The additional impact of our qualitative evaluation work in Samoa

“I feel very happy… I learned a lot… I feel more comfortable and more confident to face people.” Shares Setu Tiatia, a member of Nuanua O le Alofa (NOLA), the national disability advocacy organisation in Samoa, and a key part of Motivation Australia’s (MA)’s project evaluation work in Samoa.

Setu worked alongside Ari Hazelman (NOLA member) and Suria Apulu, Data Officer for the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) (also a NOLA member) to assist in the qualitative evaluation of the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service (SIMDES) project.

Like Setu, the experience has given Suria ‘more confidence to face the clients’, while Ari describes the experience as ‘empowering’. On reflection, the interview team give a long list of personal and professional skills they have gained through their involvement which they plan to use in their everyday life. For Setu, he hopes that the ideas and skills he has learned through his involvement will help him to find work.

Having an interview team that consisted of people with disability had better outcomes than MA had anticipated. Having a certain shared experience with the people the team interviewed was described by Ari as an ‘encouragement’ to the clients. Meanwhile, hearing people’s stories and the impact a mobility device can have has encouraged the team to share this with others in their community to advocate for the work of the mobility device service (MDS) in Samoa: “I can do some awareness, try to expand the good service from the MDS team,” says Setu.

SIMDES is a four year project working with the National Health Service (NHS) in supporting the development of a comprehensive MDS in Samoa. With the project in its final year, MA has been working in partnership with NOLA and the MWCSD to undertake this qualitative evaluation of the project. The evaluation is providing insights into the outcomes of an integrated mobility device service and is highlighting the impact of a mobility device on people’s lives.

Over two phases, the interview team have carried out a total of 50 interviews with people who have either received a wheelchair, walking aid, prosthesis or long term orthotic from Samoa’s National Health Service’s MDS. MA would like to thank all of our partners for their support in making this possible:

  • National Health Service Mobility Device Service (NHS MDS)
  • Nuanua O Le Alofa (NOLA)
  • Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD)

We would particularly like to thank the interview team for their hard work and commitment to the evaluation, and Mataafa Faatino Utumapu from NOLA for her support of the team.

The SIMDES project is part of the larger Samoa Disability Programme (SDP), funded by the Australian Government.

 

Kiribati support visit

In September this year Motivation Australia (MA) visited Kiribati to work with the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service (TRS) and Tungaru Central Hospital’s Diabetic Foot Clinic (DFC).

MA worked with TRS to introduce and implement a new data system within TRS. This included a review of forms, introduction of a new database and a discussion on the use of the available reporting functions. MA will continue to work with TRS to expand the database to meet other data and reporting needs of the services Physiotherapy team. The data should provide personnel and managers with valuable data to provide to hospital and health service managers, donors and partners.

MA’s Katrina also had the opportunity to accompany TRS personnel Akoaki, Tebakaro and Makei as they reviewed, assessed, fit and followed up wheelchair, prosthetic and orthotic users within the service and within their homes. Transport within Kiribati is particularly difficult for people with a disability. Through their outreach and home visits, the TRS personnel are able to help people overcome a major barrier to their ability to access mobility device services.

The Kiribati DFC has now been running for six months. The personnel continue to provide great services to clients, however referral numbers are less than planned. During the visit MA was able to facilitate activities with medical and nursing personnel to provide training on prevention, early identification and referral pathways for clients with diabetic foot complications. It is hoped these activities will increase the number of appropriate referrals to the DFC.

MA’s work with TRS is made possible with support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). The work with the DFC is a partnership between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and MA, with funding support by the Australian Government and the Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC).

Safe transfer training in Fiji

In September this year, Motivation Australia (MA) traveled to Fiji to work with the Frank Hilton Organisation (FHO) Physiotherapy Department to develop and trial a Safe Transfers Training package.

The MA team worked with the FHO Physiotherapy team to refine the content of the training before presenting the package together to teachers, parents and carers from Hilton Special School and Early Intervention Centre.

The training package is focused on children who use supportive seating and mobility devices and who may need assistance to transfer. It is intended to:

  • Give an overview of why transfers are important for children;
  • Provide an introduction to different types of transfers including what transfer would be most appropriate for the child;
  • Provide guidance on how to keep everyone stay safe during a transfer technique;
  • Provide the opportunity to practice transfers in a safe environment and apply the principles of transfers and safe lifting to case studies.

