Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson (photo)
Degree Title: 
BA Honours, Major in ID, Women in the Development Process area
Graduation Date: 
2002

After graduating from Guelph in 2002, I embarked on an internship program with Youth Challenge International (YCI). I spent eight months in Guyana, South America, leading a group of volunteers and carrying out needs assessments with Amerindian women in the interior of the country. This experience shaped much of my personal and professional journey over the next five years.

Upon return from my first trip to Guyana, I started an MA program in Geography at Carleton University. This involved carrying out research for four months in the interior of Guyana, in an Amerindian village called Aishara Ton. My research focused on the issues of gender, natural resource management and participatory mapping.

Following my graduation from Carleton in 2005, I worked for the North-South Institute, and returned to Aishara Ton village to help facilitate a workshop on mining and land rights issues. I then returned to Guyana a few months later to get footage for a documentary, which I co-produced and released in January 2008. The film is entitled “Undermined: Communities, Consultation and Corporate Accountability.”

While much of 2007 was spent learning how to do video editing, I also worked several short-term contracts with various NGOs. This included volunteering in Mali and Ethiopia as a gender consultant for the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE). I also worked for several months at the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) as an editor, researcher and filmmaker.

In March 2008 I started a job at Oxfam Canada as a Program Development Officer and spent my time between Ottawa, South Africa and Zimbabwe, working in partnership with local organizations to address issues of gender-based violence and women’s leadership. This was quite serendipitous, as it was my first overseas volunteer experience in Zimbabwe that prompted me to apply to the International Development program at Guelph back in 1997. By following my ethics and passions, I came around full circle.

My most recent career endeavour is with a new, innovative UK-based NGO called Well Grounded. As an Organizational Development Practitioner, I currently live in Cameroon and work throughout the Congo Basin to facilitate internal change processes for local civil society organizations that work on natural resource governance and human rights issues. This work ranges from providing project management support and supporting proposal development, to training and facilitation on communications strategies and participatory techniques, including participatory video. My work with Well Grounded is giving me the opportunity to hone my French language skills, and to continue to build on my experiences as a development activist.