The Driver Education and Licensing Project
The Driver Education and Licensing Project (DELP) at the Sipekne’katik First Nation (SFN) in Nova Scotia had its origins in 2010 with the Poverty Action Research Project (PARP). The latter brought together an academic team from several Canadian Universities as well as the University of Arizona, working in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations. The project was led by Dr. Fred Wien, Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University. Funding was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
The idea behind PARP was to select five First Nation communities from different parts of Canada and to work with them on developing a strategy designed to address poverty in their communities and thereby contribute to health and well-being. The project was unusual in that, not only were the strategies which emerged community-driven and therefore different one from another, but there was also a commitment to work with the communities on their implementation.
Transportation issues emerged as a barrier in several of the strategic plans. At Misipawistik Cree Nation in Manitoba, for example, the community decided to implement a project to provide driver education on the reserve, and 28 persons signed up for the program. Demand was sufficiently high that a second cohort was admitted shortly thereafter, with the Swampy Cree Tribal Council picking up the idea to benefit its member communities.
Transportation was also a key issue identified at Sipekne’katik First Nation. This article describes how the community went about addressing this important obstacle. As the project developed, a Steering Committee was established (see Appendix A for composition) and funding and other resources were obtained from several sources listed inside the front cover page.