Eating well can be hard. Put yourself in a remote area of Australia, in some of the most remote communities in the country, and eating well gets a whole lot harder. Imagine English is not for first, possibly not even your second or third language, and it’s harder still!
This is where we come in. The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is working with Anangu (Aboriginal people on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands) in some of Australia’s most isolated communities, to support people to improve their health through eating better.
Community led initiatives have the most impact and this is why we are supporting existing Aboriginal owned and directed organisations to boost their ability to have positive results on health.
Indigenous Australians die about 10 years younger than non-Indigenous Australians (1). But it’s not all bad news – we can do something to turn this around! Many of the causes for people’s shorter life expectancy can be related to nutrition (2).
To achieve the goal of better health for Anangu, we need your help.
The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation was started to raise the much needed funds to run positive programs and support Indigenous Australians improve their health through improved nutrition.
The Mai Wiru Regional Stores Policy was developed in 2000-2001 and showed the dramatic change over time in where people on the APY Lands were sourcing their foods, as well as what was available and its cost to community members. As a result, the Mai Wiru project commenced work with the community owned stores and improve food security (the availability and affordability of healthy food and essential items every day in the local store).
Fast forward to 2014 and Mai Wiru has incorporated into an Anangu owned and directed store management body that is independent of government funding and is managing 5 stores on the APY Lands. Although it is an ongoing task, the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council has assured food security in the stores it manages.
Having healthy food available does not mean people choose to eat that food all the time, or even most of the time. This is where the Foundation comes in. Our programs are developed and designed in an inclusive and sharing way – taking the best everyone has to offer to ensure the best outcomes for community members.
Starting in the western communities the nutrition program will ultimately employ two Nutritionists, one to support Pipalyatjara & Kalka, Kanypi and Amata (West) the other to support Ernabella, Kaltjiti, Mimili and Indulkana (East).
The main objectives of the Nutritionists are to engage with community, and to provide education and support the Nutrition Store Workers to implement the nutrition program objectives.
Nutrition Store Workers
Starting in the west, to compliment the Nutritionist’s scope, a local Nutrition Store Worker will be identified and engaged to work approximately 20 hours per week in each store, implementing the nutrition program objectives. (5 positions in total)
Nutrition Program strategies
Coordinated and consistent approach
Supporting other Foundation programs as they are implemented
The Healthy Living Focus Group originated as a concept from the Pipalyatjara community. A local Anangu woman, Inawintji Scales (Ina) attended a retreat on the east coast. During her stay Ina was given intensive education on the benefits of good nutrition and how to put this into practice. Her body’s responses were measured through medical tests at the start and end of the period.
We put all proposed programs through a tough scrutiny process and have borrowed some of our validity tests from other organisations:
While making “That Sugar Film…” (2015), Director, Damon Gameau returned to the APY Lands and learned of the history and struggle for people in remote communities to eat well. Damon learned of the achievements that have been made the work of community owned and directed organisations such as the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council, Nganampa Health Council and Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPY Women’s Council).
In 2010, the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council was working towards independence from government funding, but had the funds for a Nutritionist to work in the stores cut. The organisation limped on for a while with support from Nganampa Health Council and NPY Women’s Council.
Working together since the start of Mai Wiru, they achieved terrific results, increasing the availability and affordability to healthy food, and supporting a reduction in people’s sugar consumption. Nutritionists worked with suppliers to improve products – for example, white bread is still the most popular bread on the APY Lands, but it was low in fibre. The nutritionist at the time worked with the bakers to develop a high fibre white bread that people in community still enjoyed, and as a result, elected to purchase.
Damon saw a place that he could help and put his money and energy where his mouth is. Damon works with a team to raise the much needed funds to support community driven programs.
It is time to support people to improve their nutrition and we can do this by raising the much needed money to support community driven programs. Your tax deductible donation will help support a variety of projects. Donate today!
as recommended by the World Health Organisation
The mission of the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is to improve the health of Aboriginal people by focusing on the 5 stores of the APY Lands. We then hope to roll out the program to other Aboriginal communities across Australia.
After 18 months of negotiating with the local elders and health and women’s councils, we began our program in the pilot store of Pipalyatjara. We have been received with open arms and great support.
Our pilot store has already trained local ‘nutrition advisors’ to work in the store. This involves helping others with food choices, maintaining signs and labels plus providing morning smoothies and healthy take away choices.
The sugar ‘teaspoon labeling system’ is in place along with posters on healthy choices.
