in action and there are also links to more useful resources.

The online Method book is the first version and BehaviourWorks Australia plans to update the chapters and publish a printed second edition.

MSDI Capability: Understand and influence behaviour by developing tools and frameworks to diagnose problems and guide action.