Canada

Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) Grants

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The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) invites Canadian community-oriented broadcasters and associations to apply for funding through two programmes: the Radio Talent Development Program and the Youth Internship Program. The goal of both programmes is to develop innovative local interest programming while providing mentorship, education, and/or training for broadcasters. Proposals are assessed in March and April by an independent jury, with final results announced each May. There is CAD$80,000 available under each programme, with a maximum CAD$10,000 for each applicant.

Deadline Date
Deadline Date: 
April 11, 2012

CI & Indigenous Communities in Canada - The K-Net (Keewaytinook Okimakanak's Kuhkenah Network) Experience

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Subtitle: 
The Journal of Community Informatics: Special Issue: Vol. 5 No. 2
Author: 
Michael Gurstein, ed.
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2009

This issue of the Journal of Community Informatics focuses on the theme of K-Net, the Kuhkenah Network, the telecommunications divis

Source: 

OURMEDIA listerv, January 14 2010. Images courtesy of The Journal of Community Informatics

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Aboriginal Mapping Network (AMN)

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Publication Date
Publication Date: 

Ongoing since 1998

The Aboriginal Mapping Network, a website facilitated and maintained by Ecotrust Canada, was established in 1998 as a joint initiative of the Gitxsan and Ahousaht First Nations and Ecotrust Canada

Source: 

AMN website, accessed on February 11 2010; and email from Gregory Kehm to The Communication Initiative on February 12 2010.

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after homelessness...

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Created and performed by people who have struggled with homelessness, in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada, this forum theatre production was designed as a vehicle to help develop policy and plans for the government and social service agencies to ensure that housing is safe, appropriate, and affordable. The aim was not to raise awareness (to "ring an alarm bell about homelessness"); rather, this model attempted to creatively involve the public in "real dialogue that can lead to actual public input into policy and development planning".

Communication Strategies: 

after homelessness... was, by design, participatory - involving people who are living homelessness and mental illness, issues that the organisers explain are often attached. This strategy is based on the observation that, while the finances to build affordable housing will come from governments and developers, the knowledge of what will make that housing "safe and appropriate" can only come from those people who have life knowledge of the issues.

Theatre for Living (formerly called Headlines Theatre) characterises forum theatre as an opportunity for creative, community-based dialogue. In October 2009, what was then called Headlines Theatre gathered a group of 20 participants who were paid to participate in a 6-day "theatre for living" workshop. The workshop strategy evolved from Augusto Boal's "Theatre of the Oppressed". Theatre for Living has integrated a systems-based perspective whereby a community is a complexly integrated, living organism. As part of this process, workshop participants engage in very specific games and exercises that help them investigate issues at a deep level.

After a 3-week period, selected participants joined with (then-called) Headlines Theatre to create a play. When presented to the public, this play is performed once, all the way through, so that the audience can see the situation and the problems presented. The story builds to a crisis and stops there, offering no solutions. The play is then run again, with audience members able to "freeze" the action at any point where they see a character engaged in a struggle. An audience member yells "stop!", comes into the playing area, replaces the character s/he sees struggling with the problem, and tries out his/her idea. This is called an "intervention". The process is meant to be "fun, profound, entertaining and full of surprises and learning."

The 15 "legislative performances" held in Metro Vancouver in November and December 2009 - with some tickets free to groups working on homelessness - were followed by community dialogue sessions called "housing the homeless", a series of moderated panel discussions that got at the nuts and bolts of creating safe, affordable, and supportive housing. The sessions tackled location, financing, and necessary supports and services, each day respectively. This was not a series of lectures; rather, panels were made up of people who have been homeless, Metro Vancouver City councillors, housing advocates, and business leaders, among others. The panellists shared their experience and knowledge with the topics rather than providing set answers. The solutions were sought within the conversation.

Organisers had earlier extended a call for photographs communicating homelessness. (Then-called) Headlines Theatre received 265 photos, mostly from all over Metro Vancouver. A few came from the rest of Canada and some from as far away as India, Thailand, and Mexico. Winning photographs were viewable online and were part of a group art exhibition at Gallery Gachet for the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival in November 2009.

A Community Action Report (PDF), generated from this interactive process, summarises the voices of people attending the performances, voices from the Community Dialogue Sessions, the workshop group, and so on. It has been distributed to staff of the City of Vancouver and all other organisations that requested the report for their research. Other reports can be found on the Theatre for Living website.

Development Issues: 

Homelessness, Rights.

