EWB’s Junior Fellows work at the intersection of poverty, systemic change, innovation, and education - gaining unique experience and valuable insight on development and systemic change.
The Junior Fellowship Program is designed to go beyond a traditional internship or leadership program. The Fellowship begins in Canada with six months of preparation in an advanced and immersive learning environment, followed by four months of individually leading change with one of EWB’s Ventures in Canada or in Africa, or with one of EWB’s Incubator teams. Upon completing their work placements, Fellows continue their engagement with eight months of leadership in their communities across Canada, bringing their experiences and learning back home, and tapping into EWB’s national network of young innovators.
Junior Fellows are chosen based on a proven track record of excellence, and their commitment to building a more equal and sustainable world through the duration of their time in the program and beyond. They are humble and mature problem-solvers, excited to promote learning about systemic change, and have an existing understanding of complexity, social justice and development.
The 18-month Program is the opportunity for these change agents to gain the knowledge, perspective, and understanding they need to better define their worlds, and how they want to change them.
Young leaders have proven time and again to be invaluable contributors to EWB’s work across Canada and Africa. Junior Fellowship placements introduce young people with great potential to Ventures with long-term, systemic change strategies. Learning happens across campuses, fields, villages, offices, streets, markets, and bus stations. Junior Fellows take their knowledge and skills and apply it to a defined role within their Venture. A Junior Fellow could be working with a District Water Office in Malawi to assist in implementing low-cost, high-impact water point operations and maintenance systems, or with the Pivot Fellowship in Toronto coordinating learning exchanges for social intrapreneurs across Canada.
Pairing this experience with rigorous personal and leadership development prepares Junior Fellows for a greater impact in our society, wherever their lives take them.
- Emily Nickerson, a third-year Water Resources Engineering student at the University of Guelph, worked with the Agriculture Value Chains Venture in the town of Iganga, Uganda. Working directly with a small agro-inputs business, Emily was able to develop an in-depth understanding of field level realities regarding the access and use of agro-inputs by small-scale farmers. Alongside the business owner she co-evaluated the potential of a new business model that would help the business grow its market share and bring quality certified seed closer to the farm-gate. Further as a member of the USAID LEAD project, her insights on influencing a business and creating ownership over a new business model were used to evaluate and adapt the project’s approach to creating systemic change in the maize, coffee, and inputs value chains.
- Ryan Voon, a second year Electrical Engineering student at the University of Alberta, worked with Governance and Rural Infrastructure Venture at the West Gonja District Assembly in Damongo, Ghana on revenue mobilization. Working with the District Assembly as well as Area Councils, Ryan investigated the challenges that the district faced in improving revenue; some of these challenges include the inability to accurately project revenue as well as accountability issues for revenue collectors. A Revenue Projection Database and data collection processes were created at the district to ensure that revenue projections were based on actual numbers from on the ground and contracts were updated to improve the accountability and responsibilities of revenue collectors on commission.
- Alexandra Sproule, a second year Arts & Science student at McMaster University, worked with the Business Development Services Venture on creating a service that would deliver agricultural information to farmers' mobile phones. The service, Farmerline, was in the process of being developed by two Ghanaian social entrepreneurs. Alexandra did research into the way smallholder crop farmers in Northern Ghana used extension services and their mobile phones, concluding that this would not be a good initial market for the service. She then moved to the more southern city of Kumasi where she helped develop the Farmerline service for the chosen market, fish farmers. There, she worked with Farmerline's co-founders to develop a partnership with the Fisheries Commission, hold workshops to engage clients and prepare the service for the pilot.
- Rob Ironside, a third year Environmental Engineering student at Dalhousie University, worked with the Partnerships and Communications Team at the EWB National Office in Toronto. Working with the this team, Rob worked on one of EWB’s largest annual fundraisers – the Run to End Poverty. Rob worked towards building the “R2EP” brand and donor base: designing and building a database to manage and coordinate key relationships with donors across Canada, in addition to contributing to a donor engagement strategy. This work helped drive the Partnership and Communication Team’s new vision to revise EWB's fundraising efforts to become a two-way relationship, instead of a traditional one-way financial transaction.