Friday, 28 June 2013

Best Practices of Northern Development… And Other Insights

By Naomi Happychuk, 1st year MDP student

For the past several weeks I have been undergoing a field placement with the University of Winnipeg’s Northern Sustainable Prosperity Initiative.

Until last week I have been helping organize a virtual round table on Models and Best Practices of Northern Development. This was a tele-video conference held in the Cisco theatre at Richardson College, connecting First Nation Chiefs, community leaders, and industry representatives from across the country to discuss how Manitoba’s own northern strategy should move forward.

Roundtable on Models and Best Practices of Northern Development

It has been a great opportunity to meet and communicate with so many of the people engaged in Manitoba’s development initiatives, all with their own unique perspective over a common interest. While securing participation and planning the agenda for the event, we were met with achievements, surprises, and challenges. 

I have been reminded of some of the key lessons I learned in my first couple of years of my undergrad in International Development…

1. Politics is everything, and despite my eagerness to incite collaborative action, (Gosh darn it! Why can’t we make this work already?!), it cannot easily be evaded and at the very least must be acknowledge. -Though I remain convinced that greater communication (particularly over a tasty lunch) could solve most of the world’s problems.

2. Though we may think the more we learn the more clarity we acquire, it is actually quite the opposite, and the more I learn the more complex (and perplexed) are my realizations!

3. This society is overworked! Everyone is busy! You would be amazed at what can happen last-minute! (Or the day before the main event!)

This practicum has enabled me to learn professionally, personally, and academically, experiencing “real” work (I now understand why people get so excited for the weekends), learning about what is important to me and what I want to look for in a future career, and expanding my knowledge of, and passion for, development.  

After a successful and insightful round table, I am now working on a few projects relating to climate change and adaptation in Canada’s North, and putting together a document on best practices of Northern development. With this I know I have much more learning to do!

Evelyn Poitras (L), Ovide Mercredi (C) & Naomi Happychuk (R) at the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Summit

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