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Sustainability research targets migrants

Migrant communities need special attention to encourage them to make their households more environmentally sustainable, a Victoria University study has found.

Associate Professor Anne-Marie Hede from the School of International Business, with Dr Judith Mair, interviewed Vietnamese and Sudanese residents from the western region of Melbourne for their research, funded by the Victorian Government's Sustainability Fund.

"There are cultural and language barriers which deter many migrants from adopting sustainable behaviours in their homes," Associate Professor Hede said.

"Our research shows that for migrant communities to make changes such as installing solar panels or rainwater tanks, they often need to overcome challenges unique to their communities. Owning a home, renting or living in a public housing estate all make a difference as to how migrant communities can participate in sustainable environmental behaviours.

"Despite these challenges, the Vietnamese and Sudanese community members we interviewed were keen to reduce their energy consumption.

"They can be encouraged by clear and effective communications, delivered in a culturally appropriate way. Communications must also address the specific needs of the particular migrant community.

"Methods which work in one community may not be successful in another. For example, Sudanese people enjoy learning by watching DVDs, but simple written communication can be very effective in Vietnamese households."

Examples of effective communications included:

  • Short, sharp messages in plain English, duplicated in the mother tongue
  • Community forums
  • Open houses where best practice sustainability is on display
  • DVDs and online games or role plays

Associate Professor Hede will present the research at a seminar on Wednesday at Maribyrnong Council.


Media are invited.


Event details:

Sustainable Living in Melbourne's West: Challenges Facing Vietnamese and Sudanese Community Members


Where: Maribyrnong City Council, Cnr Hyde and Napier streets, Footscray

Time: 10am-1.30pm, Wednesday 27 July

For interview: Anne-Marie Hede - 0466 153 838

Media inquiries: Jim Buckell, External Communications Manager,

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: [email protected]  

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