Key Points: 

The report "Housing and Support for Adults with Severe Addictions and/or Mental Illness in British Columbia", commissioned by the BC Health Ministry, estimates that 8,000 to 15,500 adults in the province with severe addictions or mental illness are homeless, and almost 40,000 are inadequately housed. In part, Headlines Theatre points out, this can be linked to the fact that, in the 1980s, various governments started deinstitutionalising the mentally ill. The federal cost sharing for a national housing programme ended in 1993, with only 3 provinces continuing to maintain their provincial housing programmes. "In BC, welfare rates were chopped in 2002 which had a direct impact on the level of street homelessness." Headlines Theatre developed the play to approach homelessness as a community health issue - exploring how homelessness intertwines with mental health, and how the complexity of these issues requires well-thought-out housing solutions.

after homelessness... played to 93% capacity audiences and was honoured with two awards at the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards (Vancouver’s professional theatre awards): Significant Artistic Achievement/Outstanding Innovation in Theatre as Contribution to Community (Company of after homelessness... and Headlines Theatre) and Outstanding Production (Headlines Theatre). DVDs of one of the performances are available; to order a DVD, please click here.

Source: 

Headlines Theatre newsletter, sent from Dafne Blanco to The Communication Initiative on October 27 2009; after homelessness... page on the Headlines Theatre website, November 6 2009; and emails from Liza Lindgren and David Diamond to The Communication Initiative on July 23 2010 and September 12 2014, respectively.

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Darkness Calls

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Darkness Calls is a suicide prevention effort drawing on the use of comics - in printed and video format - to raise awareness and spark conversation among Aboriginal young people living in Canada.

Communication Strategies: 

This initiative revolves around an iconic superhero comic book written and illustrated by young First Nation comic book artist Steve Sanderson. "Darkness Calls", which is loosely based on the author's own experiences, follows the story of Kyle, an overweight, artistic, punk-rock-listening, bullied First Nation kid with alcoholic parents. Similar to Sanderson's cousin at one point in his teenage years, Kyle loses hope and expresses a desire to kill himself. With the help of an Elder who is related to Kyle, he combats the evil urges threatening to destroy him by engaging in a symbolic battle for his soul between the shapeshifting "trickster" warrior hero Wesakechak, who teaches people lessons in Cree legends, and another reimagined character of Cree mythology: the evil, cannibal spirit Weetigo. (What the author intends to be strong images and stark, yet powerful, drawings are used to convey the intense nature of this struggle). By travelling through this story, Kyle realises that he has the strength and will to live - despite Weetigo's efforts to lure him into taking his own life. Sanderson stresses that "it's not actually Wesakechak the superhero that defeats the villain Weetigo. In the end, it's Kyle. He has to stand up and have the power within himself to decide not to let this demon take his spirit." Kyle learns that he can share this healing spirit with other youth by using his creative means of communication and connection: his ability to draw.

Sanderson has created what he intends to be a culturally relevant story, one that resonates particularly with First Nations youth. The motivation for, the process of creating, and the nature of the comic emerges from the author's Cree heritage. He says, "I tell a story. And that’s quite traditional. First Nations people don't have a written language....I'm a writer, but I am a visual writer." According to one Cree heritage website, storytelling is used in this culture to entertain listeners of all ages, to instruct the young, and to preserve the history, rituals, and beliefs of their Nation. Also, statistics show an Aboriginal suicide rate 2 to 3 times higher than the non-Aboriginal rate for Canada; within the youth age group the Aboriginal suicide rate is estimated to be 5 to 6 times higher than that of non-Aboriginal youth. The comic was distributed to aboriginal teens as Canada celebrates National Aboriginal Day.

The process of developing the comic and ensuring its relevance was intended to be participatory. It was focus-group tested with youth and health professionals for authentic characters, storyline, and language. Sanderson points out that the focus-testing process was initially centred around a 9-page manuscript. However, researchers found that the focus group members were were more engaged if a different medium was used: the more interactive process of watching a DVD of the storyboard, with Sanderson telling the story verbally. This experiment led HAN to develop the DVD into a colour animated short. To do so, organisers visited a BC First Nation (a reservation) that has a high rate of suicide, where the youth redid the dialogue in their native language. The 18-minute film is done in Gitxsan (from the Hazelton, BC area) for the additional benefit of language retention. Sanderson's colleague Sean Muir says, "The cool thing about the short is that the youth couldn't speak their language previous to starting the project. They learned the words and phrases necessary to speak the dialogue."

Development Issues: 

Suicide, Youth.

Key Points: 

Sanderson explains that, unlike "a pamphlet or a cheesy after-school TV show," he hopes discussion about the comic will be a more palatable platform for aboriginal teens to start talking with adults about suicide. Muir adds that "[y]outh find the comic non-threatening and relatable, so it's a terrific ice breaker to get them talking about how they feel." "Darkness Calls" sold over 65,000 copies in the first 2 years of its publication, and the short film won an honourable mention at the Reelworld Film Festival in Toronto in April 2008.

