Do your part and depart for Benin contest

Desjardins is proud to promote youth and offer 2 young people involved in their community the opportunity to live a truly unique experience.

As part of a job shadowing internship with Développement international Desjardins, 2 candidates will be flown to Benin. The 1st candidate was selected from the finalists of the Forces AVENIR competition. The 2nd candidate was selected from all contest participants.

The contest ended on November 29, 2019.

See the contest rules.

Our winners

Meet Charlotte Lemieux-Bourque, winner of the Forces AVENIR prize, and Léa Bissonnette-Lavoie, winner of the Do your part and depart for Benin contest. As a reward for their outstanding commitment to the community, they'll get to experience an incredible opportunity with Développement international Desjardins.

Charlotte Lemieux-Bourque, left, and Léa Bissonnette-Lavoie, right
Charlotte Lemieux-Bourque, left, and Léa Bissonnette-Lavoie, right

Charlotte Lemieux-Bourque

Charlotte was awarded her internship in Benin as the winner of the Desjardins cooperation prize at the 2019 Forces AVENIR university gala. Through its partnership with Forces AVENIR, Desjardins helps recognize and support social engagement among youth. In addition to honoring 1 exceptional candidate in the Forces AVENIR university program with a $15,000 scholarship, at the last edition Desjardins proposed recognizing another value that's near and dear to its mission: cooperation! With the Desjardins cooperation prize, we highlight 1 person's contribution to the well-being of individuals and communities.

Charlotte was selected because she is a model of outstanding community engagement and cooperation. She's in her 4th year pursuing a doctorate in medicine and a master's in clinical epidemiology at Université Laval. Her research focuses on the organization of neonatal care services. In addition to her demanding course load, she has also excelled in student government as a member of the General Council of the Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec and a representative of maternal and child health student researchers.

Her work in the community revolves around a common theme: defending the rights and interests of under-represented or vulnerable populations. Her roles have included volunteer in pediatric palliative care, coordinator of Groupe d'intérêt en pédiatrie et pédiatrie sociale (GIPPS) and co-founder and co-coordinator of BALEIN'eau - External link. This link will open in a new window. (site in French only), an organization that offers affordable swimming lessons to children with functional limitations.

Léa Bissonnette-Lavoie

Léa is the grand-prize winner of the Do your part and depart for Benin contest. She's being awarded an internship alongside Charlotte based on her application describing the nature of her community involvement, her motivation to travel to Africa with Développement international Desjardins and her views on financial education. She's a university student in international studies and modern languages and was an ambassador for an entrepreneurial group at Université Laval as well as a regional youth ambassador with the Québec Volontaire program of the Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec to promote citizen involvement. She's also involved in the Jeunes citoyennes et citoyens d'impact project with the Institut du Nouveau Monde and the YWCA Canada Young Women's National Leadership Program, in addition to being a sustainable development project lead for the Red Cross.

Léa is also a committed entrepreneur. She founded 2 thrift shops where all the profits go to the Centre d'éducation et de développement intégré – Village de l'Espoir in Haiti, which supports children and families in Limbé. She created her 1st thrift shop as a high school project, which raised awareness among her classmates of the importance of giving back. In 2016, she opened a 2nd thrift shop at Cégep de La Pocatière called Friperie Namasté - External link. This link will open in a new window. (page in French only). This initiative earned her local and regional recognition by the OSEntreprendre Challenge - External link. This link will open in a new window. (page in French only) and an entry for the Porteur d'espoir contest for Earth Day Canada. To ensure knowledge transfer and the continuity of her projects, Léa still supervises and coaches volunteers at the 2 thrift shops to this day.

What is a job shadowing internship?

A job shadowing internship is the chance to see how Desjardins contributes concretely to improving the life of communities everywhere around the world through Développement international Desjardins. The internship provides an opportunity to learn about international development issues related to inclusive finance, a sector that aims to promote access to basic financial services such as savings and credit for disadvantaged populations in developing countries. The job shadowing internship also includes activities that students discover the local and entrepreneurial culture of the country visited.

The internship will take place in the first semester of 2020.

The internship includes:

  • Job shadowing internship for 1 person for 7 days in Benin
  • Return airfare and visa
  • Vaccination costs, medical appointments and preventive prescription drugs
  • Développement international Desjardins support and supervision throughout the internship
  • Financial compensation to cover essential expenses

Note that the destination is subject to change in the event of instability in the country's physical or social environment at the time of the internship.

What is Desjardins Développement international (DID)?

DID is a non-profit organization founded by Desjardins in 1970 to share its expertise and experience with developing countries.

DID's mission: to improve access to financial services for everyone. Today, DID counts on new active partnerships to strengthen inclusive finance in 30-odd countries on 4 continents.

Learn more about DID - External link. This link will open in a new window.

Forces AVENIR and Desjardins

Forces AVENIR aims to recognize, honour and promote student engagement in projects that contribute to educating conscious, responsible, active and perseverant citizens, both rooted in their community and open to the world. Desjardins has been a proud partner for the last 16 years and is the gala presenter.

Learn more about Forces AVENIR - External link. This link will open in a new window. (site in French only)