Saturday, 23 July 2022

Cybersecurity Through Indigenous Lens

By Emeka Ezeh

My name is Emeka Ezeh. I was born and raised in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in International law and diplomacy from Babcock University in Nigeria. I am a second year MDP student at the University of Winnipeg. I am doing my field placement with Brandon University on expanding the knowledge of cybersecurity through an Indigenous lens.

This project entails carrying out a community engagement with First Nations communities in Western Manitoba. The project incorporates knowledge-sharing initiatives with a public audience and an emphasis on cybersecurity. A "Cybersecurity 101" mini-curriculum that will be used in a series of one-hour courses targeted at diverse groups is being developed (these public workshops may include a wide range of participants). The training curriculum includes methods for learning assessment. In an effort to close accessibility gaps for Indigenous communities while working to build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. We have developed educational and promotional pamphlets, posters, lesson plans, and feedback forms.

My task includes redesigning the pamphlet which contains the engagement of what the project entails. The pamphlet will be a knowledge sharing activities with the public particularly for the Indigenous people. The pamphlet also talks about the initiatives of facilitating Indigenous communities in creating and building relevance within cybersecurity knowledge sharing and education to their cultures and communities with focus on social media as a means of understanding research in cybersecurity.

I have had a great time working with the team and also learning about a new field. In the area of technology, Indigenous communities still have room for growth and advancement. Learning about this field (cybersecurity in particular) made me realize its importance in safeguarding and preserving the data of Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Strengthening the ecosystem for women entrepreneurship in Tamale, Ghana

By Tunde Ogunje

My field placement is with
the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Center (NORSAAC), a local NGO in Ghana operating from Tamale in the northern region of the country. I worked with the independent subsidiary of Norsaac called Youth Social Services Organisation (NiV) managing all the sustainable livelihood and social enterprise projects of Norsaac, with other three staff of NiV in a team.

The Projects:

In all, there were three projects we started and which we are still working on. After the orientation and initial meetings with NiV team, we concluded that the short time I had would be well spent if we could focus on advising on the mechanism to upscale and existing revolving fund.  Then, opportunity came for us to respond to an expression of interest (EoI). So, we submitted a grant proposal for a project we called YEESS - Youth Entrepreneurship Education for Secondary Schools. Towards the tail end of the in-person part of the placement, the need arose for us to develop the framework for a strategic plan for the newly built training centre as a potential source of additional revenue for NiV.

In addition to these three main projects, I also facilitated some sessions in the training for potential young, female social entrepreneurs in a project that Norsaac and NiV are managing for Youth Challenge International (YCI), called HerStart. YCI is funded by Global Affairs Canada

My role:

Ukasha Mohammed is the Chief Executive Officer of NiV and works along side both Salim Mohammed and Harriet Anafo. Majorly, I worked more like an advisor or a consultant. While we were all working on these three projects as a team, I was leading the development of ideas, developing the concept papers, creating shared drive using google drive for team members to make real-time inputs, calling for meetings to brainstorm on the ideas and concepts, and making presentations where necessary.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks

By Bunmi Afolabi


I’m Bunmi Afolabi, rounding up my first year as an MDP student. I am completing my domestic field placement through the University of Winnipeg’s Inner City work-study program. This program involves 450 placement hours and a 6-credit course examining Winnipeg’s inner-city challenges and community-based initiatives.

My placement organization is Newcomer Employment and Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S Inc.). N.E.E.D.S. is a non-profit, charitable organization that supports the integration of newcomers into Canadian society by providing employment, mentorship, education, and social and recreational programs to assist clients in developing life skills, confidence, and positive social support networks.

I am currently working with the in-house Research and Development team to monitor and evaluate the Settlement Workers in School program (SWIS). This holistic program provides a range of activities to promote the successful settlement and integration of newcomer children and youth in the Winnipeg community. So far, I have developed a Logic Model and an Evaluation Matrix to measure the program's effectiveness in achieving proposed outcomes. I’m currently working on creating evaluation tools to gather data from the field.

This project is vital because Monitoring and evaluation can be used to demonstrate that the programme efforts have been implemented effectively and have had a measurable impact on expected outcomes.

The findings from the evaluation process will be beneficial in identifying the strengths and limitations of the program since its implementation. The results will provide the necessary data to help inform changes that can be made to the program design and delivery to ensure that the program effectively provides the needed support to newcomers in Winnipeg.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Wahkomiwew - Being connected to the People

By Christy Bird


Christy and Kaitlyn Murdock 

Boozhoo, Tansi. Christy Bird ndizhnikaaz Peguis/Fisher River indoonji. I am near completion of my time in MDP, and it has been a great learning experience. For my final field placement, I am working under the supervision of Dr. Shailesh Shukla with Fisher River Cree Nation (FRCN) developing a traditional food guide that is reflective of their community. 

My Mom is Cree from Fisher River, and I spent a lot of time with family in Fisher River, so I am very grateful for this opportunity to connect with family and friends and build new relationships with youth in the community. 

As a part of my placement, I have met with several community members that work in the community and have participated in a community event organized by Sharon Monkman from Fisher River Health seeking their inputs in designing traditional food guide project through a written survey. Community members provided useful feedback on potential content of the Fisher River food guide including important and healthy traditional Fisher River food items that should be included in the guide. 