HAN has released 5 other comics (in printed format, as of January 2010). Three of them are the following: "An Invited Threat" (focused on diabetes prevention), "On the Turn" (focused on gambling addiction), and "Level Up" (focused on staying in school). The latter is about Terry, a kid who is contemplating dropping out of school but who is disuaded by his cousin Dave, a successful game developer who makes the importance of school relatable – by comparing it to character strengths and weaknesses in a video game. In addition, the following are available: "In Path of the Warrior" (focused on gang awareness and the alternative of sports as a support system) and "Just a Story" (on mental illness and mental health support). Pricing for these comics can be found on the HAN website, which will also provide details about additional comics currently in production, such as those focused on living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), pride in community, and physical activity.

Source: 

Emails from Sean Muir to The Communication Initiative on February 21 2008, September 2 2008, September 5 2008, and January 18 2010; "Revamped Cree Legend Fights Teen Suicide in New Comic", June 21 2006, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC); "'Darkness Calls' Comic Brings Cree Legends to Life to Help Youth Battle Death: Native Comic Book Sheds Light on Youth Suicide", by Kristin Kozuback, RedWAY BC News, Vol. 3, Issue 12, August 1 2006; and "Doing Nothing Gives It Power - An interview with 'Darkness Calls' Creators Steve Sanderson and Sean Muir", by Ben Tanzer, Punk Planet, January 13 2007.

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Cycle to Walk

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Communication Strategies: 

This initiative is driven by an individual who has experienced first-hand what it is like to have suffered with - and survived - a disease that many people (falsely) assume has been eradicated. Adopted from India by Canadian parents in 1982, Ramesh returned to India for a journey in 2002, where he witnessed what it is like to suffer with polio and yet lack rehabilitative support. Upon his return to Canada, Ramesh vowed to help. In-person events held along his route are supplementing the interactive informational website designed to help people track his progress, learn about (and discuss) polio, and donate funds.

Specifically, visitors to the Cycle to Walk website may learn various facts about this vaccine-preventable disease, and participate in various online discussions about Ramesh's journey. Details about various educational speaking engagements and other events that Ramesh is leading in stops along the route (e.g., at schools, service clubs, healthcare providers, and governmental offices) are provided here. In addition, Ramesh is carrying a global positioning satellite (GPS) device with him on his bike; the data from this technological tool is regularly uploaded to the website so that people may track his progress, follow along in Google Earth, and/or access high-resolution maps.

Development Issues: 

Health, Immunisation and Vaccines.

Key Points: 

According to organisers, the immunisation rate in Canada against polio is 89%, which leaves nearly 4 million Canadians (11%) vulnerable to this viral infection. According to WHO calculations, the rate of immunisation is (as of early 2008) low enough to put Canada at risk for at least localised outbreaks.

Partner Text: 

The Rotary Clubs in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada - with the additional support of service clubs, churches, governments (especially the Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon), and individuals. (Click here for more information about Cycle to Walk sponsors.)

Source: 

Email from Jean Carey to The Communication Initiative on April 30 2008; and Cycle to Walk website.

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River Run

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Author: 
Brandon Mitchell
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
October 1, 2010

River Run, illustrated by Tara Audibert, is a smoking prevention comic book from the Canadian organisation The Healthy Aboriginal Network. It is about a brother and sister who go to a camp that is teaching traditional aboriginal values and customs. Though the sister smokes tobacco when she is alone, she tries to hide her habit and insists that her brother is too young to try it. The camp staff explains the aboriginal tradition of using tobacco and how it differs from personal addiction to tobacco. It is designated as culturally appropriate by The Healthy Aboriginal Network.

Cost: 
CA$5.00; quantity prices are available on the website.
Number of Pages: 

48

Source: 

Emailed press release from Sean Muir on November 30 2010; The Healthy Aboriginal Network website, accessed on February 25 2011; and email from Sean Muir to The Communication Initiative on November 23 2015.

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Logic Models Workbook

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Publication Date
Publication Date: 
September 21, 2001

This workbook, developed by The Health Communication Unit (THCU) at the University of Toronto, Canada, uses a four-step approach to assist health promotion practitioners in the development of progr

Number of Pages: 

55

Source: 

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Overview of Developing Health Communication Campaigns Toolkit

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Publication Date
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2009

This tool kit accompanies The Health Communication Unit (THCU)'s "Overview of Developing Health Communication Campaigns" workshops.

Number of Pages: 

107

Source: 

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Do Something Awards

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The Do Something Awards invites entries and nominations of exceptional young social entrepreneurs, activists, and community leaders who have a significant social impact.

Deadline Date
Deadline Date: 
March 1, 2011
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