MA is now working on finalising the training package, integrating the feedback from the FHO Physiotherapy team and those who participating in the training. Once final, the package will be available for the FHO Physiotherapy team to then use to train and provide skills to teachers, parents and carers from other special and inclusive schools in Fiji.

The development of this training package is made possible with the support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). MA acknowledges and thanks FHO and their physiotherapy department for their support and contribution to the training package.

Illustration credit: World Health Organisations, Wheelchair Service Training Package

Sanma Province: Planning for expansion in Vanuatu

Motivation Australia (MA) has been working closely with the Vanuatu Society for People with Disabilities (VSPD), the Vanuatu Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS) to strengthen mobility device services (MDS) in Vanuatu through the Pacific MDS project. This work has focused on the island of Efate to date, however there is a well-recognised need for mobility device services in other Provinces and therefore in moving forwards the project aims to expand services where feasible.

In September Claire Ibell (MA) along with Judith Iakavai, Program Manager at VSPD, visited the island of Espiritu Santo in order to meet with stakeholders to discuss the expansion of the MDS project. Stakeholders across government, non-government and civil society sectors were included in consultations, and five mobility device users also kindly welcomed the team into their homes to discuss their experiences and thoughts on service provision. On the final day of the trip a half-day stakeholder workshop was conducted which brought together mobility device users, representatives from Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH), the Disability Promotion and Advocacy organisation, Sanma Frangipani Association, Provincial Government, Vanuatu Skills Partnership and Save the Children.

The individual meetings and stakeholder workshop provided MA and VSPD with a broad understanding of the potential service capacity of stakeholders, and in particular an understanding of the strong Provincial Government network throughout the province that could be used to support the service. NPH indicated their capacity to house the MDS, and every organisation involved in consultations showed enthusiasm and support for the service.

MA would like to thank everyone who met with and assisted us during this visit. The time, experience and insights shared by all were highly valued. MA would also like to say a huge thank you to Judith Iakavai who shared her in-depth experience of building mobility device services on Efate and supported in all stakeholder consultations.

A draft plan for expansion is currently being put together in collaboration with partners, and will be circulated to all stakeholders for comment once ready.

Motivation Australia’s Ambae Response

During late September and early October 2017, Motivation Australia and our Ni-Vanuatu partners were able to respond to the evacuation of the residents of the island of Ambae, due to our previous partnership work strengthening walking aid and wheelchair services in Vanuatu. Approximately 11,600 people were evacuated. Close to 6,000 were sent to Santo, with others going to Maewo and Pentacost.

Motivation Australia, the Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD), the Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MOJCS) are working in close partnership to strengthen mobility device services in Vanuatu through the Pacific Mobility Device Services Project (Pacific MDS). The Pacific MDS project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Non-Government Cooperation Programme (ANCP), the Latter-day Saints Charities (LDSC) and the Morris Foundation.

At the time of the evacuation, walking aid and wheelchair services were established only on the Island of Efate, through a network of providers including VSPD and the physiotherapy department at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH). Walking aids and wheelchairs donated by the Latter-day Saints Charities were in stock, stored and managed by VSPD in Port Vila. Both VSPD and VCH have staff trained and well-practised in the assembly and provision of walking aids and wheelchairs. The week prior to the evacuation, a Motivation Australia and VSPD team had just completed a consultation visit to Santo, to discuss with Government and Non-Government stakeholders the way forward to expand mobility device services from Efate to Santo.

The need for mobility devices for people evacuated from Ambae was identified very early by those coordinating the evacuation. All stakeholders including VSPD, MOH, MOJCS, Santo Provincial Government, the Vanuatu Disabled Persons Association, the Latter-day Saints Church and Motivation Australia worked closely together and through the Health Cluster and the Gender and Protection cluster to meet this need as well as possible given available resources and time.

A total of 16 wheelchairs, 8 walking frames, 25 walking sticks and 1 pair of forearm crutches were provided to evacuees. The vast majority of people who received mobility devices were based at the LDS Church in Luganville, which had been identified as an accessible location for evacuees. One person in a host family required a wheelchair and 4 people in other evacuation centres on Santo required walking sticks. Unfortunately, it was not possible to meet the needs of people evacuated to Maewo or Pentacost.

Motivation Australia was highly impressed with the professionalism of the personnel who worked long hours in the second week of the evacuation to provide the above mobility devices. Many of the individuals who received a mobility device had not previously had access to a mobility device service, and either had no walking aid / wheelchair or the device they had was inappropriate.

Due to the presence of trained personnel on the ground, it was possible to carry out basic level wheelchair assessments, assemble, fit and adjust devices; and provide basic training for individuals in how to use their devices. However, the short time frame meant it was not possible to provide individuals with more comprehensive training in how to maximise their use of the mobility devices (for example transferring in and out, mobilising over different terrain). It was also not possible to meet the need of those with complex mobility and postural support needs, which highlighted the need to increase the reach of rehabilitation services and mobility device services in Vanuatu.

Throughout the response, Motivation Australia and our Pacific MDS partners maintained a high level of awareness amongst all stakeholders that in providing mobility devices, a commitment needs to be made towards putting in place opportunities for follow up of recipients. Follow up includes ensuring the device continues to meet the user’s needs, potentially offering more training (frequently needed to support new mobility device users in effective use of their device in their home / local community), and meeting maintenance and/or repair needs.

Through the Pacific MDS project, there are plans already in place to expand the wheelchair services currently on Efate, to Santo. MA will be working with partners now to identify both systems and funding opportunities to build on these existing plans to include provision for a sustainable system of follow up support for people living on Ambae.

Helina

“We were at church…and we noticed ash falling down. We thought ‘the volcano has fired up’. A man came to tell us that we needed to move to a village further north… That afternoon we moved… We thought we would only be gone for a short time so we only packed small bags… But then we were told that some ships and planes would come to take everyone off the island. We were told that planes would carry older people and people with disabilities like Helina.”

Helina is an elderly woman who had a stroke earlier this year and as a result, is no longer able to walk. Helena travelled to Santo with her daughter Mary as part of the Ambae evacuation who tells us that it was really hard to leave the island. They are worried about what they will find when they go home, fearing there will be no crops: “what are we going to eat when we go back?”

Since her stroke, Helina has used a second hand wheelchair. The wheelchair allows her to sit out of bed, and go outside but it is old and difficult to use as the brakes are broken. During her stay at the evacuation centre, Helina was assessed and provided a new wheelchair and a pressure relief cushion by staff from Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD) and Ministry of Health, with the support of Motivation Australia. Helina is looking forward to using the wheelchair once she is back on Ambae to go to the beach close to her house.

Marsden

Marsden had Polio when he was five years old and lost movement of his legs as a result. Now 70 years old, he relies on a wheelchair to move around. Marsden recalls the previous volcanic eruption on Ambae in 2005, but says that this time things were different: “I heard this time, we had to leave”.

Marsden spent a day waiting to be put on a plane to Santo but there were too many people and he had to return home. When Marsden did get a seat on the plane he had to travel alone as there was no room for a carer to travel with him. Upon arriving in Santo, Marsden was placed at an evacuation centre: “It wasn’t really set up for people like me. But it is not a complaint, we manage.”

Over the years Marsden has purchased and been given wheelchairs from various organisations. “A lot of the wheelchairs were too big, but I managed as I didn’t have another choice”.

While he was at the evacuation centre, Marsden was assessed for a new wheelchair by staff from Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD), Ministry of Health with support from Motivation Australia. However, due to some complex postural needs, he instead chose to keep his old chair. He was provided with a pressure relief cushion and technicians repaired his wheelchair. Marsden is really happy and much more comfortable now. He is looking forward to returning to Ambae and hopes to move back to his village and spend more time with his family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Motivation Australia’s Board!

Motivation Australia warmly invites expressions of interest for two Board positions from individuals with a genuine interest in international development and disability rights; a strong commitment to Motivation Australia’s mission; and suitable qualifications and expertise.

