November 5, 2013

Socially-engaged Young Leaders Receive Top Honours at Canada World Youth’s 2013 Leadership Awards

Montreal, November 5, 2013 – Canada World Youth celebrates the achievements of youth with the unveiling of the 2013 CWY Leadership Awards recipients. Kenyan Samuel Wakangu (Outstanding Overseas CWY Alumni Award), Jennifer Martin (Outstanding Canadian CWY Alumni Award) and Kahlil Baker (Youth Innovation Award), received their award from the hands of CWY Chair, Colin Robertson, and CWY President and CEO, Rita S. Karakas, during a ceremony held today in Ottawa.

The CWY Leadership Awards recognize the achievements of young people from Canada and around the world who are engaged in innovative initiatives that promote peace, intercultural understanding, and community and international development. More than 30 outstanding young leaders were nominated this year. Winners are each awarded $3,000 towards the advancement of their projects.

The laureates and their projects

  • Samuel Wakangu – winner of the Outstanding Overseas CWY Alumni Award – started Community Volunteers Service Kenya (CVSK) in 2010. CVSK is a youth development initiative that is a non-political and non-racial not-for-profit Community Based Organization (CBO) registered with Kenyan Government. Community Volunteers Service Kenya (CVSK) programs address many issues, all of which promote interventions that empower youth to be proactive and play an active role in community development and environmental sustainability.

My interest is to see that the biodiversity is conserved and linked to the livelihoods of the community thus ensuring sustainable development. Further, I aspire to see that the youth and the community at large are well empowered and their talents are well utilized for their own benefit, that of the community and the nation at large. –Samuel Wakangu

  •  When Jennifer Martin winner of the Outstanding Canadian CWY Alumni Award founded Thrive in 2009, she wanted to enable orphaned and vulnerable children in Kalungu, Uganda, to live and thrive at home, in the care of their families and community. Through various programs such as:  Women’s loans and savings groups; health and nutrition related income generating projects; family and social recreation projects, Thrive helps build the capacity of families and communities to raise their own children.

In 2009 I took a break from work and travelled to Uganda where I volunteered at an orphanage. It was there that I began to connect the dots. I learned that few children in these orphanages are “orphans” and that most are abandoned out of poverty. By strengthening families and engaging communities, Thrive is working to prevent child abandonment, to reunite institutionalized children with their families and to ensure that all children have the opportunity to live and thrive at home.  – Jennifer Martin

  • This year’s winner of the Youth Innovation Award, Kahlil Baker, co-founded Taking Root, a non-profit organization founded in 2007 that has worked with 240 subsistence farming families to plant 926,000 trees on hundreds of hectares of underutilized land. The Limay Community Carbon Project, developed by Taking Root in San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua, uses reforestation to restore ecosystems, improve livelihoods, and tackle climate change. Participating farmers receive payments for ecosystem services upon meeting predetermined tree growth and survival targets.  Over half a million dollars in direct payments to the community have been invested through the project to date.

By making reforestation an economically viable land-use option that fits within a holistic farm management plan, the project helps increase forest cover, restore the nearby watershed and improves the quality of life of Limay residents. –Kahlil Baker

Youth Leaders in Action Program

The CWY Youth Leaders in Action program encourages youth volunteers to develop leadership, communication and other life skills through volunteer work with community-driven projects that have a sustainable impact on our partner communities, while contributing to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. During the intensive six-month program, a group of nine young people from Canada – between the ages of 17 and 29 – team up with nine youth from one of our international partner countries to  live and do volunteer work together. The youth spend three months in a Canadian community and three months in a community in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Youth Leaders in Action is the only Canadian exchange program of its kind.

About CWY

Canada World Youth is dedicated to enriching the lives of people aged 15-35 who want to become informed and active global citizens. CWY offers international educational programs focussed on building knowledge, leadership and other life skills through participation in sustainable community-driven projects, many in developing countries. Over the past 40 years, 35,000 young people and 11,000 host families have participated in CWY programs, in Canada and abroad. CWY is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization (#118973999RR0001).



Source : Julie Brouard, Director, Communication and Public Engagement, Canada World Youth,


Interviews and information (photos available)


Cet article est également disponible en FR.

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About Canada World Youth

Canada World Youth is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth aged up to 35 who want to become informed and active global citizens. CWY offers international transformative learning experiences focused on building knowledge, leadership and skills through participation in sustainable community-driven projects. For more than 40 years, 38,000 youth and 12,000 host families have participated in CWY programs, in Canada and abroad.

CWY is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization (#118973999RR0001).

Source : Mary McGee, Communications Officer, Canada World Youth, 514 931-3526 # 336,

Interviews and information (photos available):

Mary McGee
1 800 605-3526 #336
514 931-3526 # 336