Improving the Nutritional Health of Aboriginal Women and Children

Partners

Federal:
Status of Women Canada
Community:
Brantford Native Housing, Anglican Church of Canada, Six Nations Community Development Trust; City of Brantford Council and Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC)

Location

Brantford, ON

Duration

2008/08/11 - 2009/03/31

Focus Areas

Aboriginal and Women; Health/Well-being

Objective

The project tested whether providing cooking skills combined with life skills can increase the long-term health and housing outcomes for Aboriginal women, thereby preventing and reducing the incidence of homelessness.

Project Summary

Residents of the Ojistoh House were required to participate in a residential program which provided 10 hours a week of programming. Sixteen women each received 42 hours of food preparation training during the reporting period. Women learned to cook 19 different meals, and a cultural group provided staff with the opportunity to teach participants about the traditional aspects of food preparation. The sixteen women also participated in life skills training and each received 69 hours of training. Topics included physical activity, budgeting, diabetes awareness, cycle of violence, healthy relationships, self-care and mental health awareness. Age specific life skills training was also provided to 4 teens, each receiving 8 hours of training.

Project Results

Thirty Aboriginal women, youth and their children were provided with stable housing during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Forty percent of residents of the Ojistoh House moved into their own home, 20% moved to other locations (i.e. youth hostel, change in parental custody), 17% continued to reside at the House, 1% moved in with family, and 1% moved back with her partner. Participants reported that they enjoyed the nutritional program as it created a sense of being at home and it helped in their overall healing journey. Cooking skills training gave women an alternative to the intense work that is involved in life skills training and the healing journey. Combining cooking skills with life skills was a success in creating an improved learning environment.

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