xChange 2016

Canada-Africa Innovation Fellowship

Providing systems change leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs with opportunities to innovate solutions to complex environmental challenges.

For the past 20 years, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has been at the forefront of thought leadership and utilization of cross-continental learning to advance global equality and equity. With our unique approach, EWB acts as an incubator for systemic innovation and leadership skill building. We invest time and talent in bold ideas that positively transform the way people and organizations behave, as well as in disruptive ventures that seek to address the root cause of complex global challenges. 

Launching in 2021, the Canada-Africa Innovation Fellowship program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students based in Canada and Africa to work together and develop innovative solutions to complex global challenges. 

Following a series of learning labs, Innovation Fellows are partnered across regions to learn, create and accelerate ideas as a way to build a sustainable and inclusive future.  With additional mentorship and coaching from sector experts, it is a unique chance for university students to grow their leadership, entrepreneurial and innovation capacity while engaging in cultural, academic and professional exchange.

What is a Canada-Africa Innovation Fellow?

If you’re an engineering or STEM student in a Canadian University or Technical Institute and are curious about making a difference globally, the Canada-Africa Innovation Fellowship (CAIF) is for you! This program by Engineers without Borders (EWB) Canada offers a hands-on experience where you can use your engineering skills to tackle real-life challenges.

The focus of the CAIF program is on finding solutions, especially those linked to addressing issues around climate change. Fellows will use their engineering and tech knowledge to find viable solutions to this global challenge – but it’s not just about the tech and engineering side of things! We use Human-Centered Design principles, which means we prioritize the needs and experiences of the people we’re helping. This combination of technical know-how and people-first thinking can lead to more effective solutions.

A unique part of the CAIF program is the cultural experience. You’ll get to know the technical and cultural aspects of both Canada and East Africa, as you work alongside CAIF Fellows from East Africa. This broader understanding helps ensure that the solutions are relevant to the communities they’re designed for.

The in-person portion of the CAIF program is three months long and is packed with experiential learning opportunities. You’ll work with students from different backgrounds, dive into current tech trends, and develop innovative solutions. Toward the end, you’ll partner with experts in the field to polish your projects.

Upon returning to Canada, all fellows will be expected to remain with/join their school’s EWB Chapter and, through active participation, share their fellowship experience and contribute to the growth of the Chapter. For those Fellows whose university does not have a chapter, EWB’s National Office will work with you to establish a Chapter on your university campus.

In short, the CAIF program offers a unique opportunity for students like you to apply your skills, learn from different cultures, and make a real impact. If you’re keen to broaden your horizons and put your knowledge into action, we encourage you to apply now!

Becoming a CAIF Fellow offers the following benefits:

  • Gain practical insights and hands-on experiences to become a global change maker and system change leader by addressing sustainable development challenges, offering invaluable hands-on engineering experience that’s rare to find in conventional academic settings

  • Exclusive participation in program-sponsored events including the CAIF speaker series and Fellow Retreat

  • Refine your technical skills while also enhancing engineering and project management abilities with experiential workshops, learning labs, and mentorship

  • Connect to a global network of industry experts, mentors and like-minded change makers

  • The opportunity to travel to East Africa, living in both urban and rural settings through an international exchange program

  • Contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by engaging directly with the challenges faced in regions like rural communities, contributing to meaningful and sustainable development making a difference in the world

  • Attend a post-program graduation ceremony where participants are awarded certificates and recognized as EWB Canada fellows and alumni of the Canada-Africa Innovation Fellowship Program, unlocking further networks and opportunities for your professional, leadership and entrepreneurial growth




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