Global Health student gains global experience while working with Canada’s largest food rescue organization
Tackling today’s critical global health challenges requires prepared global citizens who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make positive change happen. With this in mind, the MSc in Global Health program prioritizes global engagement while recognizing the importance of local action.
Putting into practice skills gained throughout the Global Health program, graduate student Jessica Ubando, is completing a work-integrated learning practicum with Second Harvest – Canada’s largest food rescue organization.
Responsible for leading Second Harvest’s “Feeding Our Future” program, Jessica is gaining cross-cutting career skills while contributing to the program’s success. Feeding our Future is an 8-week program that provides food and resource kits to agencies across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who serve at-risk children and youth. It is the organizations largest child and youth focused program, and tackles summer hunger that is experienced during the summer months as a result of school nutrition programs closing.
Involved in the planning, organizing, and correspondence with participating agencies to determine the number of kits that Second Harvest has the capacity to produce, Jessica has been instrumental in the the launch of the program.
Gaining global health experience while working in a local based organization, Jessica reflects on the importance of Second Harvest being a global thought leader on food recovery:
“My time at Second Harvest has challenged the prevailing idea of global health as solely “Global North to Global South” work and has demonstrated that this is simply not the case. I think it’s important to recognize this because some may think that global health work requires you going overseas or working with an overseas organization, which may act as a barrier to pursuing this field. When in reality, it is possible to do the work locally and still make as meaningful an impact as those who work overseas.”
As an example of this, she reports that, “the Feeding Our Future program is distributing 16,000 kits to approximately 5,000 children, youth, and their families in the GTA!!”.
Jessica is inspired by the impact that the program will have this year, which contributes to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – specifically SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), and Second Harvest’s vision of “No Waste, No Hunger”.
One of Jessica’s primary learning objectives was to gain project management experience in a non-profit organization. Working alongside program assistants, Rebecca Tepper and Alexa Thompson, she is currently focusing on monitoring and evaluation of the program – an important aspect of project management objectives and deliverables.
With the opportunity to engage in meaningful work, Jessica is gaining self-management skills and an entrepreneurial mindset to prepare her for a career in a globalized world.
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