Motivation Australia welcomes diversity and sees value in a Board that is comprised of people with diverse and relevant skills; knowledge; lived experience of disability; gender and age. To complement our existing Board, we are in this recruitment particularly seeking individuals who can contribute in any of the following areas:

  • Public fund raising;
  • Broadening Motivation Australia’s corporate and philanthropic donor support base;
  • Provision of sound financial oversight;
  • Lived experience of disability

Motivation Australia Board members have individual and collective responsibilities, which are outlined in our Board Charter. For more information, please contact Kylie Mines, CEO Motivation Australia, 191 Port Road, Aldinga, SA 5173

Summary of Motivation Australia

Motivation Australia (MA) is a not for profit disability and development organisation, with a vision of a world where everyone’s right to mobility and inclusion is realised. We work in close partnership with local organisations in the Asia Pacific region, to pursue our mission to enable people with disabilities to stay healthy and mobile, access Assistive Technology, and achieve full and equal inclusion. We are also active within the disability and assistive technology community globally through our engagement with key agencies such as World Health Organisation.

We are an organisation with a clear vision and mission. We have built an organisational culture around our values of humanity, inclusion, professionalism and creativity. We work well as a team, enjoy input from consultants and volunteers who add great value to the work that we do, and value our involvement in an organisation that we have all helped to grow.

Motivation Australia is an active member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and a committed signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct. We are accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), under the Australian Non-Government Cooperation Program (ANCP), which requires a high standard of international development practises. Our CEO is on the Australian Disability and Development Consortium Executive Committee.

Our organisation is governed by Association Rules registered with the SA Office of Business and Consumer Affairs. Our CEO leads a committed team of personnel with a broad range of specialist skills; reporting to our voluntary Board of Governors on a regular basis. The Board is responsible for overseeing the affairs of our organisation; across five functional areas: leadership and stewardship, performance, promotion, monitoring and CEO appointment.

Vanuatu Volcano: Update

Following the recent evacuation of the entire population of the island of Ambae in Vanuatu, Motivation Australia has been working alongside our Ni-Vanuatu partners the Vanuatu Society for Persons with Disabilities (VSPD), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Justice; and faith based organisation the Latter-day Saints (LDS); to assist in meeting the mobility device needs of evacuees.

A group of 274 people identified as needing additional support during the evacuation are now situated at an evacuation centre rapidly set up within the grounds of the LDS church on the island of Santo.

With instruction from the Health Cluster; and assistance from the LDS; Motivation Australia and VSPD began work last week in preparing wheelchairs and walking aids to be transported to Santo. These products arrived yesterday, and provision of mobility devices to those who need them has begun. At the same time, more detailed screening of evacuees is being carried out at the 74 evacuation centres on Santo, Maewo and Pentacost.

We are working to ensure that the devices provided meet the needs of evacuees now, and on their eventual return to Ambae. This means taking the time to properly talk with each person to understand their needs, and to make sure that devices are assembled, fitted and adjusted correctly.

The Government of Vanuatu has extended the State of Emergency until the 24th October, following advice from the Disaster Management Office. A thorough assessment of Ambae is needed to ensure that it is safe for people to return.

Data collection in the Solomon Islands

Motivation Australia (MA) has been working with partners at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) to develop a customised Mobility Device Service (MDS) Data System for the Rehabilitation Division.

The MDS Data Systems includes service forms (such as registration forms and assessment form), data collection processes and a database. MA has facilitated two Data Systems workshops in Honiara this year in order to consult, develop and launch the system. The latest workshop gave us the opportunity to work with the national team – including many Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) personnel who live and work in remote locations.

The MDS database is an access-based database that records individual client details such as contact information, demographics, information about their health condition or disability and any devices that have been provided.

It also automatically aggregates that data into key quantitative indicators in real time.

By incorporating the MDS database into their service systems, the Rehabilitation Division can:

  • Input, search and edit individual clients records
  • Create lists of clients (for example: by year, by district or by device)
  • View dashboards of visual charts showing aggregated data on key indicators such as gender or age
  • Customise and generate de-identified reports

One of the benefits of the data system implemented in the Solomon Islands is that many of our partners in the Pacific Region are using the same service forms, systems and database which will allow the services to share disaggregated, de-identified data in order to learn from their peer services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MA thanks the participants of the data systems workshop for all of their ideas, support and colloboration!

PNG re-launch of partnership

Motivation Australia’s team has just returned from Port Moresby after the first Pacific Mobility Device Service (MDS) Project visit to PNG partners the National Orthotics and Prosthetics Service (NOPS). Motivation Australia has had a long history of partnership with NOPS, beginning in 2005 with training input for national personnel about basic wheelchair service provision. In 2016 the Strengthening Access to Assistive Technology project resulted in the zero draft of the Guidelines on the Provision of Assistive Technology in PNG.

