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Why Warriors Organisation

Harvesting on Homelands Project

Harvesting on Homelands Project

Harvesting on Homelands project is a local indigenous-led initiative that enables Yolngu people from Elcho Island, Nth East Arnhem Land to reconnect with thei...

australia > NT > regional
01/01/2021 > 31/10/2021


  • Supporting Indigenous Communities - Indigenous cultural preservation and promotion
  • Tackling Inequality - Health and wellbeing


  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or vulnerability


Harvesting on Homelands project is a local indigenous-led initiative that enables Yolngu people from Elcho Island, Nth East Arnhem Land to reconnect with their traditional practice of harvesting natural foods from land and sea to enhance physical and mental health and well being.

The Project sees the delivery of a series of camping programs, conducted throughout 2021 over 4 weekends and one extended 7 day program at traditional Homelands on Elcho Island.

Harvesting on Homelands project aims to:
– Deliver health education messages that teaches the link between achieving greater health and vitality through embracing a diet that consists of nutrient-dense whole foods and minimization of calorie-dense processed foods, including white flour and sugar.
– Reconnect participants with traditional food gathering practice as a means to supplement diet with affordable and accessible traditional whole foods in a remote community where higher rates of food insecurity contribute to higher prevalence of obesity and chronic disease
– Build community momentum for embracing healthy lifestyle choices through providing camping experiences that involve bringing together of families and community members harvesting foods and cooking in traditional ways
– Empower Yolngu staff to take the lead, demonstrate traditional harvesting skills and teach and encourage others in this traditional practice.


Key outcomes:
- Participants develop greater understanding of the link between good health and vitality with consumption of nutrient-dense whole foods that drives behaviour change to healthier diet and lifestyle
- The traditional practice of harvesting foods from land and sea is re-discovered and knowledge from community leaders is passed onto children and grandchildren
- Participants feel energized physically and mentally through consumption of nutritious bush foods and increase strength and cardio fitness through the physical movement required to harvest natural foods
- Supplementing diet with traditional foods that can be gathered locally assists in addressing the burden of food insecurity in remote aboriginal community
- Momentum among the Yolngu community to embrace healthy lifestyle change is strengthened
- Participants experience mental health respite and re-gain energy to cope with the multiple stresses of family and living circumstances in aboriginal community life.
- Local Yolngu staff are empowered and gain greater confidence in facilitation of Hope for Health programs

Profile of Why Warriors Organisation

Why Warriors Organisation

Why Warriors Org Ltd is a small charity that provides community led programs in remote Aboriginal communities with Yolngu and other Aboriginal people. The Hope for Health program is the current sole focus of the organisation, operating on Elcho Island in Nth East Arnhem Land.

Hope for Health aims to enable Aboriginal people to prevent and manage chronic disease for themselves and their families through informed and improved healthy diet and lifestyle choices. This leads to improved quality of life and longevity, through reduction of obesity and chronic disease morbidity. In the words of the Yolngu people, it is to re-awaken "Rom Walngaw", the Yolngu way to vitality.

Overseen by a Steering Committee comprising of senior Yolngu community leaders, Hope for Health combines traditional Yolngu knowledge with mainstream approaches to health (diet and exercise) in an integrated cultural setting that effects a transformational shift in behaviour and practice associated with healthy food choices and lifestyle.

Hope for Health delivers transformative dietary and well being experiences together with health education that provide the skills and knowledge to enable Aboriginal people to improve their health.

Key activity areas include:

1. Health Retreats
Health retreats are 14 day event that supports Yolngu participants in their desire to prevent or manage chronic disease. The retreat provides an integral first step for Yolngu people to participate in Hope for Health, providing an experiential and educational program that combines traditional knowledge, practice, foods and healing modalities with modern approaches to health and nutrition. Participation allows Yolngu people to feel the difference between poor health and good health and understand the primacy of food, nutrition and exercise in achieving better health.

2. Health Coaching
Individual Health Coaching, delivered by our local community health coaches provides on-going support and mentoring to participants for 3-6 months post retreat. Health coaches are supportive mentors who help guide and motivate participants towards healthy lifestyle behaviours, and to achieve their individual health goals.

3. Community Programs
A range of group programs are offered in local community to provide opportunity for Hope for Health participants to be supported in their health transformation journey. These programs include harvesting trips to gather nutritious bush foods available on local homelands, traditional community cooking events and physical activity programs.

4. Partner Programs
Hope for Health works collaboratively with local community organisations to co-deliver health and nutrition programs in community on Elcho Island.


Funding sourceAmount
Funding gap$37,401
Expense itemAmount
Program delivery$2,750
Consumables, Food$7,875
Local Staffing costs$19,118
Health Education facilitation$2,807
Return airfare Darwin-Elcho (educator)$850
Administration expenses$3,740

Support Harvesting on Homelands Project

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.