Innovative Water and Wastewater Management Training program to receive funding from Indigenous Initiatives Fund
The University of Manitoba recently received 45 submissions to the Indigenous Initiatives Fund. Of those submissions, 22 projects were selected, one of which was from Civil Engineering professor, Dr. Qiuyan Yuan, for her “Indigenous Youth Initiative for Training in Water and Wastewater Management”. The project, which will see a community engagement between the Environmental Engineering Program at the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Manitoba’s (U of M) and the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, Inc. (ILDII), will receive funding in the amount of $36,650.
The ultimate goal of the project will be to develop a pilot project that aims to inspire Indigenous youth (age 18 to 35) from First Nations communities in Manitoba, to take action in the pursuit of career in the Water and Wastewater Industry, and to develop into an Indigenous Water and Wastewater Training program that will address the critical need for Indigenous people to be trained to manage their water and wastewater systems on reserve.
By partnering together, the U of M and ILDII will be a part of the solution to solving the water crisis that First Nations are experiencing. Dr. Yuan at the U of M has intensive experience working with First Nations. She is actively involved in CREATE H2O program and has collaborated with Bearpaw Engineering & Project Management (Aboriginal owned and operated engineering firm) on First Nations wastewater lagoon projects. She has also been actively involved in Manitoba small wastewater treatment system training workshops. ILDII has undertaken many governance and leadership projects for First Nations people on reserve and off for the past 16 years through strategic partnerships. Initiatives such as the annual World Indigenous Business Forum, the Core Governance Practices for First Nations project and the Executive Training Courses have all enhanced the capacity of First Nations people and their communities. Two on-going successful programs that are relevant to this initiative are the Empowering Indigenous Youth in Governance and Leadership (EIYGL), and the Indigenous Carpentry Program which has graduated over 188 participants. ILDII has seen firsthand that Indigenous youth can succeed in obtaining training towards a career path, and that what is needed is: an awareness campaign of what opportunities are available; effective supports that are based on individual needs assessments; and strategic partnerships with community members and organizations that have invested interests in seeing successful outcomes for capacity building in Indigenous people.