Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Guiding Framework for Needs Assessment Evaluations to Embed Digital Tools with Indigenous Communities

Version 1 : Received: 21 December 2021 / Approved: 22 December 2021 / Online: 22 December 2021 (16:25:57 CET)

How to cite: Bhawra, J.; Buchan, M.C.; Skinner, K.; Favel, D.; Katapally, T.R. A Guiding Framework for Needs Assessment Evaluations to Embed Digital Tools with Indigenous Communities. Preprints 2021, 2021120375 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202112.0375.v1). Bhawra, J.; Buchan, M.C.; Skinner, K.; Favel, D.; Katapally, T.R. A Guiding Framework for Needs Assessment Evaluations to Embed Digital Tools with Indigenous Communities. Preprints 2021, 2021120375 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202112.0375.v1).

Abstract

In community-based participatory projects, needs assessments are one of the first steps to identify priority areas. Access-related issues often pose significant barriers to participation for rural and remote communities, particularly Indigenous communities which have a complicated relationship with academia due to a history of exploitation and trauma. In order to bridge this gap, work with Indigenous communities requires consistent and meaningful engagement. The prominence of digital devices (i.e., smartphones) offers an unparalleled opportunity to ethically and equitably engage citizens across jurisdictions, particularly in remote communities. We propose a framework to guide needs assessments which embed digital tools in partnership with Indigenous communities. Guided by this framework, a needs assessment was conducted with a subarctic Métis community in Saskatchewan, Canada. This project is governed by a Citizen Scientist Advisory Council which includes Traditional Knowledge Keepers, Elders, and youth. An environmental scan of relevant programs, key informant interviews, and focus groups were conducted to systematically identify community priority areas. Given the timing of the needs assessment, the community identified the Coronavirus pandemic as a key priority area requiring digital initiatives. Recommendations for community-based needs assessments to conceptualize and implement digital infrastructure are put forward, with an emphasis on self-governance and data sovereignty.

Keywords

Community Engagement; Needs Assessment; Digital Tools; Indigenous Health; Data Sovereignty; Evaluation Framework.

Subject

SOCIAL SCIENCES, Other

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