This year, with NOPS joining the Pacific MDS Project, we are working together on activities designed to strengthen NOPS’s service systems, including:

  • Data collection, analysis and reporting,
  • Appropriate procurement of wheelchairs, walking aids, prosthetic and orthotic devices and consumable materials.

We are also working together on consolidating NOPS resources and service personnel and preparing for de-centralisation of services.

The team looks forward to sharing more news in the coming months!

If you would like more information about the Pacific MDS Project, contact Kylie Mines.

Samoa Evaluation

Motivation Australia’s (MA), Larissa Burke visited Samoa in October 2017 to work with stakeholders and a local team to prepare to undertake qualitative interviews with those who have been provided with a prosthetic or long term orthotic from the National Health Service Mobility Device Service (MDS). These interviews will provide the opportunity to hear more about the impact of a prosthetic or orthotic device and the MDS service on people’s lives, and will inform the final evaluation of the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Services (SIMDES) project.

A key activity during this visit was the ‘Interview Preparation Workshop’. This 3 day workshop was attended by the three members of the interview team which includes two representatives from Nuanua O Le Alofa (NOLA) Disability Advocacy Organisation and a data collector from the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development. The workshop included a presentation from the PO personnel from the NHS MDS and provided the opportunity for the team to work together with NOLA to finalise logistics and to trail the interview.

MA would like to thank the NHS MDS, NOLA, MWCSD and the interview team for their support and contribution into final preparations for the interviews. MA also thanks the Australian Government for the funding of the SIMDES project.

The interviews are well underway and MA looks forward to returning to Samoa to assist in analysing and sharing the findings.

Vanuatu volcano appeal

In recent days, the entire population of 11,600 from Ambae, a small island in Vanuatu, have had to face the reality of leaving their homes, due to an escalating threat of the Monaro volcano erupting. The residents of Ambae do not know when, if ever, they will be able to return home.

The bulk of the evacuees are now in temporary evacuation centres on neighbouring islands Espiritu Santo, Maewo and Pentacost. For those with a disability, the move and adjusting to a new environment is particularly challenging. Disability services on Ambae are non-existent, which means that those with a mobility disability are unlikely to have their own mobility devices. With the upheaval of the move, loss of routines and supports, they are now in even greater need of the right mobility device, without which they will be unable to move about the evacuation centre to manage daily activities (for example access wash facilities, eating and cooking areas) and participate in meetings and decisions about their future.

Throughout the evacuation, Motivation Australia has been staying in close contact with our partners in Vanuatu; and as we receive more information confirming the need for wheelchairs and walking aids, we are preparing to respond. Working with local staff from Port Vila, trained through our current ‘Strengthening Mobility Device Services in the Pacific’ project, we will first visit Espiritu Santo, where the majority of the Ambae population have been relocated, to assess and prescribe walking aids and wheelchairs from stock recently donated by the Latter-day Saints Charities and managed by one of our partners, the Vanuatu Society for Persons with Disabilities.

At the same time as recognising and responding to the immediate need, Motivation Australia and our partners in Vanuatu are conscious that in providing mobility devices now, we will have a responsibility to follow up recipients in the future to make sure their devices are still working for them. As part of our initial response, we will continue to work with local stakeholders to strengthen local systems and train local personnel – so that mobility device recipients from Ambae can be followed up in the future.

For now – our aim is to improve the situation for these people now, at this time of incredible uncertainty, upheaval and disruption.

 

Thank you!

Thankyou for purchasing your tickets to Murder on the Orient Express!

Your tickets will be at the door on the night!

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Kate Shortt or call / text the office on 0466 833 708.

Interested in learning more about Motivation Australia? Join us before the movie at our AGM!

Our AGM is an important opportunity to briefly share with you the highlights of our year, and to thank all of the individuals who have contributed. All Motivation Australia members, supporters and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend, however please note that only current members (life members and those who have renewed their membership in the 2017 calendar year) contribute to a quorum.

If you would like to check your membership status, renew your membership or join as a member before the AGM please contact Kate Shortt.

Fiji: Children’s wheelchair services

MA was pleased to once again work with our partners at the Frank Hilton Organisation to develop their children’s wheelchair services, as part of our Pacific MDS project.

