Awards Laureates 2012

Over 57 youth leaders from 19 countries around the world were nominated for these awards. We are truly inspired and honoured to have received their applications and applaud the incredible work they are doing to better their communities.

Many events took place across the country as part of the Public Engagement Leadership Awards Tour 2012. The award ceremony was held on October 10, 2012 at City Hall in Montreal. It was followed by presentations given by the Laureates at the University of Ottawa, at the offices of Ghost River Rediscovery, an organization which offers educational programs to Aboriginal youth in the Calgary area, at the University of Calgary, at a special Canada World Youth event held in Ottawa, and finally at the reception of the annual International Volunteer Cooperation Organizations conference in Ottawa.


Outstanding Canadian CWY Alumni Award

Tim Murphy & Noémie Desbiens-Riendeau

Co-organizers, Project “Entre grange et gratte-ciel: Urban-rural farm exchange”, Santropol Roulant, Canada

Tim Murphy & Noémie Desbiens-Riendeau are employees of Santropol Roulant, an award-winning community organization founded and run by young people in Montreal that brings people together across generations and cultures through an innovative approach to meals-on-wheels.

Tim has worked with Santropol Roulant since 2006 and is currently serving as its Director of Sustainability, where he is tasked with overseeing the development of the Urban Agriculture Program. Tim graduated from McGill University’s School of Environment and was a participant on Canada World Youth’s Quebec-Benin exchange in 1998-99, through which he discovered a passion for travel and community organizing.

Noémie has worked with Santropol Roulant since February 2011 and is currently serving as its Community Life Coordinator – Urban Agriculture Program. She completed a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science at McGill University. She then went on to gain a diversity of work experiences on organic market farms allowing her to obtain an in-depth understanding of the farming situation in Quebec.

The Urban-Rural Farm Exchange is an innovative project created by Tim and Noémie to address a need for more local, sustainable food sources for urban populations, particularly in communities considered “food deserts” due to a lack of access to nutritious affordable food. In addition to a strong public education stream, particularly for youth, this project will also provide food directly to 30-40 families and 10-15 autonomy-reduced individuals by supplying fresh vegetables to Santropol Roulant’s weekly Fresh Basket program. The project will also provide food to an additional 150-200 people by supplying Santropol Roulant’s meals-on-wheels kitchen and weekly market stand.


Outstanding Overseas CWY Alumni Award

Alain Tossounon

Founder, Co-Founder, “Réseau des journalistes du Bénin pour l’eau et l’assainissement”, Benin

With two master’s degrees, one in communication and journalism and another in science of language communication, Alain Tossounon worked as a reporter for the “Le Municipal“ newspaper in Cotonou, Benin for several years and has been the managing editor since 2006.

After completing a program in Journalism for Human Rights, Alain promised himself he would create a network of journalists addressing human rights issues in his own country and beyond. One of the issues that is close to his heart is access to water. At the time, more than half the population of Benin did not have access to potable water.

To tackle this issue, Alain helped create the ‘’Réseau des journalistes du Bénin pour l’eau et l’assainissement (RJBEA)’’, which was official launched in 2007, and currently sits as the assistant coordinator for the organization. This network brings together 70 men and women from print media, radio and television, uniting activists and journalists who are dedicated to the issue of sustainable access to drinking water and adequate sanitation systems for Benin’s people. This network has a double mission of ensuring the diffusion of journalistic articles on issues concerning access to water and sanitation, while working to lobby the central authorities for the adoption of political strategies to support better access to water in Benin.

It is in September 2010 that Alain became part of the Canada World Youth community through his role as project supervisor for the Youth Leaders in Action program serving as an excellent example of community leadership for our youth volunteers.


Youth Innovation Award

Subhash Ghimire

Founder, “The Sarswati Peace School”, Nepal

Subhash is from Arupokhari VDC, Gorkha, Nepal. He was nine years old when he first saw life beyond his small village in western Nepal. He was selected to study under a full scholarship at Budhanikantha School, a prestigious school in Kathmandu. He completed his studies in Kathmandu, and went on to receive a full-scholarship for studies in political science at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA.

Subhash’s home town was affected by the ten-year war which took place between 1996 and 2006. He was deeply concerned with the blatant violations of the rights of war victims which motivated him to work in peace-building efforts. In 2008, after his time in the USA, he decided to return home and build the Sarswati Peace School.

The Sarswati Peace School hosts 250 students, all direct victims of Nepal’s civil war. The school also directly benefits more than 2,000 people who also have access to the school library, Internet services and other additional resources. Subhash Ghimire is the founder of the Sarswati Peace School, the first peace school to address the need for accessible education and educational resources in the aftermath of Nepal’s civil war.

This project has brought together people from different backgrounds and ethnic groups to forge alliance in helping the school. The former rebels, government parties and local leaders sat together and agreed on the school concept. It is a very relevant project working to directly address the lives of youth affected by the war and provide them with the tools and training needed to create a more just and peaceful future for their communities.