waniska Centre RFP

Deadline for Submissions: Open until filled.

Introduction

The waniska Centre is a team led by dedicated Indigenous researchers and Knowledge holders, launched in 2021 to specifically address the inequities of HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBI) in Indigenous communities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It aims to develop innovative methods via an Indigenous Two-eyed Seeing approach grounded in Indigenous philosophies and methodologies to achieve its goals. Because place, history and social contexts matter for Indigenous peoples, the waniska Centre will build innovative land- and culture-based research; innovate programs and research projects; grow and sustain infrastructure to support Indigenous communities and academics; train and mentor the next generation of Indigenous scholars, practitioners and community members in HIV/HCV/STBBI research, scholarship and knowledge mobilization; and interlink critical partnerships to address HIV/HCV/STBBI inequities in these communities.

Background

Canada’s colonial history and the continued health and social inequities experienced by Indigenous peoples contribute to their susceptibility to and overrepresentation in the burden of HIV/HCV/STBBI. Despite being only 4.9% of the population, Indigenous peoples represent 24.3% of all HIV cases. The HIV diagnosis rate per 100,000 population of Saskatchewan is 15.5, towering over the national average of 5.5. The rate in Manitoba is 6.7. Although there is a paucity of robust population-based data on HCV infection in Indigenous populations, modeled estimates of its prevalence in Canada have shown about a three-fold higher prevalence among Indigenous people than non-Indigenous Canadians. 

From a gender standpoint, Indigenous women, gender-diverse and -fluid people, including those who identify as Two-Spirit, remain at an increased risk of substance use and HIV/HCV/STBBI due to the imbalance of gender created through the disruption of traditional norms. Females self-identifying as Indigenous comprised 92% of all female HIV cases reported in Saskatchewan in 2017, with 84% of them in the childbearing age range. Inequitable access to screening, diagnosis, treatment, care and social supports for Indigenous people, particularly women involved in power-imbalanced relationships, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+, are some of the reasons identified for the imbalance.

These factors highlight the importance of research, policies, programs and tailored services to address HIV/HCV/STBBI among Indigenous peoples, developed by and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. These collaborations will be grounded in mutual respect and rooted in an understanding and recognition of the ongoing impacts of colonization, health and social consequences of residential schools, structural inequities and systemic racism.

Goals of the Project

To address the HIV/HCV/STBBI burden in Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the goals of the waniska Centre are to:

  • build innovative land- and culture-based research (unpublished work and programs – community organizations) 
  • develop and innovate implementation/program research projects 
  • grow and sustain infrastructure to support Indigenous communities and academics 
  • train and mentor the next generation of Indigenous scholars, practitioners and community members in HIV/HCV/STBBI research, scholarship and knowledge mobilization, and 
  • interlink critical partnerships to address HIV/HCV/STBBI inequities

The waniska Centre’s goals are premised on its Call-to-Action cores, which define its critical objectives. The Call-to-Action cores include:

Research Enrichment Core: This core covers Indigenous research across biomedical, behavioural and social-related causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of HIV/HCV/STBBI. The purpose of this core is to foster game-changing, interdisciplinary research on HIV/HCV/STBBI among Indigenous communities, particularly research that advances the culturally appropriate understanding, prevention and treatment of HIV-associated morbidity. The research core will coordinate research activities, foster scientific innovation in land-based service and healing approaches, encourage interdisciplinary and community-engaged research, and disseminate to the Indigenous communities and other health agencies, scientists, practitioners and policymakers. 

Mentoring/Training Core: This core seeks to create a supportive environment to train others in Indigenous health, the notions of rebalancing genders and roles. This environment is critical for trainees and creates an environment in which all are open to learning from each other. 

Curricular Innovation Core: This core will develop Indigenous curricular activities and content to prioritize Indigenous research methods for the Academy for Indigenous Health and keep with Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan. 

Community Engagement/Partnership Core: This core links to the community and builds partnerships via the Indigenous frameworks and methodologies described above. 

Each core will include sub-teams in each region comprised of principal applicants, co-applicants, partners and collaborators. 

Theoretical Frameworks and Methodologies

A foundational tenet employed by the waniska Centre is Indigenous-derived theoretical frameworks and Indigenous methodologies to accomplish these goals and objectives. These frameworks will draw upon the Indigenous Wholistic Theory and Etuaptmumk, or Two-eyed Seeing. Two-eyed Seeing is a philosophical, theoretical and methodological approach that recognizes the need for both Western and Indigenous paradigms and methods in research, knowledge translation and program planning, development and implementation. It draws on the strengths of both theoretical constructs to build and establish meaningful relationships with all people that promote a sense of belonging to achieve results beneficial to all. 

The waniska Centre will also mobilize Indigenous research methodologies through a Culturally Responsive Framework (CRF)[1] and restore Indigenous Ways of Knowing. Indigenous research methodologies map seamlessly onto the three strategic objectives of CRF, which are restoring First Nations community-based health and wellness systems; creating an ethical space for engagement between mainstream and First Nations systems and worldviews; and transforming mainstream health service delivery to be culturally responsive and are critical to addressing the HIV/HCV/STBBI burden. Utilizing these frameworks and methodologies, the waniska Centre researchers will prioritize Indigenous methods for implementation and program science, which has emerged via global efforts in HIV/HCV/STBBI to promote systematic contextualization and adaptation of research to a complex and changing environment.

