Families dancing for health

Project Number:  33703

Funding Body:  Healthway

Partners: Africa World Books Community Education – Peter Deng, Chairman; Elizabeth Gardiner, Secretary in Victoria; Victoria Mayuen Community Liaison

Healthway – Emily Welsh, Partnership Officer, Ishar Multicultural Women’s Service – Rachel Pearce, Manager Health Services.

Event and Program

The Families Dancing for Health project applied for funding because of a concern expressed by the Africa World Books Community Education (AWBCE) group; members were reporting that they are becoming unfit and overweight. AWBCE contacted healthway, as the premium Western Australian service, funding community health outcomes. We also contacted Ishar, Multicultural Women's Health Services, and partnerships were formed to apply for the funding to run a 7 week program of traditional dancing and healthway with all its Health resources, promoting healthy eating and the importance of exercise. Ishar would provide knowledge about the importance of a good diet., plus organise 6 Speakers who would attend the Hall and speak to the community members about issues affecting the daily lives of members.

Healthway has a large range of beautifully presented resources, especially those linked to the Live Lighter program, which we recognised would assist and inform the Families Dancing for Health program.

Additionally, Ishar would invite the 6 Speakers to attend and give information on certain health related relevant issues. Week 7 would be a celebration, with the dancers wearing traditional costumes. The healthway information would be given out to participants.   Healthway’s resources would be given out and would address issues of eating well, plus the importance of exercising daily would be covered. There would be video recorded, and drums would provide the rhythm and music.  Ishar offered a 4 week nutrition and cooking class for the women of the group. This was to run after the 7 week dancing project.

The project was unsuccessful, with community members not attending, mainly because the Community was too nervous about travelling to the Hall. Week One was attended by 8 people. AWBCE tried to overcome this disappointment by booking a Hall closer to the suburbs where the families lived. Unfortunately, the same thing happened again, with few attending. Both times, the main reason given by the few who attended was fear of the Covid 19 virus. The families did not want to mix closely together and despite the project having a Covid – safe plan, they did not attend.

Ms Pearce reported to AWBCE and healthway, that at some stage, she would still proceed with offering the 4 week cooking and nutrition program and felt that her Service had gained some benefit from the partnership. Ishar now has community contacts and has some better understanding of the group’s dynamics.

On week one, the project was delayed, because according to the few participants who attended, most of the community members, due to fear of the Corona Virus. Healthway amended the dates, which was generous of them. They gave permission for this and we expected families would attend because we still had all elements of the program. We signed an updated agreement with healthway.


Healthy Environment

AWBCE developed a comprehensive plan for being able to have families spending a few hours together, dancing. Halfway through each training session, a Speaker would be invited to deliver useful health information. These talks were supported very well by a large range of posters, booklets and recipes provided by healthway.

Free, bottled water was provided. Hand sanitisers were provided and seating arrangements were organised by AWBCE. A few tables were set out with the healthway articles laid out. Chairs were put 1.5 metres apart.

Week One failed to occur because of the fear, as community members told us. People also told us that the Hall was too far away, so Elizabeth Gardiner booked a different Hall, at a Secondary school which the group had already used for activities. Perhaps had this fact been picked up by the AWBCE workers, we might have been able to persuade the community members to come and try the program. As far as we were aware, there was no mention that people would not participate and we expected many people would attend.

Week Two also failed to be supported by community members.  Ishar came as organised. Ishar did a great job of preparing to run mid-session talks by experts. The Leadership group had all the promotional materials out on tables. We had envisaged speaking to the community members about the program, about the Living Lighter materials and Ishar’s resources. Week 2 was also abandoned. Ishar organised to send the healthway products back to them.

AWBCE is very grateful to healthway and Ishar for their preparedness to work with us. Our goals matched well with healthway and Ishar’s planned activities. We felt we had a good match and we feel very disappointed with the lack of good outcomes for our partners and ourselves.  We will return all “left-over” money to healthway.  AWBCE paid for several items from its own finances. Ishar used some of the funding and their receipts are part of this report.

Health Message Promotion Strategies

The project set out its Covid 19 Safety Plan, so people could read it. Other Covid information was available.

All the healthway information was available to attendees.

The first two weeks’ Health Plan was well supported by the healthway documents and information. Unfortunately, the Health Message Promotion did not get used by the few attendees, with the exception of a few support documents.

Flyers were prepared and printed out for attendees to take away with them about Ishar’s Nutrition program.

AWBCE was unable to run their prepared Powerpoint presentation, as there were so few people. Those who attended – 8 adults, left again after waiting to see if anyone else arrived. Week Two went the same way, even though we changed the Hall and hired Daniella Secondary College hall, which was known to the community group. That time, about 10 people arrived late and would not come into the Hall. They said they were afraid of Covid and their families catching it.

Financial Report

The first instalment was transferred by AWBCE in full to Ishar to cover the costs associated with their part. AWBCE paid for some items, e.g. An electric urn, from its own bank account.


The fact of the Covid 19 virus had a defining effect on this project. Despite changing the starting and conclusion dates, the project was unable to occur, due to fear expressed by the small numbers who attended at the start of two weeks.

Since those dates, AWBCE believes that more information about being Covid Safe and getting that message out to the cohort was too little, too late. And, that attendees were entitled to make decisions about participating.

The healthway messages are clear and beautifully presented and the information is very useful. We thank Ms Welsh for her suggestions and flexibility re changing dates. AWBCE is really disappointed that the project failed to achieve its plan.

AWBCE is very grateful to have worked with Ishar and Ms Pearce. We fully appreciate her input and advice throughout.  Ms Pearce and Ms Welsh were both helpful and professional and AWBCE is grateful for their being willing to partner with AWBCE.