Community Four was founded on the principle of symbiosis. We believe in sharing our knowledge and experiences with the wider community and working collaboratively toward our common aims. As a result, our work continues to be enriched by the important connections we make with organisations and individuals alike.


Swinburne University

Information Systems for Social Impact (IS4SI) Research Group, Swinburne University

Dr. Jason Sargent, Director

    “The group looks forward to continue working with (Community Four) to develop the Symbiotic Innovation model through applying it to an Information Systems Social Impact context.”


Dear Gavin

Subject: Collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology’s Information

Systems for Social Impact (IS4SI) Research Group

Thank you for your continued membership of Swinburne’s Information Systems for Social Impact (IS4SI) Research Group and sharing in the IS4SI vision to enable positive social impact through the co-creation and responsible deployment of information systems.

As you know, the IS4SI research group is supported and funded by the Swinburne Business School to take a systems thinking approach to explore problems faced by society whereby the group seeks to apply innovative technology and process-driven solutions to advance, assist, aid and empower individuals and communities. The group achieves this through collaborative partnerships with a wide range of individuals, community-based organisations (such as Community Four) and governments; both locally and internationally.

Your continued role in building up the IS4SI network of collaborators, your workshop discussions on the concept of social impact and insightful reviewing of grant applications within the group is especially welcomed. The group also looks forward to continue working with you to develop the Symbiotic Innovation model through applying it to an Information Systems Social Impact context, potentially taking on a supervisory/mentoring role of junior academics and higher degree research students within the IS4SI research group and participation in the digital literacy projects under development by the IS4SI research group with the Hazara refugee community in Melbourne and Roshni Welfare Society in Pakpattan, Pakistan.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jason Sargent

PhD (Sydney), BInfoTech(Hons)(WGong)

IEEE, IEEE SSIT The Society on Social Implications of Technology

Director, Information Systems for Social Impact (IS4SI) Research Group

New Colombo Plan IT for Social Impact Project (INDIA)

Snr Visiting Research Fellow, Nathu Puri Institute for Engineering and Enterprise,

London Southbank University

Islamic Council of Victoria

Islamic Council of Victoria

Nail Aykan, Executive Director

    “Gavin quickly earned the trust of our organisation through his ability to listen and learn from our staff and community members.”


Gavin quickly earned the trust of our organisation through his ability to listen and learn from our staff and community members. He has strong communication and people skills and can diplomatically navigate through a diverse range of stakeholders, ensuring they feel their opinions and perspectives are respected and valued.

Gavin’s other strengths are his extensive experience in developing and delivering social assistance programs within the NFP sector, and the theoretical and practical models that underpin his work. The most important of these models being his own Symbiotic Innovation (SI) approach. Through SI, Gavin ensured that the ideas and solutions were generated from within the collective, and from those with the lived experience, rather than from the top down or outside in.

Gavin’s key message was the importance of working with the community, rather than on their behalf. He encouraged staff to take a holistic view in delivering social impact and to utilise the strengths and aspirations of young people to overcome their challenges, on their terms.

Nail Aykan, Executive Director

Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Elle Morrell, Community Development Manager

    “Gavin’s workshop was fundamental in helping our social enterprise project get to the next level.”


Gavin’s workshop was fundamental in helping our social enterprise project get to the next level. He was able to present his ideas on Symbiotic Innovation in a very practical and innovative way that resonated with my diverse project team. As a sector leader, it was beneficial to have Gavin’s input into both identifying the broad issues of working with our community while also sorting through how to actually achieve our goals through the SI model.

He’s a highly effective communicator and facilitator, who is inclusive and respectful in his training but also doesn’t shy away from asking challenging questions that need to be asked. I cannot recommend Gavin Ackerly’s training program and input highly enough.

Elle Morrell, Community Development Manager

Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network

Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network

Zakia Baig, President

    “We proudly support the work of Community Four in building the capacity of community-led organisations such as ours.”


The Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network (AHWFN) is a grassroots community based organisation that empowers women through capacity building and friendship. Established in 2013, the organisation supports women to be empowered and active community participants by: delivering core services (e.g. language and literacy training, driving education), facilitating the development of social networks, providing information and resources so that Hazara women have the tools available to engage fully in the broader community.

AHWFN originally connected with Community Four to support the Australian Hazara Careers Project in early 2017. This connection led our organisations to work together to design a new curriculum for our women’s English as an Additional Language classes, which we expect to be delivered in 2018.

Through our discussions with Gavin and Community Four, we have recognised an alignment in purpose between our two organisations. We believe that Community Four can play an important role in supporting AHWFN to achieve its strategic aims, through working with us to develop the necessary networks and resources.

We proudly support the work of Community Four in building the capacity of community led organisations such as ours. We look forward to continuing our collaborative work in responding to the complex challenges faced by our community.

Zakia Baig


Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network

Southern Rivers Community Services

Southern Rivers Community Services

Mohamed Nabe, The Secretary

    “We are really proud of the achievement we have attained in the short period of time working with Gavin and Community Four.”


Southern Rivers Community Services is a Victorian Based not for profit organisation created by members of the West African community in order to address some pressing needs that the community is facing such as homelessness, joblessness, helplessness, juvenile delinquency and/or social justice in general. Southern Rivers help socially and economically disadvantaged refugee migrants improve the quality of their lives by providing services such as counselling, job training skills, food relief and shelter. We also help socially disadvantaged kids with their school studies. Southern Rivers prides itself in being an organisation for the community and by the community.

Southern Rivers has been working with Gavin Ackerly and Community Four since April 2017. Gavin has been assisting us in developing our strategic plan, developing projects and networks to respond to the needs of our growing community in and around Melbourne. We have found this consulting service to be very helpful and effective for our community.

