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ICE Network CoLab Summary: Engaging Youth and Elders in Community Energy Planning | Community Energy Planning & Education

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ICE Network CoLab Summary:  Engaging Youth and Elders in Community Energy Planning

ICE Network CoLab Summary: Engaging Youth and Elders in Community Energy Planning

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Community Energy Planning is intended to engage every age and background of people in a community. Very often there are barriers for engagement with elders and youth because of differences in communication styles, perspectives, and vision. This ICE CoLab presents the very successful engagement work of two Community Energy Champions working on projects with the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative to hear about their learnings and advice for others. 

CoLab Resources

  • CoLab Host: Kimberley Brown, Manager of Community Outreach and Program Manager, Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise
  • Resources:
  • Siobhan Slade, Clean Energy Coordinator, NunatuKavut Community Council
  • Tyler Jobb, Clean Energy Consultant, Jobb Developments
  • Eryn Stewart, Director of the 20/20 Catalysts Program, Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise

Successful Strategies from NunatuKavut Community Energy Planning

  • Formed a youth group called the NATURE (NunatuKavut Action Team in Understanding Renewable Energy) Youth Council. There were ten youth participants hired for paid positions, sponsored by the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador.
    • Developed to build youth research skills and capacity in community sustainability;
    • Aimed to also teach about traditional knowledge and reconnect youth to the land;
    • Tasks included data collection*, transcription, data entry, and helping out elders during community engagement meetings to accomplish tasks like setting up tents and starting fires.
      (Noting that in Fox Harbour, these youth participated in interviews with community elders for data collection of surveys aimed to understand local species of flora and fauna, as well as habitats and migration patterns as a part of the pre-feasibility exercises for Phase 2 of the Off-Diesel Initiative Program).
  • In the first phase of regional CEPs, the community surveys were delivered when and where it was convenient for the team to meet people to have those conversations and get their input, especially the elders, who spend a lot of time out on the land.
  • It was very important to word questions differently to suit the people that they were talking to, as well as explaining the ideas that they wanted to share differently so that the message would come across to everyone regardless of their age or background.
  • The CEP team found that the youth in the community were very media-driven and tech-savvy; whereas the elders in the community were very removed from those communication tools. The CEP team needed to adapt their communications to suit each of these groups.
  • Q: What are some of the challenges of working in remote communities?
    A: One of the biggest challenges was accessibility; because across 9 communities, two were only accessible by water, and depending on the time of year, getting into the communities safely can be a challenge. Also, there aren’t reliable internet connections in every household, so there are limitations to what you can do using online engagement tools.
  • Q: How can you adapt when community members aren’t able to participate online for CEP engagement activities like surveys?
    A: We have done some phone surveys, and plan to do more in-depth ones as part of the second phase of the IODI project in two of our communities. This method will unlock participation with some key community members who indicated that they were not comfortable being recorded or having anyone from the project team meet them at their home for the surveys we did in the past.
  • Q: Did you use any honorariums for people, specifically youth and elders, that participated in CEP activities?
    A: Not in the first and second rounds of CEP, because everything was voluntary. Moving forward, we will be offering an honorarium to our elders that attend educational events, and things like door prizes at the events themselves. We also offer “swag bags” to our youth participants for coming to the events, containing things like sunglasses and water bottles.

Community Engagement with Youth and Elders in Kinoosao First Nation

The community of Kinoosao First Nation is the last remote community running entirely on diesel generation, and Tyler, with his team, is working with the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative to bring clean energy to the community to offset their fossil fuel consumption. Some of the events and strategies that were successful in the CEP engagement with youth:

  • Youth movie nights to make some of the adults in the community available to participate in CEP engagement events that they would have otherwise not been able to attend;
  • Activity events for youth to give hands-on learning opportunities;
  • Logo design contest for students (with a $250 prize) which lead to the development of a project logo, as well as created some excitement and support for the project. Tyler posted the entries to the project’s Facebook page and let the community members vote to select the winner;
  • Asking the youth what kind of activities they would like to do;

For engagement with elders and adults in the community, some of the winning strategies include:

  • Making and serving good country food that everyone can enjoy, setting a comfortable tone;
  • Create or find a comfortable environment for everyone to meet that isn’t too formal so that the conversations can flow organically;
  • Keep sessions short and impactful if possible;
  • Plan and host some community events which aren’t just about energy, it’s also about building a relationship and trust with people in the community;
  • Use social media to share the work that the team is doing to raise awareness about the project and share information;
  • Have a way for people to give feedback that allows them to be candid;

Some questions and answers from the attendees:

