Projects

VOICE - Victorian Online Initiative for Community Engagement

Building back better: A connected Victorian community

The Victorian Online Initiative for Community Engagement (VOICE) will consolidate the considerable work of Victoria’s multicultural communities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first of its kind globally, the initiative will include an open-access online platform on which community organisations, leaders and members can access tools, capability and networks required to build community engagement and cooperation during the ongoing pandemic response and recovery, and beyond.

Led by the Burnet Institute, in collaboration with key partners, VOICE will connect Victoria’s multicultural communities with world-class experts in public health, behavioural science, engagement, health communications and digital innovation, to rapidly identify their emerging needs and co-design and implement community-led interventions. The initiative will capitalise on Victoria’s pandemic response investment as we work together to build back better with a connected community now and in the future.

VOICE flyers

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of community engagement, particularly in communities suffering social and structural disadvantage, many of which are multicultural. We have learned that it is vital to engage with these communities early in each aspect of the response - to listen, to understand their experience and needs, and then support them to act – be that in following government guidelines, being tested or getting vaccinated. Without effective engagement, responses to critical COVID-related issues can be delayed, ill-equipped and even harmful to the whole community.

With support from the Victorian Government, Burnet Institute and its collaborators in the Optimise Study, as well as others, have shown that when we work with affected communities using co-design to inform the development and implementation of interventions, the programs are better, our communities feel safe, enabled and supported, and we can work together to meet the challenges before us.

Voice Videos

The Victorian Department of Families Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Multicultural Task Force has invested heavily in building the capacity, motivation and opportunity for multicultural communities to come together to define key issues and develop community-led responses.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.

In 2022, as we move into the next stage of the pandemic response and the recovery phase, there is a huge opportunity to build on and sustain the networks and capability that have been created to support Victoria’s multicultural communities to respond to the pandemic, plan for recovery and address critical issues in a timely way.

Moreover, knowledge about how to develop and sustain capabilities in multicultural communities will be transferable to other major health and social crises.

VOICE