North End Wellbeing Measure – Results Survey

We recognized early on in the project that there was a lack of community-based evaluation tools to be utilized when researching early childhood development in the North End. We talked a lot about the concept of wellbeing and health, but we wondered what the word wellbeing actually meant and how that definition would differ depending on the community in focus. Would the definition of wellbeing in the North End look the same as the definition of wellbeing in other areas of the city? Or would other communities prioritize different values and markers?

The Winnipeg Boldness Project set out to create a tool to measure child and family wellbeing, not from the perspective of an outside researcher, but from a wholistic community defined definition of wellbeing. In partnership with the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, the North End Wellbeing Measure was developed by using community input and existing surveys that have been used with northern reserve communities.

Our first test of this measurement tool was implemented with 191 caregivers and 367 children. We have compiled the data from this first test run, and we’re now seeking input from community residents living in the North End. We’ve been told that too often researchers analyze and make assumptions regarding the data they gather without first allowing community to sit with the data themselves. So, we want to make sure to provide an opportunity for community to take a look at the report and provide their thoughts and input.

We welcome anyone living in the North End of Winnipeg to take a look at the NEWM results document and provide feedback.

You can download the report here.

You can provide feedback on the report here.

Guest Contributor: Lee Spence – Supports for Dads Update

One of the activity areas that we’re currently developing further is the Supports for Dads prototype, which was created with the goal of responding to a gap in services for a particular demographic of men who are experiencing significant barriers. Our society’s social policies have been formed in a way that has not prioritized family togetherness and so often we see that men are excluded from their own families due to systemic barriers. This means that they have a more difficult time accessing the supports and resources they require such as housing, health, and even parenting programs designed for men.

 

Through our research we learned that men wanted more opportunities to connect with one another in a supportive and culturally safe environment. By teaming up with the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre and Mitch Bourbonniere’s team of qualified facilitators, we were able to test out this idea and saw a very positive response. Now this idea is being prototyped at a larger scale, thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, so we’ve hired a coordinator, Lee Spence, to help facilitate the growth of this activity area.

 

Lee has shared some of the learnings and impact that she has taken away from this experience so far:

 

We’ve been very lucky to further develop and scale our Supports for Dads prototype alongside three dedicated community partner organizations: Mount Carmel Clinic, North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, and Andrew’s Street Family Centre. Each of these organizations are providing space for men to meet one another, eat delicious food, laugh and talk, build their skills, and learn about resources for themselves and their families. Through these activities, men have an opportunity to access cultural ceremonies and sit in circle to nourish their spirit.

 

The Supports for Dads prototype is really demonstrating how allowing space for men to heal themselves and support others in a group setting is needed within our community. The men who attend have expressed how important these circles are in helping them to voice their feelings and thoughts in a non-judgemental environment with other men. 

 

We’ve learned how valuable it is for men to lead other men and create opportunities to participate in ceremony. This has been pivotal in their healing journeys, and we have found that when men have space to heal themselves it creates a ripple effect with their families and communities.

 

The most impactful moment I’ve experienced during this process was when I sat in a circle with twenty men who shared openly about their experiences with trauma, allowing themselves to cry and show emotion in a comfortable and safe circle. It was beautiful witnessing men feel loved and supported by one another. The rawness and realness of this experience was life changing for me, and I was honoured to be invited into the circle. I was very moved by seeing and hearing men share how they have changed their path in life to better themselves, to the point where they can now give back to others and mentor youth in the community.

 

New Website!

We are very excited to share our new website with you! We have been working with Relish New Brand Experience over the past 6 months to completely redesign the look, function, and content of our website, and we’re so happy that it’s finally complete!

This redesign was undertaken for a few reasons – one of which was to make sure that the project was easy to understand and access, as the work we do can sometimes be complex and complicated. This meant breaking things down into easy to understand categories, and taking a large amount of information and making it easily digestible.

We also wanted to make sure that the website provided an interactive and engaging experience, which is something that we have always used our social media accounts to achieve in the past through photos, videos, and project updates. Social media is a great tool, but if not checked regularly (or at all for those who do not use social media) then sometimes really important content can get missed. To solve this, we included an app on our front page that compiles all of our social media content in one place, so you can simply visit our website to see exactly what’s happening with the project at any given time.

