About SOVI

The South Vancouver Island Chapter of the BC Council for International Cooperation (SOVI) is a network of individuals and organizations focused on global social justice and connections to the local community.  Through SOVI, people come together to learn, create relationships, and share their knowledge on global social issues and the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Focus

At SOVI, we are dedicated to connecting the global to the local. Our objectives aim to upload those values.

  • To create networking opportunities, develop strategic alliances and build a community of practice by connecting practitioners and aspiring practitioners.
  •  To provide education and training opportunities that build capacity of practitioners, aspiring practitioners, and within local organizations committed to international development and the SDGs.
  • To create and/or increase community awareness of BCCIC, the SDGs and local organizations doing work in SDG-related areas.
  •  To facilitate youth engagement around international development work and the SDGs and ensure they have a voice in all Chapter activities and events.

Our team is made up of our co-chairs, our communications coordinator, as well as our amazing short-term contractors. We are also lucky to have the expertise and guidance of several Community Advisors!

Who We Are

Chelsea Bean (she/her), Co-chair:

Chelsea is a white settler raised on the unceded territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice from the University of British Columbia, and was heavily involved in the school community as President of the undergraduate association for two terms.  Her academic and activist interests are in environmental politics, specifically the meaningful integration of Indigenous knowledge and decolonial frameworks within climate change agreements. 

Joanna Li (she/her), Co-chair:

Joanna is a second-generation Canadian settler, born to immigrant settlers of Hakka Chinese backgrounds. She grew up on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology and Diploma in Special Education from the University of British Columbia. She currently works in primary care with Island Health and is hoping to pursue further graduate studies within healthcare. She is interested in understanding the complex intersection between mental health, exercise, gender, and Persons of Color. In her personal time, Joanna is an avid baker, swimmer, and botany enthusiast. She is frequently exploring new trails with her Bugg MukMuk. 

Grace Ribeiro (they/she), Co-chair

Grace, our 2021 Summer Programmer, is a white settler who was raised on the unceded traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples (“Victoria”, BC). Currently working towards their undergraduate degree in Sociology and Applied Ethics from University of Victoria, Grace is a student with a strong drive to acquire and facilitate knowledge whenever possible, creating meaningful connections along the way. It is Grace’s goal to act as compassionate and open resource for their peers and community in order to facilitate education and conversation on the issues and topics they feel passionately about, such as social justice, LGBTGIA2S+ advocacy, community outreach, equity, and systemic oppression. In their spare time, you can often find Grace walking throughout thrift shops in search of treasure, sitting beside (or in) any large body of water, or pondering existential tangents.

Julie Tierney (she/her), Communications Coordinator:

Julie is a white settler raised on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people in Epekwitk, colonially known as Prince Edward Island. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Carleton University. At SOVI, her focus is on social media, newsletter production and all things communications. Her personal interests include media ethics, art and culture, and cooking. 

Rachel Levee (she/her), Community Advisor:  

Of mixed white European and Ashkenazi Jewish settler heritage, Rachel was born on Tiohtià:ke (colonial name Montréal), under the custodianship of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, and now lives as an uninvited guest on the stolen lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations of the Lək̓ʷəŋən People (colonial name Victoria). Rachel currently acts as a co-chair for the South Vancouver Island (SOVI) chapter of BCCIC, and works with non-profit organizations towards good practice in governance and operations. A long-time career generalist, she has a Master’s in African History from the University of Toronto, taught ESL, worked in documentary film and television, and has coordinated and managed community based projects from Vancouver to Addis Ababa, with a focus on media, documentation, and public engagement. Most days now, though, Rachel can be found trying her hand at growing food, seeking missing LEGOs, or singing silly songs with her young child

Ruth Nakalyowa (she/her), Community Advisor:

Ruth is from Uganda and moved to Canada to pursue a Master’s degree in Intercultural and International Communication. She has a passion for building inclusive communities and advocating for anti-racist policies in post-secondary institutions, schools, workplaces, and in the field of mental health. She currently organizes alongside racialized students for more equitable post-secondary institutions. Ruth also works with youth workers and teachers to create inclusive spaces for youth identifying as Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Colour. In her role as anti-racist and cultural inclusion community advisor, Ruth assists the SOVI team as we work towards fostering a more inclusive, diverse, and safe workplace.

Patrick Makokoro (he/him), Community Advisor:

Patrick Makokoro practices as a development consultant with research interests in community development, social justice and early childhood education.   He works at the intersection of trust based philanthropy models and asset based community development. The work he has carried out ranges from early learning advocacy network establishment in Detroit, USA, facilitating strength based strategies for non-profit organizations, schools and businesses in British Columbia, Canada and providing support to international non-profits working in Africa and other world regions.

Craig Eby (he/him), Grant Writer and Accessibility Lead

Craig is a white settler from the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples (colonially known as Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario). Craig has lived on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations for the past two years and currently works at the University of Victoria as part of the BC Initiative for Inclusive Post Secondary Education as an Inclusion Facilitator. Craig has a Master’s in Development Practice and a Bachelors in Environmental studies. He is very passionate about sustainable community development, social justice, and helping to build partnerships to further work towards decolonizing our community and creating more equitable opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized people. Craig is acting as SOVI’s Community Grant Writer and Accessibility Lead.


Keen to explore ways of working in justice in equity in the CRD and South Island? So are we! We are actively seeking experienced community advisors to help support ongoing and future projects, and provide sector-specific insight. For more information, please contact the co-chairs at sovi@bccic.ca.

We welcome those interested in learning more about leadership and governance opportunities to connect with the chairs.