Landmark Indigenous women's group turns 10

THE Aboriginal Women's Advisory Group (AWAG) celebrated 10 years with a luncheon at the CWA Hall this week.

About 20 women from the community celebrated AWAG's luncheon.

Among them were four original members of the founding group.

AWAGS was formed in May 2003 and is managed by the Family Planning NSW Dubbo centre, which provides access to reproductive and sexual health services.

Dubbo centre manager with Family Planning, Ann Ryan, said AWAG catered to the Aboriginal community and in its 10 years had introduced specific clinics for Aboriginal women.

"We've recently conducted our strong family project, which developed an education program for Elders and youth to create learning pathways for Aboriginal health workers and other community members as well as increase access to clinical services in Jinchilla," Ms Ryan said.

The group meets bi-monthly to advise, support and offer recommendations on the creation of partnerships with local Indigenous services.

"We also partner with organisations and Aboriginal community people including government and non-government agencies to promote reproductive and sexual health services," she said.

"We run programs past the group as a sounding board before we proceed with programs in order to see if they actually do need it.

"An example is our adoption of SMS texting message for reminders, which has been really good," she said.

Ms Ryan said attendance at group meetings varied.

"Sometimes we talk about increasing rates of teen pregnancies and if the teens are unhappy then we talk about how we can reach out to help them or if they are happy then how we can keep them happy,"?she said.

"I hope AWAG continues to keep its vibrant group, which reflects a variety of aspects from the community and the services it offers."

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