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 locally, while working globally. Our objectives for 2020-21 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, programming coordinator and youth chair.

Who We Are

Rachel Levee, Co-chair:  

Of mixed European and 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. 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 an MA in African History from U of T, 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, though, Rachel can be found digging in the dirt, seeking missing LEGOs, or singing silly songs with her young child.

Ruth Nakalyowa, Co-chair:

Ruth was born in Uganda and now lives as an uninvited guest on the unceded territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. She has a Master’s degree in Intercultural and International Communication. Ruth currently works as the Student of Colour Collective Coordinator at the University of Victoria Students’ Society. She is the co-founder of Black Speaks Victoria and develops and facilitates workshops on how to create inclusive spaces for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

Cristina Venturin, Programming Coordinator:

Cristina is a Political Science and Applied Ethics student at the University of Victoria, who originally joined the SOVI steering committee as the Youth Chair. She has grown up on the unceded territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEĆ peoples. She is the Director of Events for the Undergraduates of Political Science at UVIC and has held a myriad of positions on the board throughout her undergrad to better engage students with the department. Her passions are humanitarian law, political activism, and international relations, as well as connecting others in interpersonal development.

Julia Nunez-Eguiguren, Community Researcher:

Julia is currently a 4th year University of Victoria student. Her family is from Ecuador and she grew up on the on the unceded territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEĆ people. She is interested in research and technology and is enjoying learning more about SOVI’s work and contributing to an anti-racism and anti-oppression community and database.

Chelsea Bean, Youth 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. 

Julie Tierney, Communications Coordinator:

Julie is a white settler raised on the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people in Epekwitk, known today 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 social justice.

Our work is also supported by our community advisors, Craig Eby and Prof. Tara Fenwick. Craig currently acts as our 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.