VOICE: An ongoing initiative for community engagement

The Victorian Ongoing Initiative for Community Engagement (VOICE), funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, is led by the Burnet Institute in partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and Monash University Action Lab.

In early 2022, these three organisations formed a partnership to explore the public health needs of multicultural young people during pandemic recovery. The partners decided to employ young people from multicultural backgrounds, mentor and support them to build skills and deliver a piece of research & engagement in their communities.

The piece of research, conducted in collaboration with young people from Pasifika backgrounds in the south-east of Melbourne, produced “Talanoa: COVID-19 pandemic and Pasifika young people” and “Pandemic Recovery Needs and Priorities of Pasifika Youth in South East Melbourne“.


  • Importance of engaging with Pasifika young people to understand their needs and create meaningful solutions together.
  • Need for co-design and active participation in the planning and implementation processes are paramount.
  • Role that the talanoa methodology, a cherished form of discussion and engagement in the Pacific Island nations, played in the research.
  • Strengthened culturally competent schools, workplaces, and support services are vital.
  • Mental health and well-being emerged as a critical community need.
  • Desire for more opportunities to develop social, family, and community relationships through dialogue and engagement.
  • Genuine connection and understanding fostered between service providers of any cultural background and Pasifika young people truly matter.
  • Trust through interconnectedness, support, guidance, and collective well-being is a vital element that strengthens connections and fosters a sense of belonging.

You can find the full reports here:

Talanoa: COVID-19 pandemic and Pasifika young people

Pandemic Recovery Needs and Priorities of Pasifika Youth in South East Melbourne