Our Approach

When a community sets their own goals, they have a much better chance of success. It’s why our community development approach is so unique and effective.

Our partnership approach 

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been excluded from participating in many aspects of Australian life for too long.

Australia’s history is littered with examples of Indigenous programs that are top down and welfare-focused, in which end users are passive recipients of aid. Nothing much changes for the better and people are no less dependent.

ICV does things differently by giving people control of development decisions and by respecting local knowledge and input. We aim to help create a better and brighter future for Indigenous Australians so they may fully participate in, and benefit from, the advantages enjoyed by all Australians.

ICV’s work is built on guiding principles

ICV believes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold the keys to solving their own challenges. We provide the opportunity and support they need to make it happen.

Community ownership: ICV works with Indigenous communities that request our help to raise their health, wellbeing and self-sufficiency. Our role is to support communities in their own initiatives, with skills and resources not usually available.

  • Long-term sustainability: Many challenges communities face are complex, transgenerational and take time to address. ICV makes long-term commitments when partnering with communities, which may involve developing multiple projects over many years. Each activity is designed to ensure it meets the long-term, overarching objectives of the community.

  • Relationship driven: ICV helps connect and strengthen relationships and local resources. These relationships can be between community members, government, businesses and non-government organisations. Our Community Development Officers and volunteers work in the field to build meaningful and respectful relationships with communities.

  • Asset-based development: ICV takes an ‘asset’ rather than a ‘deficit’ approach to development. We work with communities to help recognise and develop their existing skills, resources and knowledge. 

  • Reconciliation in action: ICV connects Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, providing a platform to share cultural knowledge and skills. Our community development activities promote two-way understanding and respect. Reconciliation is at the heart of all of ICV’s work.

How We Work


Indigenous communities invite ICV to listen to what they need


Community members work with ICV to develop their ideas


ICV pools expertise and resources from local networks


Skilled ICV volunteers help communities achieve their goals


Reflection of what worked and what more is needed

For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the simple things in life, like a good job, healthy children and a happy family, are still just a dream.

Together, we’re making dreams come true.

Get Involved