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Meet the Winners of the 2023 Desjardins Bursary in Social Innovation


OTTAWA, Wednesday, January 10, 2024 – The Desjardins Ontario Credit Union, Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop and Saint Paul University are proud to celebrate Anitha Niyuhire and Victoria Gachuche, the winners of the 2023 Desjardins Bursary in Social Innovation.

Niyuhire, a student in the B.A. in Social Innovation program, and Gachuche, who is pursuing a Master’s in Social Innovation, were each awarded a bursary of $10,000 to launch social innovation projects.

From left to right: Lynda Sehi, Regional Manager, Partnerships and Community Engagement at Desjardin Ontario Credit Union; Victoria Gachuche, Master’s student in Social Innovation; Anitha Niyuhire, student in the B.A. in Social Innovation, and Chantal Beauvais, Rector of Saint Paul University.

Naomi lève-toi

Anitha Niyuhire’ project – titled Naomi lève-toi – aims to empower single mothers who are living outside of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.

“This project seeks to create a cooperative that will support and promote the empowerment of single mothers,” explains Niyuhire. “We aim to do this by strengthening women’s emotional, intellectual and financial capacities through.”

The Naomi lève-toi project will provide women with training opportunities related to budgeting, income-generating activities, personal development, personal health and leadership.

“This scholarship has also given me hope that I can go further,” shared Niyuhire. “My hope is that the mothers we work with will go on to raise awareness and support other women so that women throughout Burundi can leave poverty behind.”

SICamp 254

“I am very grateful to receive this bursary. It is very meaningful to me as it validates the idea of the social innovation lab having the potential to be transformative for youth entrepreneurs in Kenya,” said Victoria Gachuche “This $10,000 will have a direct and long-term impact on youth in Kenya.”

Gachuche’s project, SICamp 254 – so named for Kenya’s country code, 254 – is a social innovation lab held in Nairobi. The lab will provide local youth with the opportunity to partner with institutional stakeholders, to learn design principles and to build their problem-solving skills.

“Youth entrepreneurs in Kenya are facing challenges such as access to capital, knowledge of legal and intellectual property frameworks and lack of supportive mentorship ecosystems,” explains Gachuche. “Through the SICamp 254 lab, I hope to create an ecosystem of support to further enable youth entrepreneurs to succeed.”

About the Desjardins Bursary in Social Innovation

For the past five years, the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop, Desjardins Ontario Credit Union and Saint Paul University have partnered to award two grants of $10,000 to support social innovation projects led by students in the Élisabeth Bruyère School of Social Innovation.

The Desjardins Bursaries are awarded to students’ based on the criteria that they present well-developed strategies to make a positive impact in addressing an important social issue.

For more information, please contact:
Julie Bourassa
Communications Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310

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