Community Engagement And Food Insecurity In Australia

Challenges of Food Insecurity in Australia

Community engagement placement is a process through which agreed goals are achieved by its stakeholders. The stakeholders of a community engagement are universities, the community, and organizations that collaborate to fulfill their distinguished but agreed goals. Universities send their staffs and students to work as volunteers to support a community with the available resources. Organizations both multinational corporations and not-for-profit firms help such organizations with foods, which are being supplied to the selected community group. Community groups are the population of Australia that has no food ( 2018). A collaboration of this kind does not only provide the food to needful people but also provides a learning opportunity to students and staffs of universities. These are also some real opportunities that firms can utilize to become social entrepreneurs. The main purpose of this report is to conduct a reflection of mine working as a volunteer with the Foodbank warehouse.

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The community that I engaged with while working as a volunteer is the selected Australian population, which do not have sufficient food. In fact, a food crisis like Australia is a global issue. The number of people facing food insecurity at some point in a year is close to above 3.6 million in Australia (Foodbank 2018). Children make 27% of the stated figure (Foodbank 2018). Additionally, the demands for food relief rises on an average at 10% every year (Foodbank 2018).

Communities those that are prime targets of food relief campaigns are many. There are a certain group of people in Australia that are relatively more susceptible to food insecurity such as unemployed people, low-income earners, single-parent households, young people and rental households (Child Family Community Australia 2018). There are certain communities, which are prone to food insecurity. These are indigenous, socially isolated and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people. These communities experience food security at higher rates (Child Family Community Australia 2018).

The nature of food insecurity can be of varied kinds. These are the inadequate supply of and access to food and the inappropriate use of food. A close to 5% of the entire population in Australia was at once stage estimated to be as facing the threat of food insecurity (Child Family Community Australia 2018). 

Organizations those that are involved in helping the community with their donations and the food are concerned with food insecurity for child and family. Food insecurity can cause both short and long-term negative outcomes for children (Kaur, Lamb and Ogden 2015).

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Stakeholders in Community Engagement

As stated earlier, the kind of people at the disadvantage is the people of different groups and communities. Those who are unemployed they face the fear of food insecurity. Such people are not sure of whether they would be able to afford the food as long as they are unemployed. The food insecurity is also very common with those that earn a very less income. These population in Australia at any point in time can have no food. Additionally, there are other groups as well such as the young people and the households both of single parent and rental status. The community, which is the most affected from food insecurity are CALD, indigenous and socially violated people (Child Family Community Australia 2018). 

Despite being such a noble cause and collectively supported by child and family organizations and universities, food insecurity fails to fulfill the mission to reduce food scarcity from Australia. The Foodbank warehouse addresses symptoms rather than its causes. Such campaigns do not justify their existence for a fact that despite being for so long in action, they are yet away from causes of food insecurity. In fact, they cannot also resolve such issues as these are beyond the scope of one organization or a few.

The socio-economic issues need to be addressed at the national as well as at the global level. On the other hand, the system continues to persist at the global level. There is no stoppage put to the food scarcity. It keeps on growing with its driving forces becoming stronger every year. Despite a growing popularity, Foodbank warehouse is unable to the demand produced due to rising living cost, stagnating wages and a state of shrinking welfare. Some of the driving forces of food scarcity include the unemployment rate, migration of people, and ineffective government policies and implementation for migrants (Bocquier et al. 2015).

There are some other problems of a food-relief campaign as well. These are ( 2018).

  • Being a donor-driven system it relies solely on donors
  • It is a kind of a foreign policy strategy
  • Development is not necessarily the part of food-aid programs

Community engagement is a term that consists of numerous methods and brings concerned stakeholders towards a set of issues. For example, food insecurity is a form of an issue that needs to be dealt with by forming a community of concerned stakeholders and using relevant methods to address the issue. Stakeholders in a community engagement program are those who affect the campaign and are affected by it. Community engagement is related to notions of empowerment as it attracts stakeholders outside of government to contribute to the cause by getting involved in the decision-making for services and policies (Case and Zeglen 2018).

Effectiveness of Community Engagement Initiatives

In recent years, there has been a significant resurgence of interest in activities related to community engagement. Supporters claim that community engagement provides ample opportunities for diverse issues. It does generate support and relief work of varied types addressing different issues. Community engagement is like a momentum and an agreement for a kind of public actions. It attempts to build up stronger communities. It is assumed to be the key method to address the kind of practical concerns (Lam et al. 2016).

