What are some potential challenges with starting an Indigenous Guardian program?
Many Indigenous Guardian programs face a number of challenges at the start including available funding, human resources, capacity, transportation challenges, political priorities, and recognized authority (just to name a few)!
One of the biggest struggles that Indigenous Guardian programs report is managing community expectations. Expectations are often very high about what the program can and should do. It is important to regularly engage with your community to determine priority issues and activities, and communicate that the Indigenous Guardian program simply can’t do everything that needs doing!
To counteract this pressure:
- Regularly engage the community to help develop and stay informed about your program. The Engage the Community chapter has lots of tips to help your program.
- Clarify and communicate what you can do, where your focus lies, and why. Let people know what you are able to do this year and how it relates to your long-term vision for the program.
- Prioritize your workload so you don’t become overwhelmed by it, spread your team too thin, or reduce your program’s potential for impact.
- Develop operational plans that make clear and guide the activities of your staff in the field. See the Creating an Operational Plan section for tools.
- Establish clear boundaries about what you are and aren’t working on so that you don’t get pulled off track into areas of related but not essential work.
- Realize that sometimes you’ll have to say “no” to opportunities that present themselves and in response to requests people are making of your program.