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Understanding the needs of multicultural communities (VOICE partnership)

Understanding the needs of multicultural communities (VOICE partnership)

It's difficult for multicultural communities to access the services and information they need. These communities face social and structural disadvantages and often need greater support. The Victorian Ongoing Initiative for Community Engagement (VOICE) aims to work with communities to understand their strengths, needs and challenges. We connect communities with public health and other technical experts.

VOICE is a Burnet-led partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), Monash University Action Lab, the Islamic Museum of Australia, Your Community Health and the Australian Multicultural Foundation. It has been supported by funding from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

From The Pasifika Voice Edit

Understanding needs and challenges

VOICE uses a combination of traditional and digital community engagement. We collaborate and partner with people in the community and working in the sector. We do this to make public health practice stronger for multicultural communities.

Our work includes:

  • talking with communities and service providers about current and upcoming public health needs
  • working together to solve problems during emergencies like floods, pandemics and fires
  • sharing best-practice information and methods
  • providing timely support, tools and advice based on evidence
  • developing a website (VOICEonline) designed with communities’ and service provider input.

Bringing services together

Community organisations told us that one of their greatest challenges is the disconnection between services. These challenges got worse during the pandemic. New public health strategies emerged quickly, but with limited funding. This made it harder to measure how effective these strategies were. VOICE was created to explore new ways of addressing public health challenges by: 

  • using community strengths 
  • sharing learnings 
  • growing impact 
  • amplifying unmet needs 
  • co-designing responses to new community problems. 

VOICE seeks a more sustainable and meaningful impact by supporting collaboration between communities, services providers and government.

Resources available

The outputs of this research are available on this page. We encourage service providers to use the worksheets and documents available or contact for more information.

'Bring our community up and forwards': Mental health conversations among South Sudanese young people in the south east of Melbourne
Darebin Muslim community survey 2022 results
Exploring mental health in communities: a facilitator guide
Mental health advice for the Muslim community in Darebin
Pasifika young people: a video
Rising from resilience: pandemic recovery needs and priorities of Pasifika youth in south-east Melbourne
Talanoa: COVID-19 pandemic and Pasifika young people
Voices from the pandemic: what we heard from service providers
Istock 1225017365

Benefits to the community

VOICE offers multicultural communities a platform to be heard and listened to. It helps service providers understand and adapt to the needs of multicultural communities.

Through workshops, surveys and initiatives like VOICEonline, VOICE has strengthened relationships between:

  • communities
  • service providers
  • public health practitioners
  • policy makers and government.

Burnet project team

Meet the project team. Together, we are translating research into better health, for all.