The team at FHO provide physiotherapy, hearing and mobility device services for children who attend Hilton Special School and Early Intervention Centre. In the coming months, FHO plan to pilot expanded support to other special schools in Fiji in order to better support children who need mobility devices.

The June in-country visit provided an opportunity to provide clinical and technical mentoring for the FHO team; two of which attended the Solomon Islands intermediate level wheelchair service training in February.

The visit also provided some opportunities for regional exchange; the MA team were joined by Prosthetist-Orthotist Tebakaro Aata from the Tungaru Rehabilitation Service in Kiribati. Tebakaro worked alongside the FHO personnel to share and build his skills in intermediate level wheelchair service delivery.

The FHO will continue to be our partner in the 2017-18 Pacific MDS project, and the MA team looks forward to continuing our colloboration!

Kylie Mines

Kylie qualified as an Occupational Therapist in Adelaide, in 1989, and has always had a strong interest in wheelchair provision and supportive seating. Kylie began working in international development in Lithuania in 1991; and joined the Motivation Charitable Trust in 1993 to establish a national wheelchair service network in Cambodia. That first project with Motivation led to seven years of programme work, living and working in Cambodia, Russia, Lithuania, Albania, Romania, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In 2000 Kylie returned to live in South Australia to start a family – however was unwilling to sever the links with Motivation and international development. After working as a short term consultant for the Motivation Charitable Trust on a range of projects; Kylie founded Motivation Australia in 2007.

As well as building Motivation Australia, Kylie has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Through this work she contributed to the development of the WHO Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings, and is the co-editor of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package (Basic and Intermediate modules).

Role: Kylie is Motivation Australia’s CEO, and also holds a position on the Board of Governors. Kylie is responsible for overall direction and approach; developing partnerships; and inputs into programmes with a focus on training and education tools; policy development; monitoring and evaluation.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Through Motivation Australia I have been able to continue working in a sector that I feel incredibly passionate about – and build a team of people who are just as keen as I am to see people who need an appropriate mobility device get one. I love that my work is now taking me to countries that are in my ‘home’ Region. I love working alongside our neighbours in the Pacific; and am learning all the time.

Connect with Kylie on LinkedIn.

Ray Mines

Ray is an Industrial Designer and Project Manager who has been working in developing countries since joining Motivation in the UK in 1996. He has designed, built, adapted and fitted wheelchairs and seating systems, as well as delivered training and capacity building in a wide range of cross cultural situations. To date he has undertaken assignments in more than thirty countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific including remote communities in Australia. Ray has a BSc Industrial Design (Hons) Degree from Brunel University, UK (1990-94) and a Kepner – Tregoe Project Management Certificate (2001).

Role: As Director of Design & Innovation, Ray delivers product design, visual communication & brand image, strategic planning, programme design, training development & delivery, staff mentoring and in-country capacity building. Ray is the Project Manager for two of Motivation Australia’s programmes: the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service (SIMDES) project and the Regional Amputation Prevention (RAP) project

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? What I personally value about what we do is the inspiring people that we meet; I carry their incredible stories with me. I see our work supporting people with disabilities to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges every day, this is the fire in my belly, and this is the very essence of what Motivation Australia exists for.

Connect with Ray on LinkedIn.

Lauren Flaherty

Lauren joined Motivation Australia in 2010 as a part time consultant, her current role is Service Development Manager.

Lauren’s background as an Occupational Therapist includes wheelchairs, seating and physical rehabilitation. She has worked in New Zealand and Ireland before settling in South Australia.

Role:  Lauren is responsible for building the capacity and resources of the team to deliver quality, appropriate support to our partner organisations who provide assistive technology (AT) in the Asia Pacific Region. This includes developing mobility device service systems and procedures; data collection and analysis tools; training materials; policies and procedures.

Lauren also provides in-country training and mentoring to AT service partners, with a particular focus on intermediate level wheelchairs and seating.

Lauren leads MA’s social media and day to day website management.

In addition, Lauren has contributed to the development of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Packages (WSTP) and is a co-author of the WHO WSTP Training of Trainers Package (tot).