Another exciting new tool on our website is one that Relish has created for us in order to share and archive our research documents. It’s very user-friendly and it allows anyone to access the reports, tools, and documents we have published in order to share our learnings and inform future policy and work done in these areas of focus.

As for the new look of the website, we feel that it reflects the characteristics of the project: bold, innovative, and community-driven. You’ll be seeing more of this aesthetic in our forthcoming prototype documents and future materials.

We would love to hear your feedback on our website! Feel free to get in touch with us on social media or through our contact form to let us know what you think!

Accountability Framework

The topic of accountability is one that is frequently brought up within the non-profit sector, as people often wonder how organizations ensure that they are being managed in a good way, and that strategic decisions are being made in a way that is cohesive with the needs of the community.

In the case of The Winnipeg Boldness Project, people regularly ask us how we make strategic decisions, as well as how we choose which prototypes to work on. The truth is there is no one decision maker in our project, but rather an accountability framework that is comprised of several layers of strategic thinkers that help to keep us on track, make recommendations, and ensure that our work is being completed in a way that works for the community.

Community Wisdom & Feedback flowchart

This accountability framework includes groups that are made of people from all walks of life, which ensures diversity in opinions and allows issues to be examined through a variety of lenses. We believe that the breadth of our partnerships is one of the best things about the project, as it brings people together to work on social issues that affect all of us in different ways.

We have spent the past two Parent Guide Group meetings discussing and evaluating the project’s accountability framework in great detail, in order to gain a better understanding of not only how our parents interpret our framework, but whether they feel that this framework is of value to the community.

Our overall takeaway from these discussions is that our Parent Guide Group feels that our accountability framework, one that values community input above all else, is unique and something that could or should be applied by other groups. They feel that we’ve created a structure where their opinions and feedback are valued at a very high level, and that they are able to see their input reflected in our work.

In a society where systems and frameworks are generally designed with a top down approach, where officials and delegates commonly have the final say in policy and decision-making, our parents feel that it is positive to see a framework where the community’s voice and ideas remain the most important factors in creating change for the community. They would like to see this model applied across all systems, in order to create a city that allows families and communities to make decisions for themselves, rather than having “experts” make decisions for them.

Tamarack Institute Webinar and Workshop

prototyping event imageAs a project we have always talked about the importance of forming strong partnerships with other organizations. We believe that complex challenges, such as early childhood development outcomes, are not solvable without a diverse group of stakeholders around the table.

With strong partnerships comes the ability to learn from others and grow through shared knowledge, which we often do with groups such as Shift Lab in Edmonton and MaRS Solutions Lab in Toronto.

One of our partnerships is with the Tamarack Institute, with whom we have been working on a number of important projects such as development evaluation, some strategic planning for the future, and the documentation of of our prototypes in a visual and user-friendly way.

In addition to this, we have recently partnered on a few opportunities for collaborative sharing of knowledge through a workshop and a webinar hosted by Tamarack and supported by #wpgboldness.

The webinar was held on October 9th on the topic of community wisdom and systems change, in the context of Winnipeg Boldness’ work. Our project director, Diane Roussin, spoke about our experience working alongside the community to promote large scale change in systems, and the values and methods we used to make sure our relationships were effective and reciprocal.

We spoke a bit about reconciliation as well, which again plays into our belief that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples must be a part of systems change because issues like poverty and early childhood outcomes affect everyone equally, as we all share the same ecosystem.

If you weren’t able to join us for the webinar, you can watch the full recording here.

We will also be joining the Tamarack Institute in hosting a workshop on November 20 on the topic of prototyping for community change. We’ll be using Winnipeg Boldness as a real-life example of how prototyping can be used in community work to test ideas for proven impact before making a big investment in new programs and interventions.

If you’re in Winnipeg, make sure to register for the workshop! Here are the details:

What: Prototyping for Community Change Workshop hosted by the Tamarack Institute
When: Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Where: Robert A. Steen Community Club (980 Palmerston Ave)

Click here to register! If the cost for registration is a barrier to participation, then you can apply for a reduced registration fee here.

Hope to see you there!