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Interconnected problems call for interconnected solutions

Indigenous water researcher, Kate
Harriden, speaking at WELA’s Canberra
Connect event on Ngunnawal Country in
2023. Image provided 
courtesy of the Women’s Environmental Leadership Accelerator. Indigenous water researcher, Kate Harriden, speaking at WELA’s Canberra Connect event on Ngunnawal Country in 2023. Image provided courtesy of the Women’s Environmental Leadership Accelerator.

The problems we face as a society are interconnected. Excessive and exploitative resource extraction isn’t solely an environmental concern, it also fuels economic inequality through unfair revenue distribution, land dispossession, or poor labor conditions.  The continuing legacy of colonisation creates barriers for First Nations communities seeking to exercise their rightful role in caring for Country. Patriarchal and racist norms have been embedded in economic systems and structures, further compounding the challenges marginalised communities already face. The list goes on. 

To address interconnected problems we need interconnected solutions. And these solutions don’t always fit neatly into distinct funding categories.   

The Reichstein Foundation’s new strategic plan recognises the need for more interconnected solutions to tackle complex social issues. We’ll be ramping up our funding to groups working at the crossroads of our four strategic funding areas: Economic Justice, First Peoples’ Justice, Environmental Justice, and Gender Justice. 

Below are three examples of recent grant partners that are tackling these issues at their crossroads, and presenting holistic solutions that pave the way for more inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable outcomes. 


Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia:

Tackling the climate crisis by building women and gender diverse peoples environmental  leadership  

The urgency to address the climate crisis demands a radical shift in leadership. Despite this, the support and funding available for women and gender diverse changemakers in the environmental sphere remains limited. 

This is where the Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia (WELA) steps in. Established in 2020, WELA’s mission aims to break down the barriers hindering women and gender diverse people from leading Australia’s response to environmental and climate crises. Their approach is based on the premise that women and gender diverse people in decision-making roles lead to better environmental outcomes.  

WELA employs a multifaceted strategy to empower and diversify environmental leadership. They offer programs that equip women and gender diverse people with the skills and knowledge they need to lead in environmental advocacy, while helping them to build support networks. They also provide direct funding to bolster the initiatives of their program participants.  

By enabling women and gender diverse people to take leadership roles in the environmental sector, WELA is ensuring a more inclusive and comprehensive perspective on environmental issues, which is vital for a sustainable future. 


Migrant Justice Initiative:

Ensuring Australia’s economic systems work for everyone, including  migrants  

Australia is home to over 1 million temporary migrant workers who comprise nearly 10% of the workforce. These individuals face routine abuse and underpayment due to systemic flaws in migration and economic systems, compounded by language barriers and fear of immigration repercussions. Addressing economic inequality in Australia also means ensuring fair working conditions and justice for all people, including migrants. 

Established in 2021, the Migrant Justice Institute (MJI) is Australia’s sole national research, policy, and advocacy organisation dedicated to combating migrant worker exploitation.  Their work has already influenced Australian laws and government policies, addressing issues such as wage theft and pandemic-related support for migrant workers. 

Their approach is underpinned by three pillars: they carry out research and expose issues linked to migrant exploitation through direct engagement with the migrant community. They forge broad alliances, uniting stakeholders across civil society, government and business to amplify the voices of migrant workers. And they hold business and governments to account, while advocating for more ethical policy reforms and practices.  


Jubilee Australia Research Centre: 

Pushing for a just transition to renewable energy that centres the voices of women and First Nations communities  

The Jubilee Australia Research Centre (Jubilee) operates at the crossroads of climate change, economic inequality, gender and First Nations justice. Their mission is to partner with and amplify the voices of local communities in the fight against an extractive and unequal economic system, produce quality investigative research, and advocate for just solutions that centre the rights and voices of communities. 

With the growing demand for transition minerals, crucial for the development of renewable energy technologies, Jubilee has turned its focus to ensuring environmentally and socially responsible mineral extraction policies and practices are in place to prevent the problems of the past from repeating themselves as the world transitions to renewable energy. 

Jubilee supports Traditional Owners’ right to free, prior and informed consent and advocates to ensure the interests and priorities of local communities – particularly women – impacted by mining operations are upheld. They are also working to interrogate mineral demand projections and promote mineral recycling to reduce over-mining and over-reliance on transition minerals. 

By integrating the environmental and community interests and aspirations into Australia’s shift to clean energy and synchronizing extraction with demand, not only is Jubilee helping to attain environmentally sustainable outcomes, but empowering communities to shape and benefit from the economic gains derived from the energy transition.