Clarifying our Role and Purpose

Following reconfirmation of our WEL Energy Trust funding, the Kaitiaki Advisory Board reflected on the wider messages we heard.  A key message was that people are not always entirely clear what we do. As now shown in our logo, the Waikato Wellbeing Project (WWP) is a research, knowledge and storytelling project focused on environmental and social equity in the Waikato.

Our work illuminates the deeper stories of our regional wellbeing challenges, to awhi the real-life initiatives, people and projects imagining, creating and leading positive alternatives to the status quo. The WWP is a suite of integrated focus areas and projects across the region, with the common theme of listening deeply and facilitating impact, through: 

  • Research on the region's pressing social and environmental wellbeing challenges, their upstream causes and innovative ways ahead

  • Wellbeing knowledge which brings together existing and new data and information at a range of scales and locations

  • Storytelling- shining a light to support the invisible labour which leads to tangible grass roots change in our communities

  • Advocacy and communications- to share the knowledge and insights we have gained and to encourage positive change

At present, our priority focus areas are on youth | rangatahi, food |kai and understanding of holistic wellbeing at a range of scales across the Waikato. In addition, within our resources, we use our toolkit to support change leaders and Manu Taki across the motu on a range of wellbeing initiatives including housing, health, waste minimisation, economic development, climate action, river and biodiversity restoration.

The impacts we are aiming to achieve are:

  • Better informed policy, funding and services in the Waikato

  • Whanau voice being heard- communities empowered and supported to make decisions about their future

  • More effective support and resources for communities and those working in the social, environmental and community sectors

  • Collective wellbeing leadership across all sectors of our communities

For us, it's all about listening to whanau voice and amplifying insights for impact.  We are researchers and enablers- using innovative tools to facilitate dialogue, data and insight generation and storytelling that all help to enact positive change.  We bring diverse groups together to create connections and synergies, highlight what resources are already available to support groups/orgs undertaking the work, facilitate conversations across organisational areas.

We uncover the wisdom and knowledge that is already present in our whanau and communities, augmented with additional insights we contribute. We work alongside community, philanthropic funding and for purpose organisations so they can create positive wellbeing impacts.

We go where there is mana, mandate and tika. We seek out those with energy for change and an invitation for us to join the kōrero. We listen to understand the challenge or the opportunity, and partner to work alongside and support local leaders.  We work with wellbeing leaders, groups and organisations to connect, access relevant data, develop vision and support leaders to work more collectively.

Theory of Change

Another piece of feedback we have received is that it isn’t always clear how what we do leads to outcomes and impact- what is sometimes called a “theory of change”. A theory of change describes the strategies, actions, conditions and resources that facilitate change and achieve outcomes. It’s an “if: then” explanation of what we do and how it works. We’ve captured the above description in the Theory of Change model and also the measurement framework in our business plan

Our theory of change builds on the vision, mission, purpose and goals of the WWP, and helps to identify what action we will take to contribute to these. It helps to clarify what value we will add, how we will work, as well as framing our stakeholders’ expectation of our impact. By clarifying our theory of change, we have better categorised how we will measure our activities, outputs and the outcomes these will have. Our theory of change and measurement framework will be kept under constant review.