Southern Rivers has struggled in the past in addressing the needs of the community but since we met Gavin, we have been making some real, tangible progress in the community. If we are lucky enough to have this selfless and strong community advocate as a consultant for the next three years, Southern Rivers will be able to meet its goals and objectives and improve the living conditions of its members.

We are really proud of the achievement we have attained in the short period of time working with Gavin and Community Four and we look forward to the future so that our community can be self reliant and self sustainable with the help of Gavin and his team.

Mohamed Nabe

The Secretary

Southern Rivers Community Services

Proud Mary Coffee Company

Proud Mary Coffee Company

Leon Kennedy, General Manager

    “Community Four is vital to our plans to execute what we want to do in a sustainable and effective way.”


Proud Mary is a coffee roaster in Melbourne, Australia and we have retail outlets that span Melbourne and now Portland Oregon in the USA.

This year we were fortunate enough to meet Gavin Ackerly from Community Four. Gavin was instrumental in assisting us from taking our ideas and forming them into plans. Through Community Four’s direction we were able to hold an event that, to date in company history, has been the most fulfilling and meaningful one we have ever hosted. The premise of the event was to establish the best pathways for refugees to pursue careers into the higher end establishments of the hospitality industry.  Without the assistance of Community Four, Proud Mary would never have been able to co-ordinate something like this. The event has enabled us to now pursue scaling this model to a much bigger platform where we can create a more substantial program around the training, development, placement and integration of refugees that are interested in a career within the hospitality industry.

Community Four is vital to our plans to execute what we want to do in a sustainable and effective way. Our ultimate goal is to build a well supported program that enables refugees to integrate into the upper echelons of the hospitality industry through focused training in communication, efficiency and relevant technical skill. Using Community Four’s “Symbiotic Innovation” model we feel that we have a chance of actually being able to make our plans for this program a reality in the next twelve months.

Leon Kennedy

General Manager

Proud Mary Coffee Company

AFL Victoria

AFL Victoria

Jack Henty, Football Development Manager – South East

    “Community Four have provided valuable education to our staff and industry on how to engage with diverse communities.”


AFL Victoria is responsible for governing and implementing the AFL’s national development programs and competitions in Victoria. Our ultimate vision is to be the most accessible sport for all Victorians. We now have programs and competitions that cater for people from all walks of life. Multicultural, indigenous, disability and female segments of the community are all priority areas for AFL Victoria to ensure we are connecting with the community and ensuring our game’s networks and programs are inclusive and welcoming to all people from the community.

Part of our community engagement strategy is to build relationships and support existing community organizations. In 2017, AFL Victoria supported Community Four’s Australian Hazaran Career Program. Our Multicultural Development Officer attended the launch of the program and presented to the participants about the AFL industry opportunities and programs. Furthermore, AFL Victoria delivered a component of the Careers Program’s sessions on presentation skills, which provided education to the participants on dress etiquette and how to present yourself in a professional setting.

Community Four have provided valuable education to our staff and industry on how to engage with diverse communities. We look forward to building on our existing relationship with Community Four and supporting their programs.

Jack Henty

Football Development Manager – South East

AFL Victoria

Bunifu – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bunifu – The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Daniel Muhwezi, Founder and CEO

    “Gavin has been instrumental in the formulation of Bunifu model.”


Hi Gavin,

Please find my draft testimony. You are free to edit and make necessary changes and improvement.

“I am a Congolese passionate young leader and social entrepreneur, a MasterCard Foundation scholar, recently graduating with a Master’s of Science in Community Sustainability from Michigan State University. At the age of 15 years old, the civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forced us to become refugees in Uganda; we have now spent over 22 years in a Kyangwali refugee settlement, Hoima, in western Uganda. In 2017, I started Bunifu, an organization that seeks to curb extreme poverty and high unemployment in the DRC, Africa through empowering youth to create jobs opportunities and employability skills.

In 2005, I also co-founded CIYOTA, providing access to education to refugee youth in Uganda. CIYOTA’s founders have been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Ashoka Fellow 2015, UN Youth Advisory Board 2013, Global Citizen Award, Echoing Green Fellow 2013, Unreasonable Institute Fellow 2010, World Economic Forum 2010, African Leadership Academy, United State Institute of Peace 2014, Without Violence 2014 etc.

I am proud to call Mr. Gavin Ackerly my mentor. I got connected with Gavin when his visited our CIYOTA work on his business trip to Uganda. Gavin has been instrumental in the formulation of Bunifu model. Whenever I needed any kind of consultation in building my organization, I always seek support from him and he responds quickly. Due to his continuous kind consultancy support, we invited him to serve on Bunifu Board of Trustees.”

Daniel Muhwezi

Founder and CEO, Bunifu – DRC

Ethical Responsible Business Services

AFL Victoria

Whittlesea Community Connections 

Michelle Newton, Volunteer Resource Worker

    “Whittlesea Community Connections would be pleased to work with Community Four …”


To whom it may concern,

Whittlesea Community Connections is a non-for-profit community organisation delivering the Volunteer Resource Service for the Whittlesea region. Gavin Ackerley from Community Four was invited to present to the Whittlesea Partnership Network meeting. Volunteer managers representing local volunteer involving organisations and officers from the City of Whittlesea attend these network meetings to work together on local volunteering initiatives.

Gavin presented on the topic of Symbiotic Innovation which was well received by members of the network with a significant amount of interest shown by a high number of members attending the meeting. Also, many questions were received after the presentation and enquiries from the City of Whittlesea staff who attended.

Whittlesea Community Connections would be pleased to work with Community Four in the future if the opportunity arises.

Yours sincerely,

Michelle Newton

Volunteer Resource Worker

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