The University of Winnipeg



MDP student wins Global Development Challenge

Manna Sainju

Manna Sainju

UWinnipeg congratulates Manna Sainju, for earning the inaugural Global Development Challenge: Ideas that Change the World award. Sainju is a second year Masters in Development Practice (MDP) student at UWinnipeg. This award is hosted by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) through the UNITERRA* program.

“Manna is an outstanding student, who exemplifies  the commitment, creativity, humility and hard work that is required to do development differently,” expressed Claire Reid, UWinnipeg Director, MDP.  “Her project, based on the Tharu’s right to self-determined development, is exactly the kind of development that MDP promotes.  I am thrilled that WUSC/ CECI recognizes Manna’s strength and is helping her to realize the potential of her project.”

Through a competitive process, Sainju was chosen from among 24 applicants to present her project, together with 3 other finalists, at the 2015 International Forum in Montreal last month. Her project, “Enhancing Economic Security of Tharus in Nepal,” was selected as the winner, awarding Sainju the opportunity to access funding and resources to turn her project idea into a reality.

Building on her earlier work in Nepal and her studies in the MDP, in particular the course Managing for Environmental Sustainability, Sainju’s project proposes the idea of facilitating pathways to self-determination for marginalized Tharu communities in Nepal, in particular through the promotion of economic independence, and the preservation and celebration of Tharu culture. The Tharu are an Indigenous people who live along the Southern border of Nepal.

Sainju proposes to initiate community-led bio-briquette and handicraft making enterprises with the aim of doubling household income. The primary participants in the project will be Tharu women and youth.  In collaboration with UNITERRA, Sainju will plan for the project to begin in winter of 2016.

The Master’s in Development Practice program (MDP) is an innovative professional degree offered by a network of over twenty-five leading universities on six continents. At the University of Winnipeg, the MDP uniquely focuses on Indigenous development – the only program in the world to focus on how Indigenous knowledge and experience can help shape a sustainable path for development, rooted in culture and identity.

*Uniterra is a major Canadian voluntary cooperation and international development program jointly operated by WUSC and CECI


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