Our Impact

We're celebrating 20 years of changemakers and 20 years of impact of the Western Heads East initiative! From interns to community partnerships, from research outputs to transformational learning experiences, Western Heads East continues to make a difference through research, teaching and service in the lives of our partners, students and community members both in Canada and abroad. Learn how we got started. 

Western Heads East and the Sustainable Development Goals

How does Western Heads East contribute to solutions for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? Believe it or not, our work impacts all 17 goals. Explore the information below to learn more.

1. No Poverty. Six people, adults and children, holding hands side by side.

No Poverty

  • • 450+ Women own and operate probiotic food social enterprises
  • • Increased access to higher education for children
  • • Increased land ownership for women
  • • Increased income and economic opportunities
  • • Address poverty in rural communities
2. Zero Hunger. A bowl with heat rising from it.

Zero Hunger

  • • Affordable probiotic & fermented foods in East Africa
  • • Increased shelf life and variety of foods
  • • 280,000+ consumers
  • • Increased research on fermented foods
3. Good Health and Well-Being. A heartbeat pattern with a heart at the end.

Good Health and Well-Being

  • • Prevent and treat infections
  • • Nutrition and reproductive health education
  • • Increased birth weight in babies' and mothers' health
4. Quality Education. An open book with a pencil sitting to its right.

Quality Education

  • • Public education on important social issues
  • • Onboarding and education materials for social enterprise
  • • Experiential learning and leadership experiences for 100+ students
5. Gender Equality. The symbols for male and female combined with an equal sign in the middle.

Gender Equality

  • • Women's participation and leadership in dairy industry
  • • 95% of social enterprises owned and operated by women
  • • Empower voices of young women in East Africa on global platforms
  • • Create entrepreneurship opportunities for women
6. Clean Water and Sanitation. A glass of water with a water drop symbol in the center, an arrow pointing down out of the bottom of the glass.

Clean Water and Sanitation

  • • Safe conservative use of ground water vs Lake Victoria
  • • Research septic system health and probiotic measurement
  • • Research into ground water use and water capture and recycling
7. Affordable and Clean Energy. The sun with a power symbol in the center.

Affordable and Clean Energy

  • • Cutting edge solar energy and research
  • • Contribute energy to local power grid
  • • Research into innovative solar energy equipment and efficiencies
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. A bar graph with three bars increasing.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

  • • Expand job opportunities into rural areas
  • • Improved dairy participation in dairy industry
  • • Employment standards addressing gender and human rights
  • • Increased market for dairy farmers
  • • Increased family incomes
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Three cubes stacked in a pyramid.

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

  • • Increased research and development of local products
  • • Strengthening dairy value chain and GDP
  • • Innovative probiotic foods for humans and animals
  • • Research into local fermented foods
  • • Improved dairy value chain
  • • Increased participation of women in fermented foods value chain
10. Reduced Inequalities. An equal sign in the middle of four arrows pointing out to the left, right, up and down.

Reduced Inequalities

  • • Gender employment targets
  • • Community engaged projects meeting community needs
  • • Ethical global engagement practices & partnerships
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities. Four buildings beside each other, a house and three apartment buildings.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

  • • Support grassroots program for women to lead women's apprenticeships
  • • Improved hubs for public health education
  • • Prosperous & informed communities
  • • Grassroots program for women to bring health to communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production. An infinity symbol made of a long arrow.

Responsible Consumption and Production

  • • Diverse products incorporating local foods
  • • Environmentally conscious facilities and production
  • • Onboarding and education for all employees & community
  • • Implement training on company responsibilities 
  • • Fermentation extends shelf life of foods
  • • Economically self-sustaining operations
13. Climate Action. An eye with the globe for the iris.

Climate Action

  • • Support communities and encourage environmentally conscious practices
  • • Research on solar and biogas energy
  • • Reduce methane gas through animal feed
  • • Development of environmentally friendly products
  • • Facilitate environmentally conscious practices
  • • Develop solar energy to contribute to local grid
  • • Water capture and recycling to reduce burden on local bodies of water
14. Life Below Water. A fish below the water.

Life Below Water

  • • Probiotics for fish and improved water health
  • • Environmentally friendly packaging
  • • Research on probiotics improving fish health and surrounding water
  • • Conservation of water and water recycling
15. Life on Land. A tree resting on the ground with birds flying to the right.

Life on Land

  • • Reduce impact of mercury and aflatoxins
  • • Improved farming practices
  • • Reduce impact of mercury consumption
  • • Reduce food waste
  • • Introduce diverse plant-based probiotic foods
  • • Application of probiotics to animal health
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. A dove holding a fig branch in it's beak and a gavel in its claws.

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

  • • Amplify voices of community members on current issues
  • • Impact policy on human rights and gender equity
  • • Community education on nutrition, reproductive health and gender-based violence
  • • Build research capacity at partner universities
  • • Engage government agencies in changes to policy and practice
17. Partnerships for the Goals. 5 overlapping circles to form a flower shape.

Partnerships for the Goals

  • • Promote the self-sustainability of all partners
  • • Establish and support training network for social enterprise
  • • Apply ethical global partnership principles
  • • Engage national strategies and local traditions
  • • Engage Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Industry/Trades
  • • Support social enterprises in East Africa
  • • 33 institutional partners and 29 NGOs