This article is part of our ongoing Introducing Series where we spotlight the people, projects, and organizations that are working on the forefront of social innovation in Canada. Read more articles from the series.
Imagine if everyone had the opportunity to contribute to their community, build relationships with their neighbours, and be valued for their presence. This is what the Neighbours Project aims to achieve. The project began through RECOVER, the City of Edmonton’s urban wellness initiative. Through this initiative, citizens came together to address a variety of issues in their city’s neighbourhoods, one of which was the question of how casual labour could be used a bridge between different neighbours.
To record their experience, and with the support of Social Innovation Canada, Pachy Orellana-Fitzgerald, Zeinab Elbarrad, and Dominique Beaupre put together an interactive story that tells readers about their journey in exploring how casual labour can connect neighbours from different socio-economic backgrounds to one another, particularly housed and unhoused community members. Their story also taps into the unique experience of how a group of citizens, untrained in the social innovation process, immersed themselves in the field to find answers to this question.
To learn more about this initiative and their work in Edmonton, please visit the Neighbours Project website.
In March 2020 we put out a call for case studies on behalf of the Centre for Social Innovation Institute, offering five grants of $5,000 each to help Grantees tell their story and share their learning, successes, failures, and insights in efforts to advance their work and contribute to building the field of knowledge around Social R&D. The Institute sought case studies that were from across Canada, from rural and urban contexts, and that centred equity for BIPOC and marginalized peoples. Grantees that focused on initiatives taking on new and difficult challenges, equity-seeking projects, and those identifying systems changes (new policies, resource flows, routines, belief systems) were prioritized in the selection process. Additional criteria included relevance/value of insights to the social R&D community and also the relevance of these case studies for Grantees and their communities. The Neighbours Project is part of this initiative.