On a practical ground, community engagement programs are less effective with a few kinds of issues. For example, community engagement for a flood-relief campaign is the necessity of the moment and more or less provides the relief work to affected people. On contrary to this, food-relief campaigns supply help to a significant population but do not fix its root causes. It is a troublesome situation for a reason that such campaigns rely entirely on donors. In case, there are fewer inflows what would then happen with the mission to feed those who do not have the food (The Independent 2018). The learner during his or her participation as a volunteer did observe the dependency of the Foodbank warehouse on private organizations and others for the donation. Firms as like the Foodbank warehouse can only supply the uninterrupted help if they have adequate funds available all the time. 

Community engagement can be improved in a number of ways. Those ways are (Ojha et al. 2016):

Capacity Building: This would require giving training and assistance to those who work as volunteers. This would empower them with the technical skills needed to engage with the community and the stakeholders. These volunteers are responsible for many tasks like public speaking, technical skills, and writing.

Draw the Attention of a Public Entity: Things would improve significantly if a public entity such as the local council gets involved in the campaign. The local council can help by promoting a social cohesion among its jurisdiction to help them identify the issue and support this monetarily.

Form a Civic Infrastructure and a Community Network: There is a need to attract the participation from individuals, groups, and organizations.

Diversity: Community engagement initiatives must not be identical but diverse.

Public Policy System: A public policy system is required to address issues by working towards positive outcomes. They can also help with ongoing feedbacks on service delivery.

I worked as a volunteer for a Foodbank warehouse. My role was to pack foods for people those who had required it. I learned quite a many things by working as a volunteer. The campaign did explore me to the reality of this world and the job market. Consequently, I could know that getting a good job in Australia is very challenging. Hence, I decided to be focused on the development of graduate employability skills. Those skills include effective communication, teamwork, passionate to look beyond the technical skills and aspiration to become an executive and so on. The placement made me work closely with the community. Hence, I am now well equipped with the skills needed to effectively deal with such people. These learning would be of great importance for me for my professional career and for more volunteering works.   


In summary, this can be concluded that community engagement practices are good resources for learning employability skills and support a social cause. Students those who are pursuing degrees in specialized courses can be benefitted from such programs. They have opportunities to groom their skills. They are also elaborating their knowledge of the community and their needs.

References 2018. What is community engagement? – ACU (Australian Catholic University). [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2018].

Bocquier, A., Vieux, F., Lioret, S., Dubuisson, C., Caillavet, F. and Darmon, N., 2015. Socio-economic characteristics, living conditions, and diet quality are associated with food insecurity in France. Public health nutrition, 18(16), pp.2952-2961.

Case, R.A. and Zeglen, L., 2018. Exploring the ebbs and flows of community engagement: The pyramid of engagement and water activism in two Canadian communities. Journal of Community Practice, 26(2), pp.184-203.

Child Family Community Australia 2018. Food insecurity in Australia: What is it, who experiences it and how can child and family services support families experiencing it?. [online] Child Family Community Australia. Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2018].

Foodbank 2018. The Facts – Foodbank. [online] Foodbank. Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2018].

Foodbank 2018. Volunteer – Foodbank. [online] Foodbank. Available at: [Accessed 28 Oct. 2018]. 2018. Food Aid — Global Issues. Retrieved from

Kaur, J., Lamb, M.M. and Ogden, C.L., 2015. The association between food insecurity and obesity in children—The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(5), pp.751-758.

Lam, C.A., Sherbourne, C., Tang, L., Belin, T.R., Williams, P., Young-Brinn, A., Miranda, J. and Wells, K.B., 2016. The impact of community engagement on health, social, and utilization outcomes in depressed, impoverished populations: Secondary findings from a randomized trial. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 29(3), pp.325-338.

Ojha, H.R., Ford, R., Keenan, R.J., Race, D., Vega, D.C., Baral, H. and Sapkota, P., 2016. Delocalizing communities: changing forms of community engagement in natural resources governance. World Development, 87, pp.274-290.

The Independent. 2018. The problem with Australia’s food banks. Retrieved from