The Spur Change program was officially launched during its first national conference taking place from November 20-22 in Edmonton, AB. The 2-day event allowed 130+ participants from coast-to-coast-to-coast of the country to connect, and share experiences and resources with other SMOs and educators, identify partnership opportunities and learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to integrate them into school communities. The theme of this first conference was “Inclusive Governance: Meaningful Participation towards Gender Equality” and sustainable development practices were discussed through priority areas such as the integration of community-led monitoring and evaluation into programming, integrating gender equality, inclusive governance and the SDGs in teaching about global issues and tools & resources for prevention from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA). As this year’s theme was tied to the 5th area of the Canadian Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) “Inclusive Governance”, compelling exchanges occurred around the importance of “bringing all voices to the table” to ensure gender equality, Indigenous and youth participation, while avoiding tokenism.
The conference took place after a national initial needs assessment was conducted through roundtables and online survey from September to October 2019, and the combined feedback gathered allowed to inform capacity-building priorities to develop Spur Change programming.