Cooperation Canada and WUSC, in collaboration with the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, is pleased to launch the Innovation and Impact Awards. Innovation is at the core of Cooperation Canada’s work and is captured in our strategic directions. We aim to inspire and support the growth of a more relevant, responsive and effective global development and humanitarian assistance sector that, through innovation, can create sustainable impact. As such, Cooperation Canada and the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award would like to celebrate and recognize Canadian individuals and civil society organizations (CSOs) that are doing impactful and innovative work.

Cooperation Canada defines an Innovative Practice as: a new or more impactful means of, or approach to, addressing development challenges and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable. An innovative practice can take many forms, it can be an innovation that is new to a particular context, but tried and true elsewhere.  In addition, the innovative practice could be an approach, technology, business model, policy practice, partnership and more. To achieve impact through innovation, an Innovative Practice should align with The Whistler Principles to Accelerate Innovation for Development Impact.

These Awards will be granted to an individual and an organization that have demonstrated learning and impact from an innovative practice in international development and/or humanitarian response. The Awards recognize individuals and organizations that are using innovative and impactful means to: (1) address humanitarian, development, and/or peace challenges to build a more just and inclusive world; (2) inspire Canadians to undertake volunteer action on these issues; and/or (3) offer new ways of thinking about development, humanitarian and peace-related challenges.



Honouring Lewis Perinbam


Lewis Perinbam, O.C, (1925-2007) was a pioneer in building the international development sector in Canada. He was the founding Executive Director of CUSO, the first full time Secretary General of the Canadian National Commission of UNESCO and the CEO of WUSC. He joined a fledging Canadian International Development Agency in 1969 and became the founding director general of the NGO division. He later became the Vice-President of the Canadian Partnership Program where he launched several programs that made Canada a leader in civil society-government collaboration. He led the 2000 Task Force on the Participation of Visible Minorities in the Public Service which generated deep change throughout Government. The awards recognize his outstanding contributions and provide a reminder and a call for action that ambitious system-wide innovation is always possible.


The 2020 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (individual) 

Kehkashan Basu
Founder and President of Green Hope Foundation

 Kehkashan Basu speaking at the United Nations on 2019 International Day of Peace (New York)


A youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, and champion of women and children’s rights, Kehkashan Basu is described by her peers as a trail blazer who has been challenging the status quo and breaking social strictures and taboos that impede the progress and rights of future generations.  Kehkashan is the Founder and President of global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, that works at a grassroots level in 16 countries, empowering young people, especially those from vulnerable communities – amongst them Syrian refugees, Rohingya refugees, children of prisoners in Nepal and Kenya, and Covid affected communities in Bangladesh and Liberia. 


The 2020 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (organization) 

Développement international Desjardins (DID)
For its transformative approach in increasing the economic power of farmers in Colombia.

With its initiative, Développement international Desjardins (DID) helped make Colombia’s agricultural financial sector more inclusive, efficient, and secure for farmers. 


The organization used innovative and impactful means through its design of the DECISION mobile application, which facilitates the process of analyzing credit applications on the spot and promotes the secure financial inclusion of farmers. By the end of the project, 136,000 agricultural credits had been granted to 80,000 farmers; 15,000 farmers had received financial education (57% of whom were women), and these figures continue to increase. 

Created in 1970, Développement international Desjardins (DID) is a Desjardins Group component whose goal is to strengthen the inclusive finance sector and provide populations of developing and emerging countries access to secure, diversified financial services that fit their needs. 





The winner of the individual award is given a prize of $5,000 to acknowledge their contributions. 

The organizational winner is not awarded a financial prize. Winners are announced and highlighted during International Development Week. 



The nomination period is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination.

  • Nominators must complete an online form to provide rationale for the nomination.
  • Nominators must demonstrate evidence for how the nominee has fit the criteria and has implemented an innovative practice that has resulted in greater impact and/or learning.
  • Nominations can be peer or self-nominated.


Criteria for Selection


To nominate an organization for this award, please see the criteria below.

In order to be considered for the award, the nominated organization must:

  • Be implementing or has recently implemented an innovative practice for development impact, based on the definition above and in line with the Whistler Principles to Accelerate Innovation for Development Impact;
  • Be implementing or has recently implemented an innovative practice to address the needs of the most vulnerable;
  • Have, through implementing this innovative practice, demonstrated impact, iterated to learn quickly and/or learned from failure.

To nominate an individual for this award, please see the criteria below. The award recognizes Canadian citizens and permanent residents who:

  • Improve people’s lives in the Global South;
  • Engage and inspire Canadians to undertake volunteer action in addressing our shared global challenges; and/or
  • Offer new and innovative ways of thinking about and addressing development, humanitarian and peace-related challenges (in line with the Whistler Principles to Accelerate Innovation for Development Impact).
Past Recipients
2019: Jim Cornelius (Individual Award) 

Jim Cornelius served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for more than 20 years.  In that time, he not only led the organization, but in many ways also led the broader sector and food security community. Jim was instrumental in building innovative partnerships and uniting diverse stakeholders in strengthening Canada’s food aid responses. He also played a leadership role in facilitating the international development sector’s ongoing positive collaboration with the government. Not only has Jim supported the development of an impactful and aligned community in support of international development, he has also dedicated his time to mobilize Canadians in support of global challenges. 




2019: iDE Canada (Organization Award) 

iDE Canada creates income and livelihood opportunities in developing countries around the world. iDE Canada with partners across iDE has developed an innovative model to solve the significant challenge of sanitation in rural Ghana.  Driven by local engagement and leadership, the organization established a standalone business focused on selling sanitation products and services in a challenging market.