I have also had the opportunity to visit Fisher River High School Land-Based educator Kaitlyn Murdock in their land-based program. In addition, I had the privilege to host two focus groups with youth that attend the program. There are still more interviews with knowledge keepers, youth and elders in the community that need to be completed, but it has been great to put learn and apply community-based research for this important project. 

Our key focus would be to engage local youth and knowledge keepers and build in their voices into their own food guide. We would also like to organize traditional recipe events open to FRCN community members sometime in early August. At the end of the event, we plan to host a community feast to present the traditional food guide to the community. 

Finally, it has been great to be in community, around people, especially after 2 years of virtual learning. Although virtual meetings occur weekly, in person dialogue and community visits are something that I enjoy the most. Miigwech.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Goats, Mosquitoes and Research

 By Andrea Dsouza, 2nd year MDP student

Hello, my name is Andrea Dsouza. I was born and raised in Bangalore, India. In 2020 I completed an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies from the University of British Columbia. I am a second-year student in the MDP Program and am doing my field placement with the Anishinaabeg Agriculture Institute (AAI).

AAI is a community organization from the White Earth reservation with extensive farming experience, and a desire to diversify farming enterprises. Together with the East African and Middle Eastern community of Minnesota, their project aims to build a collaborative agriculture enterprise based on good land stewardship and cultural survival through food and land access. The project I am working on touches the following aspects: youth training, regional economy development, land back, and cross-cultural collaboration and restoration of traditional varieties of our food. What drew me to working with AAI is the integrated and intersectional nature of their work.

My task this summer is to answer the following questions: How do the food systems of the Anishinaabe and growing migrant & refugee populations overlap in needs? How can developing an Anishinaabe food system collaborate with these communities to meet their product demands? What are the practical considerations of developing a market value chain based on goats?

Developing the market includes experimenting and developing successful raw and value-added chains for goat and goat by-products including meat processing, and milk products. We also work closely with our Amish neighbors in the North, partnering with them to access their goat herds and farm infrastructure. Much of the work I have focussed on so far is hands on development of the Farm property, and program development for the young-farmer training in goat husbandry.

So far, I have really enjoyed working in a team environment alongside other master’s students from the University of Minnesota. We all come from different backgrounds and have different sets of expertise, which makes working together challenging, exciting and fun. After a year of doing online school it is also really nice to be in person with folks and to be able to connect with the land and water on a daily basis. Below are some photos from my time.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

The Winnipeg Boldness Project

 By Katherine Rempel, 1st year MDP student

Through a Mitacs fellowship and the support of Social Innovations Canada, I am completing an Accountability Framework Report during my placement at Boldness. Over the past month I have focused my time on the following activities:

1.            The Burns Leadership Institute Canada President’s Student Leadership Program (PSLP) at the
University of Manitoba selected 20 students from postgraduate study across Manitoba from 15 different disciplines to be in the 4th cohort of student leaders.  I applied through my placement to grow my leadership skills, experience learning from multiple perspectives, and applying my learning to positive change in my career.  This opportunity also provided an unique chance to learn from the Winnipeg Boldness Projects executive director Diane Roussin who was the opening presenter.

2.            Conducted an environmental scan of the governance structures of local Indigenous organizations.  The research produced an excel document for the organization of 30 local Indigenous organizations with recorded details around how the organization governance was structured, the values and missions of the organizations, and how they were funded.

3.            An environmental scan of articles focused on Indigenous governance in an organizational setting, Indigenous governance values, the historical Indigenous governance, Indigenous methods, and accountability and collaboration was completed finding 30 articles to use as references for the Accountability Framework Report.

4.            Creating and conducting a personal interview opportunity to explore the creation story and background behind the Winnipeg Boldness Projects formation with Diane Roussin.  This offered valuable insight into the generational governance and relationships of community organizations in the North End of Winnipeg.

5.            As part of the Mitacs fellowship I attended multiple Social Innovation Canada Plenary sessions to engage and interact with other fellowship recipients.  This has provided a platform for support and to share the work being conducted by the students with one another.

A Reconciliation Plan for The WestEnd Commons

 By Molly Damiani

Hello! My name is Molly and I am finishing up my first year in the MDP program. This summer I am completing my domestic field placement through the University of Winnipeg’s Inner City work-study program. This program involves 450 placement hours in addition to a 6-credit course examining Winnipeg’s inner-city challenges and community-based initiatives.

My placement organization is the WestEnd Commons. The WestEnd Commons is a project of St. Matthews Non-Profit Housing Inc. addressing the need for safe and supportive housing in the neighbourhood of West Central Winnipeg. The WestEnd Commons is located in the St. Matthew's Anglican Church which has been renovated to feature 26 units for tenants and a neighbourhood resource centre on the lower floors. 

My work with the WestEnd Commons is centred on creating a reconciliation plan, and developing a strategy towards reconciliation in the workplace and the building as whole. This work speaks to the organization’s commitment to the cultural safety of tenants and staff. They are working towards creating an inclusive and supportive space for their tenants to build community, raise their families, and lead fulfilling lives.

This project involves research, community engagement, the development of educational materials, and the creation of a final report summarizing findings and the developed strategies. It has been interesting getting to know the WestEnd Commons and exploring reconciliation in the relation to their unique history, residents, and connections with the community. This project offers an fascinating opportunity to contribute to the future of this space, and the lives of the residents. I am excited to continue this work, and I am especially looking forward to hearing from the different groups who collectively make up the WestEnd Commons.