Wangaratta social worker Donna Taggart is one of 26 participants selected in the Drought Resilience Leaders Program, aimed at developing a network of forward thinkers within their local communities.
With a career and interest in mental health, in particular grief and loss, Donna brings an invaluable community leadership element to the program and her region.
“We can all lead by example. I think we need to identify the issues, impacts and what can be done at (different levels) of community”, she says.
Together with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, the Future Drought Fund is providing individuals with the opportunity to harness their leadership skills to help locals in their region. Through evidenced-based facilitated sessions, participants just like Donna, are inspired to see the impact that a supported, well-connected community can make to improve mental health.
“I saw an opportunity where I could potentially be able to support a cohort of people dealing with the grief and loss that comes from the impacts of drought. I hope to provide a safe space for the community to meet the community’s needs first and foremost.”
“I really do believe education is the key to all things, hence, if we can all learn about drought: the causes, impacts and most importantly, preparedness – then we can all be more resilient for future droughts and better support each other.”
Donna’s work in the Drought Resilient Leaders program demonstrates how drought resilience can only come about when all aspects of the community build a ‘village’ of networks.
“I would be very proud to lead and encourage as many others to get on board with this particular program, so they can be part of drought resilience, and preparedness. It (the program) really impressed me and is congruent with my vision of how I want to support the community psychosocially. The days were action packed, and I found some components challenging and others, surprisingly fun.”
“I think the benefits of learning about how different people at different levels are impacted can only be advantageous and have a ripple effect.”