Malpa is a Pitjantjatjara word for friend or mentor and is a great descriptor for the role of a group of Anangu women who are helping with research into what makes a good life for people with disabilities from the APY Lands.
In collaboration with NPY Women’s Council, Poche NT and Sydney University, the research conducted over the last 12 months, involved a component of training Anangu in research. Participants have been very keen to undertake the training and have been able to add a deeper level of analysis to the data.
The training at the Poche Centre in Alice Springs provided an overview of research from a western perspective, whilst acknowledging existing Indigenous ways of researching. Key concepts such as ethics, consent and confidentiality were discussed. Computer programs are undoubtedly useful in data analysis, however, the unique cultural understandings of the malpa helped to enrich the findings during follow up workshops at NPY Women’s Council.
All participants rated the workshops highly and are keen to continue their roles as malpa to the research partners.