Humber College has a well-known secret tucked away in the International Centre on the second floor of the Learning Resource Commons building. The International Development Institute spans the globe, developing specialized education programs.
The institute hosted an International Development Week earlier in February to highlighting the work it did overseas over the past few years at both North and Lakeshore Campuses.
The International Development Institute started in 2003 as part of the Faculty of Business, with projects relating to the IDI dating to 1999. But it is now its part of the college’s International Centre.
Alex Husband, grant writer and strategic communications manager at the Institute, said International Development is about finding global solutions for global challenges.
“It differs from humanitarian work, which is when there’s an intervention after a crisis,” she said. “Development work is meant to be long term solutions.”
Humber gets involved by working with different international partners and having different funders, like Global Affairs Canada.
The IDI’s website states the institute uses the college’s pedagogical expertise to build and support international engagement to transform postsecondary education through global, polytechnic leadership.
“We’ll spot a need and then Humber will connect its staff for technical expertise to work with an NGO or another educational institution in another country,” Husband said,
“So for example, we currently have several projects, three of them in Kenya right now, working at the educational level and skills training level, sport, youth employment and gender equality,” she said.
The institute currently has seven projects ongoing in countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania, which focus on empowerment through skills training for young women.
Tiffany Duong, content and communications lead at the IDI, said the project is intended to give women and adolescent girls the opportunity to enhance their skills and learn from STEM fields.
“With this project, we’re giving them the opportunity to join and fully participate in STEM fields, and really focusing on building a curriculum that is gender responsive, and that will give them equal access,” Duong said.
Numerous students, faculty and staff at Humber have either participated or are currently involved in the projects led by the IDI.
If students want to get involved it is important to note that the programs do not mean they will get a chance to go abroad, although it’s a possibility.
“It’s kind of depending on the project,” Husband said.
Usually, the Institute offers volunteering and internship opportunities for students to get involved with different projects.
One notable project gave students the opportunity to go to Kenya in 2019. Film and Media students went to the African nation to film and produce a documentary for the Kenyan Education and Employment Project.
Currently the IDI is not offering any overseas opportunities for students but is always looking for ways in which students can get involved.
“This is why this year, we’ve been really pushing for people to follow us on social media, because that’s where we post a lot of our upcoming opportunities, and you can even fill out a forum to join our IDI roster,” Duong said.
“Because students outside of International Development, they can always use their skills for some position on the team,” she said.