2019 Ian Martin Meaningful Volunteer Program Highlights

Last May, we announced the two winners of Ian Martin’s annual Meaningful Work Volunteer Program, Jessica Meaney and Chris Kennett. Both Jessica and Chris are back from their trips and have some exciting highlights to share!

Ian Martin’s Meaningful Work Volunteer Program offers up to $10,000 for Ian Martin contractors to take an international volunteer trip of their choice to make the world a better place. In 2019 we awarded two contractor volunteer trips, both of which took place this past October. Jessica Meaney headed to Cambodia to participate in a Habitat for Humanity Global Village project, and Chris Kennett headed to Peru with Calgary-based Light Up The World to provide solar photovoltaic systems in rural communities without access to electricity.

Here’s a closer look at these life-changing projects.

Jessica Meaney – Habitat For Humanity – Cambodia

Jessica was in Cambodia for one week supporting the Global Village project, which helps urban populations in Cambodia construct disaster resilient and appropriate housing and sanitation solutions.

Jessica worked on a team of 13 Canadian nationals alongside local Cambodian masons. Their efforts helped build two homes for two families; these homes are specifically built to sustain environmental challenges affecting these communities, such as frequent flooding.

Meaningful work means working for something beyond yourself and providing benefit for others. By helping to build this home, we were literally building the foundation for these families to experience meaningful work themselves – they are now able to have a safe home, enabling them to have better opportunities to help their families and their communities.

– Jessica Meaney

For Jessica, the trip enforced her desire to have a positive impact in her local community. Working on a team as part of a large project, she learned that each individual task has incredible importance and impact on helping people and their families thrive.

Chris Kennett – Light Up The World – Peru

In Latin America, 30 million people are without access to electricity. Chris travelled to the Peruvian Andes to install a solarphotaic power system at a rural school that was nearly an hour’s drive away from any power grids.

Light Up The World does a lot of due diligence making sure the systems are set up properly and are sustainable for the communities to run long-term. This allows these communities to transition away from using fuel-based lighting and spending a significant amount of their income on batteries.

The most meaningful part for me was the fit for purpose of the installation. The solarphotaic system is designed to last 15 years or more. When we were done and you see that every room had lighting and the school was able to bring in laptops and projectors for education, it was really a fit for their needs. I’m happy that the children will get so many years of benefit from our work.

– Chris Kennett

For Chris, the trip reinforced just how much people can thrive when their basic needs are met. Thanks to his efforts, the children at the school he was working at will have access to better education, and will go on to help their families and communities in the years to come.


We’re so proud of both Jessica and Chris for using their talents towards these life-changing projects and for joining us in our mission to connect more people in meaningful work. To read more about our Meaningful Work Volunteer program (and, if you are a current Ian Martin contractor, to apply), click here. To see our past winner Sam Cheng’s story, click here.