Skills for Social Change

This program is not being offered in 2016.

What you can expect

We find ourselves at a time when communities are collaborating in creative ways to build the change they want to see. Young people are at the centre of this change and have a unique opportunity to collectively shape the communities that they are a part of – be they local or global. However, faced with the complexities of shrinking global boundaries and the diversity of communities it can become increasingly hard to engage in communities as social activists.

This certificate provides a space for collective exploration of our role as advocates of social, cultural, environmental and economic justice. Whether it is to examine the roots of inequity and efforts to address it, the power and risks of social media in promoting change, or the challenges of grassroots organizing, participants will be empowered by the possibilities that exist for community transformation.


Personal benefits

The curriculum will lead participants from an analysis of self – who we are, what drives and motivates us, where our skills, talents and passions lie – towards how we interact with the world around us and our roles in changing and producing the world we wish to see. Participants will learn from and share with local and international activists, development practitioners and volunteers, as well as Coady’s experienced facilitation team.

Who is best suited for the program?

This program is best suited for young people (preference given to 19-35 year olds) in North America who are passionate about and committed to community-driven social change.

It is helpful, though not necessary, for applicants to have some prior experience in social justice, grassroots activism, or community organizing.


Program costs are quoted in Canadian dollars and are subject to revision.


and Meals

(If required)

(Incl. room & board)







Generous full and partial scholarships are available to Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or refugees who are accepted to the program. Additional full or partial scholarships may be available for eligible people of Aboriginal descent from Canada.

While we are unable to guarantee scholarship support, in previous years as many as 95% of participants in this program were provided with significant financial assistance. This support is the result of generous funding from a number of individual and institutional donors.

Coady Institute is not able to support the cost of travel.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.


“From this course I have learned that reflection is invaluable and necessary in transforming passion into activism. I have also learned that I must be self-critical and challenge myself every day to embody a holistic and organic worldview to in turn positively create change in my community.”
    - 2014 Participant

“This course is unique in so many ways, and fills a really important gap between academic, structured, formal learning about development and social change and hands on informal workshops. Skills for Social Change bridges the two in the most perfect way, offering theory and strategy for practicing activism, and offering new perspective while also engaging with the present community in Antigonish practicing what we are learning, and helping facilitate and support our own action in our home communities.”
    - 2014 Participant

“This course was by far the most incredible thing I have ever done, and I am so grateful for everything that has taken place. I now feel more confident in myself and my abilities as a person and leader.”
    - 2014 Participant

“Studying at the Coady Institute has been unlike any other learning experience in my life. The open and safe environment allows participants to contribute fully and not fear making mistakes.  I love the idea of facilitators rather than teachers who were actually learning themselves along the way … each [facilitator] brought a different energy and perspective to contribute to the learning … I feel, as a result of these learnings, I will be able to focus my energy more so on solidarity and the [asset-based] philosophy of the Coady Institute.”
     - Kirsten Desjardins-Lorimer, 2013

“Education is a beautiful thing. Inclusive Education is a step better. S4SC was an amazing learning environment for me. I was encouraged to be creative and patient with my journey. Our facilitators where very knowledge and had a lot of humility. On top of it all, it was a lot of fun! I wish i had the chance to do it again.”
  - 2012 Participant

“My experience with Skills for Social Change has fuelled [my] passion for social change, and it has also given me a valuable set of skills that was helpful in supporting my grad school application and is invaluable in my studies themselves.”
  - 2012 Participant


“This experience was absolutely transformative and necessary to my development as an emerging and driven social change activist.” 
      - 2014 participant