Cooperation Canada in collaboration with WUSC and the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, is pleased to launch the Innovation and Impact Awards in Honour of Lewis Perinbam. 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 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.

The organizational award recognizes an organization that has demonstrated learning and impact from an innovative practice in international development and/or humanitarian response. The award recognizes 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. 

The individual award recognizes a Canadian individual (or individual residing in Canada) that has demonstrated innovation, creativity, and impact in the field of international development. 


This year, we are seeking nominations for individuals who have exemplified leadership in challenging and changing the systems that underpin inequality and injustice by: 

  • Contributing to the organization and sustainability of movements for social change, such as those that address climate justice, racial justice, and gender justice; 
  • Contributing to the decolonization of international cooperation and the shifting and sharing of power relations toward more marginalized individuals and groups; 
  • Engaging the Canadian public to get more involved in these efforts; and/or 
  • Championing and making space for emerging leaders from underrepresented and marginalized groups.  


Nominees’ contributions may include, for example, the greater mobilization of public support through creative public engagement activities; the convening of diverse actors in conversation toward collective action; the driving of changes in harmful laws, policies, and practices; or the introduction of important innovations that have been sustained over time. 

We encourage nominations of individuals from within underrepresented and marginalized communities themselves, including youth, women, refugees, and other minority groups, as well as those who have made significant contributions through volunteer efforts. 

Honouring Lewis Perinbam

Lewis PerinbamO.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. 


Nomination Process:  

  • Nominators must complete the 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.


The call for nominations: Individual and Organizational is open until December 15, 2023.

The committee will review the submissions and we will inform the nominees of the final decision in January 2024.



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. 

2023 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipients (individual) 





2023 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (organization)




Past Recipients

2022 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (individual) 

The 2022 Individual Innovation & Impact Award was presented to Brenda Arakaza, President of Development & Peace – Caritas Canada. Under her leadership, Development & Peace examines and strives to improve the ways in which they can most effectively support community-driven development. 



2022 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipients (organization) 

This year, two Organizational Innovation & Impact Awards were distributed. The first went to Farm Radio International for using radio and community-based methodologies in their work. The second has been awarded to Justice Education Society (JES) for celebrating inclusion, local ownership and the use of technology in their initiatives empowering people to access and deliver justice in Canada and globally. 





2021 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (individual) 



Cooperation Canada, in collaboration with World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, presented the Innovation & Impact Award to Vinod Rajasekaran for developing Future of Good, a digital tool for publishing stories, news, analysis and commentary to make sense of our sector. 


2021 Innovation and Impact Awards Recipient (organization) 



Cooperation Canada, in collaboration with World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, also presented an Innovation & Impact Award to Cause for its innovation test project, “Mi Small Wef” No More: Eradicating Child Marriage in Sierra Leone by Working with Men in Sierra Leone, West Africa. 




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. 




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.