The local school has received a ‘That Sugar Film School Action Kit’ and the children are enthusiastically learning about the importance of eating real foods and less sugar for the benefit of their mind and bodies.
The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on your donations to support community programs that help to improve people’s nutrition on the APY Lands.
All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.
Become a regular donor and support others to make better choices.
Every dollar counts!
For donations of $500 or more, please contact us directly: email@example.com
Does the company you work for support philanthropic projects? We would love it if you could please spread the word of what we are achieving in the APY Lands, in the hope we can get much needed support to build our ‘good living cafes’.
Contact us here to find out more details about all the benefits of becoming a ‘Corporate Cousin’, including:
Would you like to raise awareness and funds to assist us in achieving our goal? Please contact us here to find out about screenings and other fund raising events.
Volunteer with the Foundation
We are always looking for people with relevant skill sets to volunteer on our programs. If you think you have the skills to contribute, please contact us today firstname.lastname@example.org
By volunteering you reduce the cost of program delivery meaning the money we raise can go a lot further on the ground.
The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation was formed to support people on the APY Lands to make better nutritional choices and improve their health as a result.
Our team bring various skills and expertise to help raise funds and deliver progressive programs with meaningful results.
Director and Founder of the MWSCF
Chief Executive Officer
Thanks also to the many wonderful members of the public who have already donated.
Any text and images relating to deceased persons on this website have been reproduced with the permission of the appropriate families and authorities. However Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers/viewers are warned that the contents of this website may include images and references to deceased persons.
The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the elders and the traditional owners of the APY Lands.
Damon Gameau is an award-winning actor who has appeared in a range of productions. As a director, he was the winner of Tropfest in 2011 and That Sugar Film marked his first feature-length film. The film is now the highest-grossing Australian documentary of all time and has had major releases across New Zealand, the UK, Canada, South Africa and the United States with releases in many more countries around Europe, Asia and the America’s to come in 2016. The film also won the 2015 Aacta award for Best Feature Documentary.
Alongside the documentary came ‘That Sugar Book’ which is a best seller and is now available in 12 languages around the world.
THAT SUGAR FILM started as one man’s journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon embarked on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived, or promoted to be, ‘healthy'.
Over three years of development and production, Damon and his crew travelled the world to interview experts at the forefront of researching the impact of current levels of sugar consumption.
Following on from the release of the film, the journey has continued to evolve with Damon seeking to empower consumers around the world to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families, focusing on the dangers of a high sugar diet. This mission has seen Damon address the UK and New Zealand Parliaments, meet with the LA Lakers, screen for the Royal College of Medicine in London and appear on television via the BBC, The Today Show and Dr Oz in the US.
Through the generous support of philanthropic and strategic outreach partners Damon feels fortunate to now be driving change in many different areas, including through hundreds of Australian schools and the new free smartphone app, which is allowing users to track their sugar consumption every day in a fun and engaging way.
On the back of the enormous success of That Sugar Film and That Sugar Book, Damon Gameau brings us That Sugar Guide which he has co-written with his wife Zoe.
Damon is a passionate advocate for good health and is determined to help people find a happier way of living.
Julie Buxton BCom LLB Master Pub Int Law, Melb Admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, 1996
Julie is a lawyer, producer and, from 2014 to 2016, was the human rights and youth justice adviser to the Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.
She is currently leading a social impact campaign for a documentary (Prison Songs) seeking to highlight the gross over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s prison and youth justice systems.
Between 2013 and 2015, Julie directed and produced a series of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural festivals – Yalukit Wilum Ngargee – the opening day of the iconic St Kilda Festival and the inaugural 2014 and the 2015 Baany to Warrna Ngargee – Water to Water Festival in the Mornington Peninsula. Julie directed, produced and project managed all aspects of the festivals and associated ‘satellite’ events, including an oration by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kevin Bell, on constitutional recognition and human rights.
Julie is the Chair of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Aboriginal Reconciliation and Advancement Committee, a member of the Law Institute’s Reconciliation Action Plan Oversight Committee, a member of the Bridge of Hope White Dove’s Reference Committee and an associate member of the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place in the Mornington Peninsula. She is also a director of the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation, which is working with communities in the APY Lands to reduce sugar in the diet and a co-founder and director of Big Red Films Ltd, a not-for-profit company that promotes human rights and social justice through film and the arts. Big Red Films has produced a series of short films that seek to raise awareness of human rights issues impacting on Australia’s Indigenous communities while simultaneously showcasing and celebrating the positive aspects of culture.
