Good Beginnings is a train-the-trainer program that gives Muslim couples the tools to build respectful relationships and strong marriages when they are at the beginning of their journeys together.
Developed in partnership with Benevolence Australia it is our great honour to introduce the first cohort of Marriage Mentors celebrated their graduation from the pilot round of the Good Beginnings program on Thursday 24 March in Melbourne. These 11 individuals come from across Victoria’s diverse Muslim community and include Sheikh’s, General Practitioners, Marriage Celebrants, Counsellors and Psychologists. All are now qualified to work with Muslim pre-marriage couples to help them built the tools to create long lasting healthy marriages.
Good Beginnings was first conceived through the identification of a resource gap for pre-marital Muslim couples - while there are many resources for secular and other faith-based couples, there is no specific resource for young Muslim to-be-weds.
Using a train-the-trainer method, the program is a world first primary prevention program funded by the Department of Social Services (Community-led Projects to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children - 4-DPV4EVR).
The Good Beginnings program addresses the gendered drivers of violence against women using OurWatch’s primary prevention framework 'Change the Story'. The course is nonprescriptive, rather it meets each couple where they are and teaches them simple techniques to turn the inevitable conflict that comes with marriage into opportunities for growth.
Recognising that community members are the experts in their own needs, leaders from the diverse Muslim community, including experts in counselling and psychology were consulted extensively on what existing pre-marriage programs were available, the cultural and context specific needs of Victoria’s Muslim community, and the best methods for delivering the program.
By partnering with community members and organisations every step of the way, Good Beginnings has incorporated Islamic teachings, best practice primary prevention models, scientific theory, and counselling techniques to make this a world first program that is tailored to the Australian context and Muslim faith.
More information on the program: