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One of the most fundamental challenges in Canada today is the lack of sustainable access to safe, clean water for Indigenous Peoples.

Every community’s experience and relationship with water is unique. Due to the complexity of the water challenges faced by Indigenous communities, an integrated approach involving multiple solutions is critical for long-term sustainability. Nobody understands this more than the people who live there.

Infrastructure and technology alone cannot solve the water crisis; having enough skilled people to operate and maintain the systems is also critical. 

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Safe water needs skilled people. 

Though existing staff are doing an amazing job with available resources, many Indigenous communities in Canada have identified the need for more young, qualified and local personnel to support solving water issues – independently and for the long term. However, there is a lack of locally available opportunities for young adults to gain the required relevant skills and experiences. 

Water First works with communities to provide locally-based education and training opportunities for young Indigenous adults to gain the technical skills required to monitor and provide safe clean water to their communities. 

Interns currently training with Water First shared their thoughts on what this means to them and their communities:

"I’m doing this for me to have more meaningful, stable employment opportunities. I’m doing this for my family and community, who rely on water operators on reserve to provide safe, clean drinking water."
Water First Intern: Laura Mallinson
Laura Mallinson, North Bay
Water First Intern
"I am doing this for our people. Water is life, and I consider this to be an honour to keep it protected for now and the future."
Water First Intern: Nathan Pamajewon
Nathan Pamajewon, Shawanaga First Nation
Water First Intern
Hunter Edison from Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation in Northwestern Ontario, and a recent graduate of the Drinking Water Internship Program, shares the genuine impact that his skills training has had on being able to support his community.
"At first, I was just doing this for myself, but then realized that providing clean water to the community is one of the most important things someone could do for the community."
Water First Intern: Dyami Tuskin
Dyami Tuskin, Shawanaga First Nation
Water First Intern