New social enterprises working with Indigenous communities win financial support

Winners of the Ryerson / Impact Challenge announced this past week .. .. “10 IDEAS TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD, FASTER” ..

Most of them have possible implications for Indigenous communities ..

1. The Arctic Eider Society

Sea ice, or “siku”, is integral to the way of life of tens of thousands of Inuit living in Hudson’s Bay and along Canada’s Arctic coastline. But with Arctic sea ice declining at over 13% per decade, changing conditions make navigation unpredictable and limits access to traditional foods for Arctic communities.

The SIKU platform will provide a set of open-source tools that help Inuit communities map changing sea ice, and build a living archive of Inuit knowledge to help inform decision making for stewardship and sustainable development.

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2. The Rumie Initiative

Only 40% of students on Indigenous reserves graduate high school, compared to 90% of students in the rest of Canada. Indigenous leaders will use the LearnCloud Portal to curate educational content for youth in their communities. Available offline via tablets, this curriculum will help high school students learn about Indigenous culture, history and language while gaining employment skills and financial literacy.

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3. Food Banks Canada

Each year, close to $31 billion of food is wasted in Canada–yet nearly one in ten Canadian households have to worry about whether they have food on the table. The FoodAccess App will address two significant challenges – feeding hungry Canadians and addressing the high volume of wasted food in Canada.

This innovation will divert surplus quality food away from landfill by connecting farmers, manufacturers and restaurants with donation agencies and Canadian dinner tables that might otherwise go empty.

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4. PeaceGeeks Society

It can take up to ten years for the employment rate of recent immigrant cohorts to reach that of individuals born in Canada. Services Advisor is an application that will make it easier for newcomers to access immigrant services in Vancouver, where they account for 40% of the population. Resources like mentorship and employment skills, with information provided in their native language, will help welcome new Canadians to our shores.

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5. World Wide Hearing Foundation International

Globally, 32 million children suffer from significant hearing loss, the majority of whom live in countries where access to hearing care can be a significant barrier. Without timely interventions, children with hearing loss are often marginalized, perform poorly at school and lose access to equal opportunity.

The Teleaudiology Cloud will connect children living in remote communities with audiologists and speech therapists who can assist with remote screening, hearing aid fitting, speech therapy and parent counselling.

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6. Victoria Hand Project

Only 5% of the 40 million people who need prosthetic care can access the resources they need. The Victoria Hand Project will provide affordable 3D-printed prosthetics in low-to-mid income countries. Using advanced yet cost-effective technology, 3D printing will allow local healthcare providers to manufacture customized prosthetics directly within the countries where they are needed most.

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7. David McAntony Gibson Foundation (GlobalMedic)

In the chaos left behind after an earthquake or a tsunami, every minute counts. Rescue workers often lack the information needed to determine where help is needed most – whether to search for survivors, or deliver supplies and rescue equipment to the worst hit areas.

The RescUAV project will use Canadian-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to fly over disaster areas, helping aid workers to better visualize the extent of damage and to decide which areas should be prioritized for immediate search and rescue efforts. These aerial views will help emergency responders to see the terrain they are heading into and help them get help to where it’s needed most.

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8. British Columbia Children’s Hospital Foundation

The single largest cause of death among children under 5, pneumonia, can be treated with antibiotics – yet only one in three children with pneumonia receive the treatment they need.

The Pocket Doc for Pneumonia will help local healthcare providers around the world accurately diagnose pneumonia, ensure treatment is given to those in need, and in turn save children’s lives.

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9. Growing North

In Nunavut, nearly 70% of adults are food insecure. Growing North addresses food insecurity issues by building greenhouses that will provide fresh produce all year round in latitudes above the Arctic Circle at about half of the present cost.

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10. Canadian Red Cross

The Register Educate Deliver System (REDS) system will take a pilot project developed in the days following the Fort McMurray Wildfire and scale it so it’s ready for the next big disaster. The program registers those affected, shares critical information about how to respond, and quickly delivers financial assistance into the hands of Canadians when they need it most.

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