VICTORIA - Three B.C. Aboriginal applicants will each be receiving $15,000 as winners of the first Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan (ORAAP) Aboriginal Social Innovation Competition. The competition was designed to encourage and foster social innovation at the local level to improve socio-economic outcomes for Aboriginal people.
The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), on behalf of the ORAAP Provincial Coordination Team, launched the B.C. Aboriginal Social Innovation Competition in February, 2013.
The three winners are the Vancouver Native Health Society, Penticton Peach Festival Aboriginal Cultural Village, and Victoria Native Friendship Centre. The three projects were chosen from among 21 entries. The funds are provided by B.C. through the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and by Canada through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
The B.C. Aboriginal Social Innovation Competition was developed to mobilize Aboriginal communities and organizations to generate ideas and concepts that will have a positive social impact in Aboriginal communities. The selection of these projects is a key step for in implementing the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan.
Social innovation is a guiding principle of ORAAP. ORAAP aims to support innovative solutions to complex problems that will address key socio-economic challenges facing British Columbia's Aboriginal people living off-reserve.
A call for submissions was distributed to Aboriginal communities and organizations to develop socially innovative projects or activities in the following categories: Culture; Social and Economic; Education and Learning.
The Provincial Coordination Team adjudicated the submissions and selected the three winners based on four criteria: innovation, social improvement, sustainability, and Aboriginal community ownership.
Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad -
"These projects showcase the social innovation that is crucial to the success of B.C.'s Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan - in nutrition, health, culture and community collaboration, and community fundraising. Each project is an important step forward toward improving the lives of Aboriginal people living off-reserve, while creating stronger communities and new opportunities."
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres Executive Director Paul Lacerte -
"The BCAAFC is pleased to play a facilitative role in supporting this exciting competition. We add our congratulations to the three winners and our appreciation for all those that submitted an entry."
Métis Nation British Columbia President Bruce Dumont -
"Métis Nation British Columbia congratulates everyone who participated in the recent BC Aboriginal Social Innovation Competition. Special congratulations go to the three winners of the competition for thinking outside the box. MNBC looks forward to further joint activities through the Off Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan, as we feel it speaks to the collective Aboriginal interest in British Columbia."
Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux -
"These innovative projects will help enhance the health and confidence of Aboriginal children and families, advance public appreciation of Aboriginal culture, and provide fundraising opportunities for Aboriginal community groups and organizations. Congratulations to these social innovators and all who applied."
Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae -
"As a government, we are proud supporters of social innovation. It's great to see Aboriginal organizations and community members also embrace and demonstrate leadership in social innovation as a way to address social issues in their communities."
For more information about ORAAP, visit: http://www.newrelationship.gov.bc.ca/agreements_and_leg/other.html
A backgrounder follows.
Improving socio economic outcomes for off-reserve Aboriginal people
B.C. Aboriginal Social Innovation Competition Winners:
1. Aboriginal Instant Kitchen - submitted by Vancouver Native Health Society
- Addresses the social problem of poor nutrition and health, while increasing self sufficiency at a low cost.
- To develop a cooking education program and a manual, enabling people with limited resources and facilities (i.e. low-income people living in single room occupancy dwellings) to maximize their nutrition using food and readily available, low-cost tools.
- Traditional food procurement and preparation practices will be incorporated into the program along with nutrition theory, food label education, and hands on cooking, shopping and gardening skills development.
- Results of implementing this concept are expected to include: increased food security and food and nutrition knowledge, increased self-reliance and increased self-esteem.
2. Penticton Peach Festival Aboriginal Cultural Village - submitted by community members
- Addresses racism, lack of knowledge about Aboriginal culture and the need for increased community collaboration.
- The Penticton Peach Festival board of directors, community members, the City of Penticton and Aboriginal organizations will collaborate to develop a cultural sharing opportunity by introducing an Aboriginal cultural village to the existing annual Peach Festival.
- The cultural village will include a powwow, kiosks and traditional foods.
- As the festival attracts a wide audience, this is an ideal forum for sharing, teaching and showcasing local Aboriginal culture in a fun and engaging way.
- Expected results include increased understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture and ultimately decreased racism.
3. Arts for Wealth - submitted by Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC)
- An innovative way to fundraise for community organizations, while celebrating arts and culture and providing a platform for artists to showcase their work.
- The VNFC will collect donated works from Aboriginal artists, in exchange for a small honorarium, which will then be auctioned off during cultural celebration events.
- The proceeds of the auctions will be divided between the VNFC, community organizations and charities.
- The intention is for this model to be implemented on repeated occasions with various artists, recipient organizations and charities.
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
Métis Nation British Columbia