African Focus Community Survey

African Focus Community SurveyAfrican Focus is the first detailed survey of the African Communities in Greater Shepparton. It was designed and conducted following extensive consultation, with African community leaders and members, and with organisations, both private and public sector, involved with the African communities. The information it provides will benefit African community members, employers, educational providers, government agencies, St Paul’s African House and the many other community service organisations that support the African Communities of Greater Shepparton.


African Focus “Our voices are important in Greater Shepparton” is a project of St Paul’s African House and the African communities of Greater Shepparton, funded by the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria program. The centrepiece of the project is this African Focus Community Survey, conducted by members of the African communities in Shepparton.

Our motivation for this project was the lack of information available about the demographics, experiences and support needs of the African Communities in Greater Shepparton. This has made it difficult for community service organisations and service providers to serve the African communities’ needs effectively, and support community development and capacity building.

African Focus is the first detailed survey of the African Communities in Greater Shepparton. It was designed and conducted following extensive consultation, with African community leaders and members, and with organisations, both private and public sector, involved with the African communities. The information it provides will benefit African community members, employers, educational providers, government agencies, St Paul’s African House and the many other community service organisations that support the African Communities of Greater Shepparton.

The African Focus survey is very much a ‘first look’ into the African Communities in Greater Shepparton. We hope that follow-up surveys will be conducted at regular intervals in the future, to help track changes over time and gain deeper understandings in key areas.

HOW DID THE TEAM CONDUCT THE SURVEY?

The survey was promoted through social media, newspaper, radio and by word of mouth. The African Focus team visited locations regularly frequented by members of the African communities, including supermarkets, African speciality shops, churches, schools and workplaces. The team also visited people in their homes.

Most surveys were completed face to face in the participant’s first language with the assistance of an African Focus team member. (Our team was able to speak with survey participants in 7 languages). Surveys were completed between 24 March and 16 May 2021.

DEMOGRAPHICS

  • Nearly all respondents (98%) are now Australian citizens or permanent residents. Most (90%) arrived on a humanitarian visa.
  • Respondents came from over 10 countries in Africa, with different cultures and languages.
  • Nearly all respondents (98%) are religious: Christian (82%) and Muslim (16%).

LANGUAGES

  • People of African heritage in Greater Shepparton are skilled linguists. Respondents spoke a total of 32 languages. 1 in 10 people speak 4 or more languages.
  • The main languages spoken at home are: Swahili (39%), Dinka (23%), English (11%) and Arabic (6%).
  • Respondents from Sudan and South Sudan report better skills in speaking, reading and writing English. On average, men have better English language skills than women.

SERVICES & UNMET NEEDS

  • Respondents found support difficult to get in: running their own businesses (45%), housing (38%), employment (30%) and access to interpreters (27%).
  • Assistance in employment and education (including learning English and learning to drive) are most needed right now.
  • Barriers to accessing services and support include: language difficulties (56%), lack of transport (51%), fear of discrimination (46%), and cost (34%).

EMPLOYMENT

  • Finding paid employment is a significant issue for people of African heritage in Greater Shepparton. Almost two thirds of respondents are looking for paid work or more paid work, including those in full time paid work.
  • 1 in 4 respondents working full time are also enrolled in education.
  • Employment was rated as the most important area of need, with 1 in 3 people saying they are not getting all the services and support they need.

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

  • Many respondents have experienced racism, especially at work (2 out of 3 respondents), but most don’t report it because they are afraid of the consequences.
  • Fear of racist responses also prevents people from reaching out for services and support.
  • 1 in 10 respondents who have children report that their children experience racist teasing or bullying weekly or monthly.

EDUCATION

  • Education is seen as an important path to success, with 45% of all respondents enrolled in some form of learning. Of these, 29% were enrolled in university and 43% in TAFE/apprenticeship.
  • 41% of respondents’ highest level of education is currently high school, followed by university (18%), primary school (15%), and TAFE (13%).
  • Almost half (48%) of the respondents who had completed university had done so overseas.

SENSE OF BELONGING & HAPPINESS

  • Nearly all respondents (94%) have a sense of belonging in Greater Shepparton and Australia.
  • Most important things for long-term success and happiness are: employment, family and reuniting family, education and community
  • Opportunities to share their views and cultures would help unite African people of different backgrounds.

COVID-19

  • People of African heritage in Greater Shepparton are well informed about COVID-19, with 79% receiving the information they needed in the main language spoken at home.
  • When the survey was conducted (March-May 2021) the majority of respondents said they would definitely or probably get the vaccine when available.
  • Sudanese and South Sudanese respondents were more likely to get vaccinated than the Congolese and Burundian respondents.

An overview of the report is also available in video format in English, Dinka and Swahili. 
 
https://youtu.be/5tVaiDi7V6I SWAHILI
https://youtu.be/e_TO5-fwXN0 DINKA
https://youtu.be/yI-kkXCp9h4 ENGLISH
 

Download the Full Survey Report in English.

 

African Focus Community Survey

 


 

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