A Canada-wide Indigenous water initiative is providing young people with an opportunity to tackle water problems in their communities.
According to Kimberley Brown, a Tsimshian water engineer in training and a member of the Lax Kw’alaams Band in British Columbia, the goal of the challenge is ” to create Indigenous youth who want to become water engineers or scientists…”
“It’s just the opportunity for eight communities to participate and solve their own water issues, and it’s judged by their own communities not us, so it’s very Indigenous-led and Indigenous supported.”
The Indigenous Youth Portable Water Innovation Challenge is a pilot project run by Vancouver-based non-profit Reseau Centre For Mobilization Innovation.
The program is looking for Indigenous youth from Kindergarten to Grade 12 who want to tackle any water challenges their community may be having.
Up to eight teams will be able to participate, and each participating community will receive $15,000 for the project and an additional $5,000 for administrative support.
Participating Indigenous youth must team up with community members, and they can receive support from researchers and professionals.
They will have an opportunity to identify problems and find solutions to their community’s water woes.
The program has a long list of partners, including the University of British Columbia, the Assembly of First Nations, and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
According to an ISC update, there are still 34 long team water drinking is in effect in 29 communities across the country.
Brown says the challenge’s goal is to inspire and engage youth.
“To create kids who want to become water treatment operators, to create Indigenous youth who want to become water engineers or scientists are anything to do with public works and really develop water in their own community or maybe other Indigenous community across Canada,” she shared.
The Indigenous youth water challenge program is accepting applications online.