Faculty of Education and Social Work


Auckland Young Women's Association (YWCA) Inc


ywca-auckland

The University of Auckland and YWCA Auckland started a research partnership in 2014 with a joint Lottery Community Sector Research application to investigate the critical success factors of the ‘Future Leaders’ programme. This collaboration is regarded as an opportunity to support research capability building for YWCA Auckland staff and University students and to assist the YWCA to re-develop the Future Leaders business model to increase the programme’s sustainability, its reach and to ensure its ongoing relevance to young women. The partnership utilised a novel approach through the inclusion of students in the analysis of secondary data based on previous evaluations of the Future Leaders programme and workshops to inform the development of a revised Future Leaders programme theory.

This partnership enabled:

  • A shift in how the organisation understands and utilizes data to impact programme outcomes, reach, and relevance
  • An opportunity for 10 honours-level social work students to rigorously interrogate practice data as part of a research methods course
  • Skill-building and confidence for a Future Leaders staff member in practice research and evaluation methods and the research and evaluation capacity of the organization

Dr Kelsey Deane and Associate Professor Christa Fouche developed a statement of collaboration with the YWCA Auckland’s CEO Monica Briggs and Future Leaders programme manager Kelsi Cox. This allowed the academic research team (including students) to access evaluation materials and measures (quantitative and qualitative) pertaining to the Future Leaders programme. University ethics approval was subsequently obtained to access the organisational data. Data cleansing and entry was undertaken by a summer scholar, Joanna Brown, between December 2014 and February 2015 under the supervision of Christa Fouche and Kelsey Deane. Under the supervision of Christa Fouche, 10 students analysed qualitative data (Semester 1) and quantitative data (Semester 2) as part of their course work. A report was made available in June and November respectively on the various parts of the project. Kelsey Deane facilitated a workshop to uncover stakeholder perceptions of the critical mechanisms of the Future Leaders programme in relation to the programme goals and vision. She supervised the analysis of the workshop data and outputs, as well as provided supervision for the literature review and the development of the final report and was involved in programme redevelopment sessions based on the project findings.

This mutually beneficial partnership provided useful learning for both the University of Auckland and YWCA Auckland. The YWCA Auckland offered University of Auckland researchers and students opportunities to conduct meaningful projects which have a direct impact on the learning and development of community-based organisations in Aotearoa and the broader field of youth development research and practice. In turn, the University offered the YWCA credible information which could be used to affirm or improve current programme practices.