Western Heads East gets boost from CIDA

Western Heads East is one of 37 Canadian university projects to receive seed funding for a new Students for Development program funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) will administer the CIDA-funded international development projects.

Thirty-seven Canadian university projects have been selected for the new SFD program. These projects will see 660 Canadian university students spending at least three months during the next four years working with 100 partner organizations abroad – including universities, non-government organizations and government agencies. The program also includes 100 international students spending an academic term in Canada.

The partner organizations are in 22 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, with 64 per cent of the projects with partners in Africa.

Western’s “From poverty to resilience: Models of women-led community-based microenterprise” project will receive funding.

This project involves 20 Canadian and 4 African students from multiple disciplines (including business, women studies, policy, global health, nursing, nutrition and geography) in scaling up a women-led community based microenterprise intervention in rural communities across three East African eligible countries.

Western students will work with universities and a non-government organization in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Western Heads East (WHE), an organization engaging women and youth at risk for HIV/AIDS in a self-sustaining business with direct health and nutrition benefits for themselves, their family, and the local community.

The 3-year intervention will prototype, troubleshoot and diffuse resilient women-run grassroots venture that improve health, nutrition and alleviate suffering from malnutrition in vulnerable social groups in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to many other rural communities.

“Canada’s universities are keen to provide their students with the kind of international experiences that will prepare them for leadership positions in our changing world,” says Paul Davidson, AUCC president. “At the same time, all Canadian university students will benefit from bringing students from developing and emerging nations to our campuses. This is an important step forward in the internationalization of Canada’s universities and their work in international development.”

This new SFD funding will also allow students at 22 Canadian universities connect with students at overseas institutions through the use of new technologies.

Since its launch in 2005, nearly 1000 Canadian students from over three-quarters of Canada’s universities have participated in internships in developing and emerging countries through AUCC’s Students for Development (SFD) program.