Acknowledging that Indigenous Peoples are the experts of their own realities and histories, and that youth engagement is a key strategy for communities to take control of their economies and futures, we have designed an open competition to ignite a passion for science and innovation, business creation, community health, water-health and community service in young people.
RESEAU-CMI is partnering with Indigenous communities across Canada, and organizations, university researchers, industry leaders and entrepreneurs to give students K-12 the chance to work with their communities to solve a drinking water health challenge.
Here’s how it works: Working in teams, youth will engage elders and community leadership to identify local water challenges (e.g., watershed-specific issues in terms of natural and man-made stresses such as industrial or agricultural use and climate change), barriers to solving them and potential solutions. With mentorship from university researchers and water industry experts, the teams will develop a solution to solve a single challenge. Then, they’ll workshop their idea with entrepreneurs before presenting their ideas to their community. Their work will be judged by an Indigenous Advisory Council, who are also overseeing the program development, for prizes and opportunities for accelerator support to develop winning ideas into actual products and services to serve their community (and Indigenous communities at large). Up to 8 teams can participate in the project, and each participating community will receive $15,000 in team funding as well as $5,000 in administration support to help their team move forward. Our goal is to run the competition twice annually.
The ultimate goal of the program is to inspire a pipeline of next-generation Indigenous innovators and entrepreneurs, and to build resilience in youth as they learn from mistakes and work to create unique solutions. In doing so, they will create new webs of knowledge, creating opportunities to generate and share new knowledge and build an economy that drives innovation by and for Indigenous communities.
2022 - Indigenous Youth Potable Water Innovation Challenge - Watch the Explainer Video below:
Past Youth Engagement Activities