What Matters to Kids: Co-designing a wellbeing measure for First Nations Australian children aged 5-11 years

WM2K Project


The WM2K Project will co-design a nationally relevant, strengths-based wellbeing measure for Australia’s First Nations children aged 5-11 years that is grounded in their experiences, values and culture, and scored using their preferences, to inform clinical and policy decision making in health, education and other domains. Appropriate measures of wellbeing for First Nations peoples must be co-designed to ensure they measure important and valued aspects of life and deliver useful social indicators to governmental and other end-users. While the need for culturally relevant wellbeing measures is widely accepted, there is a notable absence of measures developed with, and validated for, First Nations children. Available instruments either fail to measure parts of life valued by First Nations children, or do not allow the estimation of outcomes favoured by policy makers and funders. 

Our highly experienced, multi-disciplinary team will integrate the key principles and best practices of co-design with First Nations peoples and utilise established mixed-methods for measure development to fill this evidence gap. We will build on existing collaborations and strategic partnerships to work together with First Nations communities and organisations to ensure that First Nations children’s voices are heard. Engaging First Nations children in research requires culturally appropriate approaches and innovative methods and technology to ensure that research engagement is stimulating, acceptable and effective. 

The measure will enable robust evaluation of the impact of programs, policies and interventions on the wellbeing of First Nations children across a range of settings, and enhance transparency, responsiveness and relevance of clinical and health policy decision making. Our co-design approach will ensure the measure is culturally appropriate, methodologically rigorous, and meets the respective needs of children, service providers and policy makers. 

Funding / Grants

  • NHMRC IDEAS Grant (2023 - 2027)

Chief Investigators


Other Team Members

Chief Investigators from external Universities

Dr Kate Anderson The University of Queensland
Dr Darren Garvey The University of Queensland
Dr Alana Gall The University of Queensland
Prof Kirsten Howard The University of Sydney
Assoc Prof Michelle Dickson The University of Sydney
Dr Martin Howell The University of Sydney