People sit in a room and look towards a screen as a several other people sit beside the screen.

Humber College is a leader when it comes to international development and the important work it’s doing in the sector was celebrated and recognized during International Development Week (IDW).

IDW, which was held February 4 to February 10, highlights Canadians’ contributions to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.

Nalini Andrade, director of the International Development Institute (IDI), says Humber is a leader in the international development sector and that IDW is an opportunity to highlight to the Humber community the tremendous work that’s being done and the impact it’s having on the world.

Humber is ensuring youth have increased access to education and employment opportunities with several projects, including Bhutan Education and Skills Training. It’s helping provide thousands of Bhutanese youth with equitable access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) while providing learners with industry-relevant skills and support to enter the labour market.

The goal is to increase enrolment of both men and women in TVET programs and strengthen the skills of work-ready trainees graduating from TVET institutions which will lead to increased economic opportunities for graduates.

Humber is also helping girls from marginalized communities in Kenya and Ethiopia pursue education and employment in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sectors through the STEM Education for Empowerment Project. The project’s aim is to impact nearly 35,000 girls aged 14 to 18 from low-income and vulnerable communities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Kisumu, Kenya.

The project takes a multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach to addressing barriers to STEM education and employment faced by adolescent girls in those communities. It offers training, both in-person and digitally, that includes STEM technical skills, life skills, entrepreneurship skills, and work readiness skills.

Andrade said, this year during IDW, they highlighted Humber’s approach to international development and how many factors play a role in access to post-secondary education. The importance of health and well-being, food security and other areas often play a major role in an individuals’ educational journey.

“Both these projects take an end-to-end systemic approach to access and completion of post-secondary education,” said Andrade. “We call it the ACT model – access, completion and transition to employment.”

As part of IDW, Humber hosted the World Café: Exploring Intersections Between Higher Education and the SDGs event. The IDI organized the café to engage in discussions on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how common themes intersect and influence post-secondary education.

Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, met with students and professionals at Humber as part of IDW and heard directly from students about their aspirations and experiences regarding their careers and the SDGs.

Humber’s Longo Faculty of Business, through its International development graduate certificate program, also hosted a panel discussion of localization and partnerships in international development featuring industry and alumni speakers. The panel discussed different models of how their agencies use partnerships and other modalities to increasingly localize their program delivery and management.  

Andrade said panelists spoke about the need to give more ownership to local communities and partners on these projects as they have lived experience and understanding of the issues and what needs to be done. Andrade said Humber’s projects follow a participation-based approach and are about two-way knowledge-sharing, capacity building and empowerment.  

IDW also continued with a career panel that featured Humber alumni and industry experts sharing their experience working in international development and social impact sectors. It included representatives from Right to Play, Grand Challenges and the Red Cross, among others.

There was also a career fair where international development agencies from the GTA shared with students how their respective organizations work and internship and fellowship opportunities.