  • Q: How can you engage people that don’t want to be engaged on the topic?
    A: We don’t force the subject; we just try to build a rapport and try to figure out why they don’t want to be involved. You might learn something about them that can make what you have to share relevant to their daily life and their lifestyle. It’s about creating value in what you have to share in their eyes. Sometimes you learn things that you might have otherwise missed and those insights and suggestions, if you can get them, can be valuable to what you’re trying to do.
  • Q: In addition to clean energy projects (to generate electricity), has there also been any focus on energy conservation in your energy planning and engagement?
    A: Yes, in addition to the information that we are presenting about clean energy projects that can generate power, we are also talking about energy efficiency and conservation. We are also distributing energy efficiency kits that contain things like LED lightbulbs, caulking, and things like that, to employ some local staff for installations and as a learning tool for the community to get more information about, energy efficiency.
  • Q: What are some of the cultural barriers that you have encountered in your engagement with youth and elders during these CEP activities, and how did you overcome those? (For both presenters, please)
    A: (TJ) I grew up in the community, so I understand the culture for the most part. I still talk to my family about the history of the community and traditional knowledge that helped me in the work I’m doing there now. I would also like to add that you need to come to the community with all kinds of questions and be in the mindset of continually learning.
    Much like Tyler, I am from the lands where I’m working, so that’s been helpful. One of the bigger challenges for me has been to work with outside researchers coming into the community and them not knowing our culture. It took a lot of effort for people in the communities to trust them, but having my team there was helpful in at least starting that trust.


CoLab Attendees (163)

Ariana Arguello, Jason Aitchison, Ross Armstrong, Anil Arora, Ariadni Athanassiadis, Daria Babaie, Andrew Bacchus, Meaghan Bennett, Erica Berg, Andrew Berselli, Marshall Birch, AJ Bird, Christine Boland, Chad Bonnetrouge, Stuart Bowman, Stephan Bowman, Susan Brewer, Darrell Brown, Dietrich Bödecker, Andrew Cahill, Chelsey Campbell, Patrick Caraher, Leon Cardinal, Heather Castleden, Eliana Chia, Love-Ese Chile, Jeanie Chin, Kelsey Clarke, Elye Clarkson, Jason Collard, Jennifer Collins, Robert Cooke, Corey Cote, David Crombie, Tara Dell, Natalie Dillon, Andree Doucet, Sofia Favila, Susan Finlay, Ria Fitzgerald, Guy Follen, Sara Fralin, Bruno Gagnon, Jenna Gall, Jim Gallant, Laurel Gardiner, Laura Gareau, Mukhtar Gazali, Zac Glasford, Clay Good, Barb Gray, James Griffiths, Sergio Gualteros, Catherinr Gull, Kristina Hamernik, Heather Hamilton, Kelsey Harmse, James Harper, Chris Henderson, Darryl Hill, Caitlin Hinton, Andy Hira, Emily Holman, Jesse Hudson, Alex Ittimangnaq, Ryan Jansen, Dustin Jobb, Braydon Jobb, David Katz, Tyler Katzmar, Daphne Kay, Hugh Kennedy, John Kenney, Janice Keyes, Stefanie LaForce, Julien Lafaille, Ronald Lampreau, Meaghan Langille, Gail Lawlor, Michael Lee, Michelle Leger, Jessica Leis, Martha Lenio, Michael Lickers, Andreane Lussier, Cheri-Ann MacKinlay, Abdullah Al Mamun, Paul Manson, John Masakhwe, Brendan Matto, Jamie McInnis, Shianne McKay, Ayshaliisa McNally, Felix Mercure, Dallas Moffat, Charlene Monaco, Nigel Moore, Terri Lynn Morrison, Bailey Murdoch, Erin Myers, Ladan Naimi, Richard Nerysoo, Kevin Nilsen, Jennifer Olson, Mark Ouseley, Davee Palmantier, Alexandre Paris, Etienne Patenaude, Michele Perret, Derek Peters, JP Pinard, Kris Pope, Nani Pradeepan, Monica Reed, Sara Rowe, Jimmy Royer, Stephanie Rozak, Gerry Skinner, Cara Sanders, Kristen Schell, Ian Scholten, Louise Schumann, Heather Senyk, Shahed Shafazand, Minoo Shariat-zadeh, Jeremy Shute, Peter Sigurdson, Kyle Sims, Wayne Skinner, James Smith, Tally Sodhi, Garry Spence, Jim Stauffer, Tami Sugarman, Carol Suhan, Maurine Tahar, Cherry Tam, Yuya Taniura, Peter Theodore, Michael Tilson, Linda Todd, Jillian Treadwell, Geoffrey Trofimuk, Xavier Trégan, Tim Tutcho, Mohit Tyagi, Consuelo Van , Beek, Jocelyn Verreault, Chad Walker, Dylan Whiteduck, Roy Whiten, Simon Willans, Robert Willes, Bill Williams, David Willis, Matthew Wright, Ferris Zahlan, Jimmy Arqviq, Larissa Clarke, Jean Schiettekatte, Glen Schrader, Maureen Scott, Kori Stene

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