SULINGITUK GOVERNMENT: The consequences of not starting with a clear vision

Sulingituk Government has started a community well-being planning process, and the citizens are saying that knowledge of traditional culture and skills is a very important part of well-being. This includes knowing how to skin and clean animals/fish/birds properly, how to navigate on the land, how to find and use traditional medicines, and how to make shelters. The community wants to document how many people have strong or fair knowledge of these activities and wishes to try to improve these skills over time. The Sulingituk leadership and executive have identified traditional knowledge and skills development as priorities for the government’s strategic plan and instructs staff to build appropriate programming into their annual work plans and budgets.

About three years ago, Sulingituk put a lot of time and resources into improving and revising how its departments collect and compile information, including data about citizens. This was a large two-year project that included developing consistent formats for documenting and storing data and purchasing a new IT system module for storing this information. However, because this work happened before the community well-being planning process, the new data collection formats and the new IT system’s fields did not provide a way to include data on knowledge of traditional culture and skills.

This means that Sulingituk will need to redo its data collection forms to include traditional culture and skills and find a different IT system module that can include this kind of data. If the community well-being planning process had been done before the work to improve data collection and storage, Sulingituk could have avoided having to redo this work. Unfortunately, this has also meant the loss of three years of collecting baseline data about their citizens’ knowledge of traditional culture and skills.

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