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? A key aspect of my role is in the development and mentoring of staff who are responsble for mobility device services in challenging situations; it is always really satisfying to see the change and development in staff, and know that this will positively impact on the lives of hundreds of people with a mobility disability in their communities.

I also really appreciate the commitment of the MA team to continue to provide high quality, innovative, sustainable and effective solutions for our partners.

Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn.

Jodie Summer

Jodie joined Motivation Australia in 2011 and brought her experience as a Chartered Accountant in financial reporting, financial system development and process improvement to the team.

She has worked in the South Australian Health sector and for the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Jodie has a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting (GradDipCA), Bachelor of Commerce (double major in Accounting and Management) a Cert IV in Financial Services and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

Jodie is an active member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Finance Community of Practice that brings together finance professionals from the Australian NGO sector to share, discuss, and reflect on financial aspects of the sector.

Role: As the Finance Manager, Jodie provides financial business advice to Motivation Australia’s employees, consultants, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders by providing: Effective strategies in managing financial performance, monitoring, reporting and analysis, budget development and forecasting; Effective financial system development, and; Expert financial operational advice and leadership.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? I enjoy working with Motivation Australia because the work is so varied and rewarding.  It is always great to know that the work that we are doing here in Australia in an administrative role ultimately enables us to enhance the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities. I enjoy working with a fantastic team of friendly, motivated, driven, highly skilled and professional people.

Connect with Jodie on LinkedIn.

Kate Shortt

Kate has a background in administration, sales and office management through roles in both the United Kingdom and Australia working in the New Homes industry. She also worked as a Police Officer in the UK, before emigrating to Australia with her husband in 2008; followed closely by the birth of her daughter.

Role: Kate is our Officer Manager, who provides administrative assistance to the CEO and programme staff, remotely supporting our in-country training and support visits.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? With a relaxed but professional working environment, Motivation Australia is a genuine team made up of friends as well as colleagues. I admire the work that our team does, here in Australia and abroad. Hearing the inspiring stories when they return home from a training or project abroad keeps me motivated!

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

Lee Brentnall

Lee has worked as a clinician and as a lecturer in Prosthetics and Orthotics in Australia, Kiribati, Sri Lanka and Fiji; along with contributing to research projects focused on International Public Health. Lee joined Motivation Australia as a volunteer, before coming on board to contribute to planning for integrated mobility device services in the Asia Pacific Region.

Role: Lee is a Consultant Prosthetist/Orthotist, working with the senior team across a number of programmes including in Samoa where Lee will support the creation of an integrated mobility device service, and; PNG where she is contributing to the development of the National Assistive Devices Guidelines. Lee is also an author of the Keep Moving project – which aims to build the capacity of personnel working to prevent lower limb amputation and to support return to mobility for people who have had an amputation in the Pacific region.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? Motivation Australia is a small team that does an enormous amount of work. They are supportive and always excited about taking on new challenges and projects to support people with a mobility disability. I love being a part of a team of people that are dedicated and passionate about what they do: and seeing the immediate benefits of the work that we do for the people we work with.

Connect with Lee on LinkedIn.

Christina Parasyn

Christina is an independent consultant with 19 years experience working in international development and disability. In this time she has worked in partnership with people with disabilities, governments, donors, service providers, faith-based organisations, international NGOs and the United Nations in developing countries to ensure people with disabilities can access the same rights as opportunities as others, in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She has a Masters of Social Science (International Development), a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and is a qualified outdoor educator. Her field experience includes Maldives, Fiji, India, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Australia.

Role: Since joining Motivation Australia as a part time consultant in 2015 she has supported implementation of Motivation Australia’s projects in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. She has played a key role in the consultation and drafting process of the PNG National Guidelines on the Provision of Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities. Christina has also contributed to the development of data tools to track progress of the Samoa Disability Program and to the qualitative evaluation process for the Samoa Integrated Mobility Device Service project.

What do you enjoy about working with Motivation Australia? The team at Motivation Australia is committed to the rights of persons with disabilities and their partners wherever they work. It is exciting to be part of discussions and field visits where time is dedicated to regularly understand the local context and priorities, in particular from persons with disabilities. This allows us to strengthen our relationships with and learn from our partners. It enables us to be flexible and responsive.  Importantly, it ensures our contributions continue to focus on sustainable, contextually appropriate and improved access and opportunities for persons with disabilities in their communities.