A force for change in an ever-changing world.

Cuso International is a development organization that works to reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of highly skilled volunteers, collaborative partnerships and compassionate donors.


A world where all people are able to realize their potential, develop their skills and participate fully in society.


Reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of volunteers, partners and donors.

Discover our focus areas



Partnership: We believe in the power of people. We employ a people-centred approach to development and the challenge of overcoming poverty and inequality. We support our partners, who drive their own development. We recognize that we all have a stake in effective development, and we seek to build on each other’s capabilities.

Learn more about our partners

Respect and Integrity: We value diversity. We recognize and care about the rights and dignity of others. We strive to live up to our commitments, to be fair and transparent in our work, and to act consistently in applying our principles.

Accountability: We take responsibility for our actions and proactively demonstrate that we work with and on behalf of others. We perform consistently to standards and seek to achieve and inspire excellence. We are dedicated to continually drawing from our experience, sharing knowledge and applying it to improve our work.

Read more about how we stay accountable

Young male volunteer with students in SE Asia


How we became Cuso International

In 1961, a group of Canadian university graduates had a vision of a more connected world. A world where the social constraints you are born into don’t dictate the entirety of your life. Where each human being has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

These young people took a great leap of faith, rallied hundreds of other young graduates across this great nation and founded CUSO, Canadian University Students Overseas. Each young volunteer took their role as a Canadian “ambassador” very seriously as they filled skill gaps in developing countries as teachers, nurses and agriculturalists.

Over the next few decades, as our partners became the educators, health care professionals and farmers, so evolved the role of the volunteers. Today, our volunteers are experienced professionals who focus on building skills and transferring knowledge to our partners across Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. And, our name Cuso International reflects this change.

Visit our Alumni section to learn more!