Piper Scott-Fiddler and Samantha Martin-Ferris holding their World's Challenge Challenge certificates. Photo courtesy of the University of Western Ontario

Two graduate students at the University of British Columbia have developed a tool to help improve access for Indigenous women to sexual health care.

Piper Scott-Fiddler and Samantha Sage Martin-Ferris, both of Indigenous heritage, are master’s students in the faculty of medicine’s women and children’s health sciences program. 

They developed the Lifegiver Box, which recently won first place and $30,000 at the World’s Challenge Challenge. The goal of the Lifegiver Box is to reduce harm against Indigenous people and to empower them to have autonomy over their health care. The Lifegiver Box is a collaborative service that encourages Indigenous communities to take control of decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

“The box is unique to needs of each community, and includes basic sexual health products that do not require a doctor’s prescription such as condoms, Levonorgestrel (Plan B), menstruation products, pregnancy tests, and educational pamphlets,” said Martin-Ferris. “We also included Indigenous traditional medicines, teas and herbs in consultation with Elders.”

“We had consultations with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Indigenous groups to determine what would be included in each box,” said Scott-Fiddler. “Through these discussions, we realized that each Indigenous community has distinct health care challenges and that it’s important for the communities to choose products that would best address their needs.”

The two women said their aspiration for the Lifegiver Box was to support Indigenous communities in determining their own sexual health priorities.


“Colonization and the systemic mistreatment of Indigenous people often results in them facing stigma when accessing health care, making them hesitant to use these services,” said Scott-Fiddler.

Martin-Ferris and Scott-Fiddler are currently working on a project which seeks to capture Indigenous people’s experiences when accessing health care in Canada. Martin-Ferris said they’ve noticed “that there is a huge gap in the number of health care services available to Indigenous communities, especially in sexual and reproductive care, and we wanted to change that.”

Having won the first-place prize money in the World’s Challenge Challenge, they said they hope to establish their own pilot program to involve more Indigenous communities. They also plan to apply for federal funds so more communities can access the Lifegiver Box.

Plans are to establish 26 more facilities at different locations in British Columbia, they said.