Two young women from Sipekne’katik First Nation, Hants County, are part of Canada’s delegation to the United Nations 61st Congress on the Status of Women in New York. Shurenda Michael and Michaela Julian will present a workshop, Wednesday, March 15, on indigenous girls’ leadership. It will feature the story of Nova Scotia’s Peaked Cap Project which is a Mi’kmaq approach to the United Nations Girls’ Roundtable model. “It’s a great opportunity to bring back to young women in my community, to show them there are possibilities for us, and there is a world out there that we are part of,” said Ms. Michael. The presenters will be joined by Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act, and their mentors from Leave Out Violence Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association. “The Peaked Cap Project was a great opportunity for the girls to find their voices and to share their ideas,” said Ms. Bernard. “Through the Project we heard about stereotypes, how people define who they are, and how this needs to change. We also heard about possibilities, potential and future paths for themselves and their people. The girls developed tools to define what their future is going to be. “It has been a tremendous experience for them. I’m proud that they’ll be sharing their success at the United Nations Congress on the Status of Women and exchanging ideas about indigenous women’s empowerment on an international stage.” The Peaked Cap Project offered a leadership and discussion opportunity for Mi’kmaq girls based in their community. It involved coming together to discuss and share their unique perspectives, challenges and gifts with one another, and to embrace Mi’kmaq culture. “The Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association has been working tirelessly with giving voice to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls,” said Cheryl Maloney, association president. “We have shared the pain and tragedy of this legacy with our communities, allies and governments. This is our tragic past that we as Canadians are working to overcome, and this has impacted our girls tremendously. “The Peaked Cap Project and support of Nova Scotia and our community partners has allowed us to give voice and foster leadership and agency within our young women, who are the future of this country.” The girls involved with the Peaked Cap Project from Sipekne’katik First Nation created a video that can be viewed at youtu.be/OcQziFQK7wA.
At the meeting of its executive board last week, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved US$8.3 million in grants to support farmers, farmers’ organizations, agricultural research and training programmes, along with $102 million in loans for rural development programmes.The loan of $29.2 million to China, for example, assists farmers living in remote areas of South Gansu province, where natural resources have deteriorated and there is only poor access to water for irrigation and drinking. The programme which will receive the funds will support irrigation, terracing, tree-planting and training toward improved farming methods.Another loan, of $19 million, aims to improve the lives of small farmers, traders and processors in Ghana who depend on roots and tubers for their livelihood. With women making up at least one-half of the beneficiaries, the programme will focus on both better production and marketing methods.The $8.1 million in grants are targeted to a wide range of programmes, including those supporting assistance to rural organizations in the countries of the Southern Cone Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR), improved management of indigenous trees and shrubs in the countries of the Sahel, and agricultural research and training in Eastern and Central Africa.