Communicating with diverse communities

Diverse children

Brisbane communities have increasingly become as diverse as Sydney and Melbourne. Overall, 28.3% of Brisbane residents are born overseas, and in suburbs like Robertson, Stretton, Macgregor, Sunnybank, Calamvale, Runcorn and Sunnybank Hills, more than 50% of residents are born overseas.

Getting the active travel message across to such diverse communities can sometimes be a challenge. Identifying barriers and opportunities to deliver your message is key to running a successful AST program.

Here are five ideas for engaging with your culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities:

  1. Clearly express AST values, such as keeping children healthy, improving road safety and helping the environment.  If your school community tends to see physical activity as a low priority against employment and education needs, try highlighting that physical activity through active travel helps children arrive alert and ready to learn at school in the morning.
  2. Recruit one or two parents or teachers from CaLD backgrounds to get involved in the planning and implementation of programs and activities. For example, approach mothers who often linger around school to help with AST breakfast and organising culturally-themed active travel days.
  3. Identify where the community obtains information from (ethnic media, churches, clubs, GPs, pharmacies, libraries, community organisations) and promote your school’s activities through these channels. Engage community leaders to inform their members about volunteering opportunities at your school and how valuable their contribution is for you.
  4. Understand the suitability of format of information (flyers, brochures, face-to-face communication, easy to follow, user friendly lay-out, pictures or diagrams, free of jargon). Use simple words and pictures that reflect each culture. Use images to get the message across; slogans and phrases often translate poorly and lead to misunderstandings. Provide translated information and promotional material as culturally diverse and welcoming while repeatedly reinforcing the benefits of AST.
  5. Use events like national days, festivals, and other community events to distribute AST information or encourage active modes of travel. Provide active transport options prior to the event and highlight benefits to them – like avoiding traffic and having to find a carpark, and providing an opportunity for kids to ride or walk with parents. 
Date posted:
Last updated:24 October 2019