Key to all the waniska Centre activities will be gender re-awakening and land-based healing. To this end, the waniskaCentre proposes to support HIV/HCV/STBBI research that rebalances gender within an intersectional, destigmatization framework while incorporating culture- and land-based healing within HIV/HCV/STBBI prevention and treatment.

Evaluation Approach

The waniska Centre will adopt a developmental evaluation approach grounded in Indigenous principles. The waniska Centre is committed to understanding and self-measuring the impact of its activities and projects on achieving its overall goals. Evaluation will be a core activity of the waniska Centre and is in keeping with implementation/programmatic research, which is required to examine if activities and projects are achieving desired goals and meeting the needs of the communities and the funders/sponsors. The waniska Centre will also use a Two-eyed Seeing concept to evaluation, which spans Indigenous values and Western requirements. Ultimately, our goal is to define and measure the impact of the innovative projects and approaches pioneered through the waniska Centre. 

Scope

This Request For Proposals (RFP) is an open call for evaluators to provide a comprehensive proposal on creating a developmental evaluation framework for the waniska Centre. As earlier mentioned, the waniska Centre will be executing multiple projects as outlined in its Call-to-Action core, with all projects founded on the same underlying principles of Two-eyed Seeing, community-driven, wise practices and a Culturally Responsive Framework. The framework to be developed should identify these commonalities in these projects and incorporate them into the evaluation plan. Successful evaluators will also be expected to conduct capacity-building sessions with the waniska team on carrying out developmental evaluation on its projects. 

Potential candidates should have extensive experience in evaluating research or intervention programs utilizing Indigenous paradigms, especially while assessing the impacts of colonization, systemic racism, structural inequities and gender imbalance. In addition, Indigenous lived experience will be considered an asset.

The proposal must include the following elements: 

  • Context
  • Objectives and goals
  • Proposed evaluation framework
  • Proposed tools 
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Plan of action, agenda and schedule for the training sessions (to be adjusted as appropriate)
  • Cost breakdown and specific budget lines for activities
  • Other elements considered necessary 

Specifications

  • Design a developmental evaluation framework with a Two-eyed Seeing approach and wise practices which aligns with the goals and Call-to-Action cores of the waniska Centre
  • Conduct training sessions for researchers on the adaptation and implementation of the framework
  • Plan and facilitate strategic planning sessions to align the framework of the developmental evaluation with the waniska Centre’s projects and initiatives 
  • Organize capacity-building sessions on the concepts of developmental evaluation and its implementation in the waniska context
  • Engage in and provide professional input during data gathering and analysis
  • Review and assess in real-time the outcomes of selected projects and initiatives of the waniska Centre

In addition, the successful applicant will be required to: 

  • Participate in the project meetings and teleconferences as appropriate 
  • Provide regular progress updates, analytics, evaluations and lessons learned as needed and on an ongoing basis
  • Submit all final project documents upon completion of the contract 

The proposals shall be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Cost breakdown
  • Relevance to the team’s goals and objectives   
  • Incorporation of Indigenous paradigms in the framework
  • Experience in Indigenous health research and intervention programs
  • Schedule
  • Originality
  • Feasibility

Waniska Centre’s Roles and Responsibilities

The primary contact at the waniska Centre for this project is Rebecca Zagozewski, the research manager (r.zagozewski@usask.ca). The waniska Centre commits to providing the information and materials necessary and facilitating meetings and training sessions both physically and virtually with principal investigators, advisory board, researchers, Knowledge holders, Elders and community members.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright

The successful applicant shall not disclose to any party any confidential information gained or resulting from activities undertaken under this project, nor shall the applicant disclose any information concerning the waniska Centre or their affairs where such information is obtained through this project.

The waniska Centre and the successful applicant will agree to publicly and mutually acknowledge and accord appropriate credit for each other’s contribution in this project, including any products, developed and disseminated as a result. Both parties will agree on how credit is attributed, depending on the nature and degree of each organization’s contribution. 

It is understood that the waniska Centre retains ownership of all materials and intellectual property created, designed or produced as a result of activities undertaken by the successful applicant when awarded this project. 

Proposal Instructions

  • Applicants must submit their company name and confirm their incorporation, references and portfolio
  • Submit by email to r.zagozewski@usask.ca;
  • Word format or PDF
  • Estimates/budgets must remain firm until proposal is reviewed and accepted
  • No payment will be made for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal in response to this RFP
  • No costs incurred before receipt of a signed contract can be charged to the proposed contract 
  • Travel that may be required will be separate from this scope of work budget 
  • The waniska Centre reserves the right not to award a contract as a result of this RFP

Budget

The proposal must:

  • Include a detailed and specific budget that demonstrates that the objectives and deliverables for the project can be met
  • Indicate the billing rate and specific budget lines
  • List any other expenses that might be applicable
  • Total bid MUST include appropriate taxes

Rights of the Organization

The Waniska Centre reserves the right to: 

  • Enter into negotiations with one or more bidders on any or all aspects of this proposal. 
  • Accept any proposal in whole or in part. 
  • Cancel or re-issue this requirement at any time 
  • Award one or more contracts 
  • Verify any or all information provided by the bidder concerning this RFP 

Contact Information

Please direct the application to:

Rebecca Zagozewski

Research Manager

The waniska Centre

104 Clinic Place

Saskatoon SK S7N 2Z4

M: 306-220-3834 

E: r.zagozewski@usask.ca

W: waniskacentre.ca


[1] Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). (2013). Cultural Responsiveness Framework. Retrieved from http://allnationshope.ca/userdata/files/187/CRF%20-%20Final%20Copy.pdf.