Six innovative projects that will help prevent sexual violence in First Nations communities are receiving grants through the province’s Sexual Violence Strategy.
Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard today, April 18, announced more than $150,000 in Prevention Innovation Grants for Mi’kmaq organizations during her opening remarks at the Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy Mi’kmaq Community Engagement Gathering in Truro.
The two-day gathering is bringing together service providers and community leaders from First Nations communities in Nova Scotia to share knowledge and collectively identify ways communities can prevent and respond to sexualized violence.
“The sad truth is that aboriginal women and girls are about three times more vulnerable to sexual victimization than non-aboriginal women,” said Ms. Bernard. “It’s wonderful to see solutions being led by aboriginal community members who know these realities far too well.”
The Prevention Innovation Grants are a commitment under government’s Sexual Violence Strategy. There’s an additional $600,000 yet to come for a total investment of more than $1.2 million over two years. Applications for these one-time grants will be made available again in the fall.
The grants help community groups and organizations, including youth and underserved populations such as African Nova Scotians, First Nations, and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, to reach out to their peers and help put creative prevention initiatives into practice.
The Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association is receiving more than $36,000 to provide culturally relevant programming to aboriginal women and girls in the Sydney area to enhance skills, bolster confidence and improve the community’s ability to prevent sexual violence.
“The project provides our women who have been affected by sexual violence with a connection to their culture,” said Audrey Marshall, of the association. “That gives them a sense of pride and, more importantly, hope.”
Other grants were:
–- $46,000 to the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in Antigonish County to work with boys in Grades 7 and 8 to explore healthy relationships, consent and positive masculinity
–- $34,000 to the Waycobah First Nation and the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre to hire a community facilitator to implement a community engagement project on preventing and responding to sexual violence
–- $5,000 to the Mawio’miokuom society of Membertou to facilitate two culturally specific programs for youth, including one that focuses on healthy masculinity and engaging men and boys in ending violence
–- $5,000 to the Millbrook Native Women’s Association for youth to develop a series of public service announcements to help prevent sexual violence
–- $30,000 to the Red Cross to work with First Nations communities in the delivery of culturally sensitive, train-the-trainer sessions on healthy relationships, dating violence, and engaging youth facilitators
Nearly 100 applications were received from across the province. The names of other communities and organizations receiving grants will be announced soon.