At GEO Nova Scotia, we recognize that trust between mainstream and equity-deserving communities has been broken historically, and we commit to building relationships and trust over time. We are actively learning about Canada’s true history, and trying to understand how colonialism, racism, capitalism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, misogyny, White supremacy, and our own biases impact communities in Nova Scotia.
We ask communities what is important and what works best, and we listen with humility to their wisdom. We meet people where they’re at and we don’t discriminate, make judgements or assumptions about why they are digitally excluded. We look at Digital Inclusion through an equity lens and we are trying to learn how we can connect with people who are the most excluded. And, we centre community stories and experiences when we are thinking about building genuinely loving and respectful ways of working together to lift communities through Digital Inclusion.
GEO Nova Scotia has a diverse team with many lived experiences which helps us understand good ways of working with different communities, and we hope makes people feel safe and understood. We have a role in creating safe spaces where people feel accepted and respected, and we are continually learning how to do that well. We are learning how to work in ways that support and respect cultural practices and traditions. Our team also models people from many different backgrounds working together to make a positive difference in the world.
We recognize that our Referral Partners are critical to our work. We draw on the trust and relationships they have with the people they support and we benefit from their wisdom. We trust them and don’t ask for ‘proof’ of what they tell us. We dedicate time to learning about our Referral Partners and the communities they support. We customize our Digital Champions training modules to suit communities. We ask Referral Partners for their feedback and suggestions about how we can work better, and we take their input seriously and adapt our practices and processes when that is needed.
We are building a learning culture within GEO Nova Scotia. We dedicate time to reflection, both internally and with our partners. When things go well we celebrate, and when we make mistakes we acknowledge them and ask how we can do better going forward. We share what we are learning about digital exclusion with decision-makers; we talk about how it impacts people, and how we can work together to address it and build digital inclusion. We are grateful to be on this journey toward Digital Inclusion with all of our partners. We are in this together.