In late fall 2012, the Centre for Global and Community Engagement officially launched the Students for Canada’s North (SCN) project. Funded by Murray and Marvelle Koffler and the Alex Trebek Innovation and Challenge Fund, SCN aims to unite University of Ottawa students, professors and community partners through service-learning projects that respond to the needs of Aboriginal and northern communities. Undergraduate and graduate University of Ottawa students are eligible for scholarships of up to $15,000 to implement community engagement projects in Aboriginal communities or in Northern Canada.
Aboriginal groups, community partners and communities in Northern Canada were encouraged to apply through SCN if they required human resources to implement projects responding to community needs and aiming to bring positive change to communities.
The selection committee has chosen two projects. To carry them out, three students have been awarded scholarships for this pilot year.
Carolyn Wall, a third year student in the Faculty of Health Sciences Nutrition Sciences program, has been awarded a scholarship to help implement a community gardens and nutrition education initiative during this year’s summer break, in collaboration with the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. Building on an existing collaboration with Professor Francois Haman of uOttawa’s Indigenous Health Research Group, the Wabano Centre will build a community garden so it can grow produce and plants for traditional medicines. The project also involves educating Aboriginal children about the importance of nutrition and activity. To foster the exchange of intergenerational knowledge, an Elder will participate in the project to orient youth and raise their awareness of Aboriginal foods and medicines. A complementary initiative will be offered to families interested in weekly nutrition and cooking workshops that will use the community garden’s produce.
Meagan Ann O’Hare, a fourth year student in the Faculty of Social Sciences Globalization and Development Studies program, as well as Rebecca Brodmann, a fourth year student in Health Sciences, have been awarded scholarships to implement a project supporting subsistence practices, nutrition education, and cultural continuities in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories, in collaboration with this community (known to Aboriginals as “Zhahti Kue “) and its Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School. . Both women are thrilled to have received this financial assistance. Rebecca Brodmann adds, “I am so excited to have received the SCN scholarship. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate and contribute to these important programs in the Northwest Territories.” Building on an existing collaboration with Professor Michael Robidoux of uOttawa’s Indigenous Health Research Group, this initiative aims to educate youth on wild food consumption through intergenerational knowledge exchange, as well as to increase youths’ access to and consumption of wild foods. Meagan Ann O’Hare believes strongly in this partnership: “With the support of the Indigenous Health Research Group, there has been a thorough needs assessment for programs focusing on nutrition and food security in multiple communities in the North, including Fort Providence. I believe that because our project is largely community driven, this program will be sustainable in the community far longer than my visit this spring.” The community will also work on formalizing local wild food distribution methods, facilitating relationships among parents, staff and students at schools through wild foods, and supporting local subsistence initiatives and cultural practices. A second component of this project will include educating expecting mothers on nutritional habits, as well as empowering and motivating them to cook nutritious meals for their families. It will also provide a space for young women to interact and discuss nutrition and motherhood. The Students for Canada’s North funding will enable two Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School students to help with the project.
If you have a project idea that could benefit from the Student for Canada’s North project, the CGCE is accepting new project proposals. The deadline is September 30, 2013! Visit servingotherscgce.wordpress.com/students-for-canadas-north for more information!