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Fostering health through healing: engaging the community to create a poverty reduction strategy in Nunavut

As a part of our Public Health leadership initiative, the NCCDH produced a series of case studies profiling instances of leadership to advance health equity in Canada. These documents are learning tools; they are designed to help Public Health staff reflect on the qualities of effective leadership in advancing health equity, as well as on the strategies and conditions that develop and support these qualities in Public Health leaders at all levels.

Income is a widely recognized social determinant of health. To the Inuit of Nunavut (Nunavummiut), physical and mental health cannot be separated, and the relationship between poverty and physical and mental illness is circular, with each one building on the others. 

This case study looks at Nunavut’s shared leadership approach to developing a poverty reduction strategy.  It discusses why healing from the wounds inflicted by colonialism is an integral part of The Makimaniq Plan: A Shared Approach to Poverty Reduction.  In Inuktitut, Makimaniq means “empowerment” or “standing up for yourself.”  The strategy grew out of intense collaboration between government and Inuit organizations, and public and non-governmental organizations, and resulted in the Collaboration for Poverty Reduction Act, in 2013.

The case gives historical background, discusses what poverty means in Nunavut, and describes the four stages of the public engagement process:

  • community dialogues on poverty reduction (winter 2011)
  • regional roundtables for poverty reduction (May to June 2011)
  • poverty summit (November 2011)
  • program delivery (ongoing)

The case study concludes with how the community worked with challenges, and the successes and strengths of their approach.

Use this resource to

  • learn about the Nunavummiut concept of health
  • consider indicators that best reveal the issues related to poverty
  • build a collaborative approach to poverty reduction
  • reflect on how cultural beliefs affect poverty reduction and health equity work

Related Resources:

* Alberta Health Services: Establishing a province-wide social determinants of health and health equity approach
* Working intersectorally and engaging the community in Western Health - coming soon. 
* Our 2012 case studies  profiling health units and provincial departments that have taken action on the social determinants of health

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2014). Fostering health through healing: Engaging the community to create a poverty reduction strategy in Nunavut. Antigonish, NS: National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Aboriginal health , Community engagement, Intersectoral action, Leadership & capacity building, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, Document

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