Gavyn has been with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia since 2009, having a core focus on the public sector. His expertise is in providing strategic, commercial and financial advice to government on large scale infrastructure projects across sustainability, energy, water, transport and social sectors. Gavyn’s experience spans multiple cities in Australia as well as experience in Bangkok.
Whilst at PwC, Gavyn has championed corporate responsibility with a particular focus on indigenous matters, and has been a member of the Melbourne committee for PwC’s Reconciliation Action Plan since 2011. Gavyn has also been active in international volunteering, having experience in nutrition, community development and teaching programs in the Philippines and Fiji.
John Tregenza was born in Darwin and grew up in country South Australia, finishing High School at Port Lincoln before attending Flinders University.
John has over thirty years experience working in community development in urban, rural and remote settings. The great part of his work has been in very remote Aboriginal communities throughout Central Australia, from Yalata on the Great Australian Bight to Balgo in the Kimberly.
Work has focussed on developing Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to address primary health and community social needs.
John was the first person employed by the Pitjantjatjara people’s Homelands Movement to assist in establishing Aboriginal managed communities in the western Pitjantjatjara region in the 1970’s. He was involved with the development and establishment of the Pitjantjatjara Council and the movement that achieved inalienable freehold title or Land Rights for Anangu Pitjantjatjara in northwest South Australia.
John then carried out consultation for the development and establishment of a number of Aboriginal community-controlled health services including the Pitjantjatjara Homelands Health Service, Nganampa Health Council, Yalata Maralinga (now Tullawon), and Ceduna Koonibba Health Service. He has since been invited back to provide consultative work for these and other health services. He was a Board Member of the South Australian Aboriginal Health Organisation and an Executive member of the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) through the 1980’s.
Since the early 1990’s John has been self-employed as a consultant to Aboriginal community controlled organisations and to government. His work has included a review of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytatjara Women’s Council, a report on the Delivery of Disability Services to people on the Pitjantjatjara Lands, a Feasibility study for a low security correctional facility for the Lands and a review of Victim Support Services in the region for the Attorney General’s Department. He has advised on setting up a number of public health programs on the Lands and, from 1998 to 2012 developed and coordinated the implementation of the Mai Wiru (Good Food) Regional Stores Policy on the APY Lands for Nganampa Health Council.
Throughout his adult life John Tregenza has been involved in social, health and political issues arising from Colonisation and the interaction between the now dominant Western culture and Aboriginal Australia, where he maintains his commitments to Aboriginal community controlled service delivery and obligations to Pitjantjatjara Tjukurpa and Anangu Law
B. Business Management (Hotel Management), Grad. Dip. Psych.
Ms Grace was the first permanent General Manager for the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council from 2010 to 2012. Kirsten worked in hospitality in Australia and overseas before working for ten years in Human Resources in Melbourne and regional Australia.
Kirsten has more than six years’ experience working in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Tennant Creek, and the APY Lands in South Australia. Kirsten managed the startup and implementation of an Indigenous employment program for 29 Indigenous staff under the Jobs Transition program for Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation, and the transition of 5 independent community owned stores to the Mai Wiru banner.
Katie first learnt about the Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation after assisting on That Sugar Film. She has joined The Foundation because she is passionate about helping to encourage nutrition in the APY Land communities and wishes to contribute her skills that have previously been utilized in the capacity of Executive Assistant. Having run her own art gallery and creative consultancy business, Katie has the experience of various aspects of project coordination, from book keeping and budgeting, to marketing, event management and general office assistance.
She also works part time as Assistant to Founding Director Damon Gameau.
Kellie graduated from the Endeavour College of Natural Health at the end of 2015 with a Bachelor of Health Science, Nutrition Medicine and has since become a registered Nutritionist with the Australian Natural Therapies Association. The Nutritional Medicine degree has a holistic, evidence-based focus, which endeavours to not only treat the symptoms but address and ameliorate the causes, in both individual and public health. Kellie brings from her studies what she has learnt from the extensive research into biological and social sciences, public health and nutritional biochemistry, which was brought together and developed in clinical practice at the college's Wellnation Clinics. This degree not only fostered a deep passion for Nutrition as a science but also empowered Kellie with the skills to help those who require it. Since graduating she has started a small Nutrition consultation business.
It was the segment on Amata in ‘That Sugar Film’, plus her existing desire to contribute to the health of the Australian Aboriginal community, that inspired her to join with The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation.
Kellie has visited the APY Lands twice in 2016, volunteering with the Nutrition Awareness programs, and will spend another month there in December 2016.