Cast your minds back to February, to the IPAA Victoria Leadership in the Public Sector Awards 2019 Ceremony – a night that, after a summer of fire, poured rain. Winners, finalists, and award partners gathered to celebrate the very best of the public purpose sector.Across an evening marked by joy and pride, there were few more memorable moments than when Khaled Abdulwahab addressed the audience following Flemington Works’ winning the Human-Centred Service Delivery Award, proudly partnered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Senior Community Engagement Officer at Moonee Valley City Council, Khaled spoke with the fierce passion and dedication that compels those who make a real difference to peoples’ lives.Along with Lauren Kerr, the initiative’s Senior Project Officer, Khaled is one of the driving forces behind this community-led program that supports jobs and small business growth for residents of the Flemington Housing Estate.Working with residents, particularly women and youth, they co-designed a program that recast endemic disadvantage as an economic issue, not a welfare one. In doing so, they exceeded expectations, so far securing employment for over 90 people.Despite this success, Khaled was not only surprised that the project won an award, but that it was nominated at all, saying “To be honest… you don’t do this for the limelight. When my colleague Lauren told me about us being nominated, I said ‘For what?’”This is the great privilege of the Leadership in the Public Sector Awards; IPAA Victoria can highlight the extraordinary work that goes on everyday across the sector; projects that change lives – not just today, but for years to come.As Lauren wrote, winning the award “really legitimized human-centred design as an approach which can deliver a range of positive impacts… when responding to wicked problems like unemployment.” What’s more, winning “has given us resilience, so we are better able to weather the set-backs and surprises of delivering on systems change initiatives.”Flemington Works gave us a truly beautiful moment that night, and we applaud their ongoing work.