Water First Education & Training Inc. was founded in 2009 and began its work in Uganda, bringing drinking water resources to rural schools. We provided training on the operations and maintenance of the water and sanitation systems we installed.

Young Indigenous student using a microscopeWe began working with First Nations in Canada in 2012, after being challenged and inspired by community members on numerous occasions about why we weren’t working with Indigenous communities here in Canada experiencing water challenges.

Our projects with First Nations communities were initially small but grew quickly. Within a few years, our collaborations with Indigenous communities accounted for nearly 90% of program resources. Water First dedicated itself exclusively to working with First Nations communities in 2016. We focus on both drinking water and environmental water concerns, as well as water science education for youth.

To date, we have collaborated with over 35 First Nations communities to address water challenges through education and training.

Our Approach

It is our approach that sets us apart. This approach has lead to successful partnerships and strong community up-take of our programs.

 

1

Meaningful collaborations & respectful relationships

Our work with Indigenous advisory council members, industry specialists and First Nations communities ensures that we establish trust and learn from each other — delivering sustainable water programs that meet local priorities.

2

We hire and train locally.

We hire locally and train primarily young Indigenous adults to ensure communities retain the skills and knowledge gained where they can have a long-term impact.

3

Blending of western science and traditional knowledge.

With our partners, we weave First Nations’ knowledge, values, and customs with western water science education, and interns and youth involved in our programs get out on the land and in the water.

Our Mission

To be Canada’s leading charitable organization working with First Nations communities to resolve local water challenges through education, training and meaningful collaboration.

Our Values

At Water First, we uphold the following values:

  1. Everyone has a right to safe, clean water.
  2. The water crisis in First Nations communities in Canada is unacceptable.
  3. Skills training is critical to building sustainable solutions to water challenges in First Nations communities.
  4. Collaborative programs with First Nations communities should integrate Indigenous values, knowledge, customs and traditions at every opportunity.

The Communities

Click on an icon to learn a bit about our work in that community

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