by Athena McKenzie
The Inclusion Project (TIP) came about because of Ruth Mojeed’s lived experiences as a newcomer to Victoria and Canada. Originally from Nigeria, Mojeed completed her MA in Intercultural and International Communication at Royal Roads University. While studying there, she met students from all over the world.
“They are leaders and brilliant in their own right,” she says. “But when it came to the issue of access to employment, it became relatively difficult for a lot of them to find meaningful work.”
While Mojeed secured an internship, many of her classmates were forced to return to their home countries. She wanted to understand the biases and barriers that were getting in their way, especially when so many local employers claimed to be open, inclusive and diverse. The result is TIP, a social innovation network.
“Increasingly, The Inclusion Project has become that meeting point for different stakeholder groups across public and private sectors, working together to advance equity and inclusion,” Mojeed says. “For us, it’s all about inclusive leadership, inclusive representation and, in the wake of the pandemic, it’s about inclusive recovery.”
While Mojeed says the work is still very much grassroots oriented and community based, TIP is starting to get a seat at leadership and policy-making tables, with the aim of shifting existing power dynamics to ensure that the people who have historically been marginalized are included at the decision-making tables. “They are part of the solutions that we need to design to create a more equitable society for all,” she says. “Sometimes you need to understand that the expertise for solving and owning one’s problem comes from the community itself.
They have the solutions to the issues bedeviling their communities, and you’ve got to keep going back to them. It comes down to that question of ‘Who’s holding the power?’ How is the power being distributed to the people who have, or should have, the agency to change the way things are, as it relates to them?”