Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation receives $500,000 grant to develop an innovative, Indigenous-led social finance model to reduce diabetes
February 16, 2021 (Vancouver, B.C.): The Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation (RIIF) announced its plan to create a Diabetes Reduction Bond – an innovative model for designing and financing diabetes interventions in Canada and around the world. Diabetes and its complications are a serious burden for Indigenous communities in Canada.
“We have to rethink how we address social problems in order to make lasting change in our communities,” said Jeff Cyr, CEO of RIIF. “Indigenous communities and knowledge have to be at the centre of the approach. This solution really is a trifecta that will drive transformation in the health care system: 1. The investment of private capital allows 2. Indigenous community-led intervention to improve health outcomes, 3. resulting in massive systemic savings for government.”
These solutions will work overtime and be scalable to many communities across Canada, creating lasting positive outcomes. These include direct investment into communities, improved economic wellbeing for Indigenous families, increased Indigenous leadership in social enterprises, and significant long-term cost-savings for the health care system.
RIIF will use a $506,000 (USD) grant from the World Diabetes Foundation to build on the groundwork established by its Indigenous Solutions Lab on Diabetes Reduction, a project to co-create diabetes reduction interventions for Indigenous communities in Canada. Lab participants included 6 First Nations communities, the RIIF, the Lawson Foundation, the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (FNIHB), as well as regional health authorities, medical professionals, Novo Nordisk, and several foundations.
The grant will fund the development and launch of a pilot Diabetes Reduction Bond/Community-Driven Outcomes Contract (CDOC) to finance the diabetes prevention interventions created by the Lab. The CDOC will cover a 5-year intervention period, bringing in private capital through the Bond and placing government in a position to pay for successful outcomes. The initial CDOC will focus on reducing or preventing type 2 diabetes in 6 Indigenous communities (the Island Lake Nations in Manitoba and Mi’kmaq Nations of PEI). All interventions will be community-driven, co-created, and aligned with community priorities and cultures.
This is the first Canadian project supported by WDF, which normally funds projects in low- and middle-income countries. “WDF’s support is based on the CDOC’s strong poverty focus and potential to develop a new funding model that can be applied worldwide,” says Leif Fenger Jensen, WDF’s Managing Director. “We are pleased to support this innovative project, which will benefit some of the most marginalized populations in Canada even as it creates a promising explorative pilot that could potentially be scaled up or reproduced in similar contexts at a later stage.”
“The support also offers WDF an opportunity to ‘give back’ to Canada, the home of the researchers who discovered insulin, on the centennial celebration of this discovery,” Mr. Jensen adds.
Indigenous Peoples in Canada are experiencing above-average prevalence rates of diabetes and its risk factors. A study done in 2016 showed that the lifetime risk of developing diabetes for non-Indigenous youth was a startling 5 in 10, but was even higher (8 in 10) for First Nations youth. While the non-Indigenous prevalence of diabetes was 5.0% in 2011, it was double that (10.3%) among First Nations off-reserve and more than triple that (17.2%) among First Nations on-reserve.
The Indigenous Solutions Lab on Diabetes Reduction was a lab piloted in response to the epidemic of diabetes in First Nations communities. The lab created a community-driven social finance opportunity for 6 First Nations. The Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation, the Lawson Foundation, and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of the Department of Indigenous Services Canada (FNIHB) implemented these labs, in partnership with the target communities, different levels of government authorities, the private sector, and philanthropies.
The Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation (RIIF) works in partnership with Indigenous social enterprises, social purpose organizations, and communities to build long-term solutions that will enable and accelerate an Indigenous economy by providing education and innovative capacity-building within an Indigenous cultural framework. As part of the Raven Group, RIIF’s ultimate goal is to achieve a positive and lasting impact on the Indigenous and Canadian economies.
The World Diabetes Foundation is a leading global funder of diabetes prevention and care projects in the developing world. Our vision is to alleviate human suffering related to diabetes among those in greatest need. We pursue sustainable, scalable approaches, helping countries meet global goals for improved care of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. For more information, visit worlddiabetesfoundation.org.
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