In January, MiningWatch had the privilege of visiting with inspirational people from three mining communities across Canada. Mel Quevillon, Canadian Program Coordinator, visited Labrador West (Labrador City and Wabush) in Labrador and Thompson and Flin Flon in Manitoba to meet with community members and scope out the interest in applying to be a pilot community for a project on women's health called "Overburdened: Understanding the Impacts of Mineral Extraction on Women's Health in Mining Communities".
In each city, Mel met with Union locals and spoke with the Brothers and Sisters who work for the respective companies. She also met with women's groups, health care professionals, and Friendship Centres. She held focus groups to see if women felt that this project could be useful in their cities.
These visits were an opportunity for women to begin sharing their thoughts about their health and the health of their loved ones. The "Overburdened" project needs a pilot community interested in carrying out a participatory research project. This would involve gathering information on any studies that have been done on the community, conducting interviews with women in the community, having groups of women do water and soil sampling in areas of concern in their community, and writing a report on the findings and a community workshop to explore next steps.
MiningWatch solicited proposals from non-profit organizations in each of the three communities and the successful candidate will be announced later this month. The "Overburdened" project is funded with the generosity of a private foundation and the United Steelworkers of America Humanity Fund.