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Creating solutions: Canada and Australia’s initiatives for Indigenous communities

20 July, 2023 — Canada and Australia are making significant efforts to address the unique needs and challenges faced by Indigenous communities in both countries. These initiatives aim to foster self-determination, cultural preservation, and socio-economic development among First Nations and Indigenous peoples.

Areas of focus for the two countries’ initiatives in this space include land rights, education, healthcare, self-governance, social equity, cultural revitalization, and economic empowerment. Through these initiatives, both countries strive to rectify historical injustices, promote reconciliation, and create a more inclusive and prosperous future for their First Nations and Indigenous populations.

Canada’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI)

Canada’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) is a comprehensive program that provides training and funding for Indigenous-led climate solutions in remote Indigenous communities currently reliant on diesel or fossil fuels for heat and power.

Launched in 2019, IODI was developed after extensive engagement with Indigenous communities, rights holders, and organizations over a period of 18 months. This collaborative effort involves the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise (ICE SE) and the federal government.

IODI supports a group of participants known as Energy Champions, guiding them from training to project implementation. These Energy Champions work closely with a team of clean energy leaders and actively engage with their communities to promote community energy literacy and ensure that projects align with community priorities.

Eligibility for IODI is open to individuals and teams from remote Indigenous communities in Canada who are passionate about becoming clean Energy Champions. Applicants must either reside in or have strong and ongoing connections to a remote Indigenous community or a group of such communities. Priority consideration is given to applicants whose communities do not currently receive federal funding for community-scale clean energy or energy efficiency projects.

Visit IODI‘s website to learn more about eligibility and the application process.

Australia’s Remote Laundries Project

Meanwhile, in Australia, Rise Ventures is actively seeking to expand their role as a major sponsor and supporter of the Remote Laundries Project, a vital initiative led by The Aboriginal Investment Group (AIG). The primary objective of this project is to enhance the well-being and quality of life for community members by promoting better health outcomes, improved access to education, and increased local employment opportunities.

Overall impacts

While the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) and the Remote Laundries Project may seem distinct in their objectives, they share common goals of improving community well-being and creating economic opportunities. Both initiatives prioritize community engagement and empowerment, recognizing the importance of tailoring solutions to specific cultural needs.

By working closely with Indigenous communities and leveraging partnerships, these initiatives foster self-sufficiency and pride within Indigenous communities, while addressing pressing environmental, health, and social challenges.

Both projects also demonstrate the positive impact that community-driven initiatives can have on Indigenous communities. Through their targeted approaches, these initiatives go beyond addressing immediate needs and create pathways for long-term empowerment and sustainability.