2022-23 Annual Report
Skills to Share.
Futures to Build.
Our mission: Reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of volunteers, partners, and donors.
Our vision: A world where all people are able to realize their potential, develop their skills and participate fully in society.
Our values: Partnership. Respect and Integrity. Accountability.
Message from the CEO and Co-Chairs
Thanks to the unwavering support of our dynamic partners, dedicated volunteers, and generous donors, as well as the resourcefulness of our teams around the globe, we persisted in delivering innovative programs to marginalized groups and individuals, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 restrictions. Today, we stand proud, having officially emerged from the pandemic, and we continue to draw valuable lessons from this global crisis that impacted the most vulnerable among us. As we adapt and strive to enhance collaboration across our organization, we are filled with confidence that together, we are forging a brighter future.
We invite you to read about some of the key initiatives we undertook this year to address those priorities:
- We fostered economic opportunities, improving safe, inclusive, and gender-responsive work environments, and building community awareness of the situation of marginalized communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- We supported young girls and women with resources, trainings, and a financial stipend so they can focus on their studies in Ethiopia.
- We assisted young women who are jobless or underemployed by adding a high level of digital competency to their existing credentials, as well as helping with work placements and mentorship in Cameroon.
- We provided marketing and legal advice and delivering workshops about sales and customer service to migrants who want to start their own businesses in Peru.
- We transferred technical knowledge to partner organizations that are either raising awareness of human rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, or working on a climate change project, in Colombia.
- We strengthened the entrepreneurial knowledge of women who are small agricultural producers to increase food security and combat climate change in Honduras.
- We helped to address school attendance and boost students’ self confidence in remote communities in the Northwest Territories.
- We engaged with our Indigenous partners at Videa and Moose Hide Campaign, part of our commitment to learn and take tangible steps on the road to reconciliation with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples in Canada.
In 2022, thanks to you, Cuso’s work touched hundreds of thousands of lives across several continents. As we embark on our 62nd year, we are determined to help build even more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable communities. Now, energized by our new Strategic Plan, we are filled with courage and optimism for the year ahead.
As always, we are grateful to you for joining us on this journey.
Chief Executive Officer
Cuso's focus areas in 2022-23
Committing to a New Strategic Plan
Cuso International released its 2023–2027 Strategic Plan this year, renewing our vision for an equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world where all people are treated with dignity and can participate fully in society.
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Adonayit, a Grade 12 science student at Bambasi Secondary School, didn’t used to have plans for her future. After she joined U-GIRLS2, private tutorials helped Adonayit improve her grades. She also attended leadership and life skills training, workshops on reproductive health, and English-language training.
Economic Resilience through Sustainable Solutions
Nidia Ramona and Carlos Cáceres are migrants who fled from the ongoing political conflict in Venezuela, which has displaced millions of people. Through SCOPE, they received marketing tools and legal advice to strengthen their new pizza-parlour business in Peru.
In Colombia, Cuso International volunteer Sebastián Martínez Silva, a Montreal-based biologist, leads workshops on the importance of women’s work and the impact of climate change on communities’ lifestyles.
Indigenous Communities: Supporting Education and Reflecting on the Way Forward
Cuso International is committed to acting in solidarity with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples in Canada in their efforts to advance self-determination, decolonization, and reconciliation.
The Canadian Program continued to support Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories as they work to address school attendance and improve students’ self-confidence.
Cuso International's Reach and Impact
Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, Jamaica, Honduras, Peru, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
Africa: Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania
Canada: Northwest Territories
Thanks to your strong support and generosity, Cuso International’s financial position provides us with a secure basis for our work.
Why I Volunteer
In July 2022, Katia Vergel Navarrete brought her expertise to Asociación Kallpa in Lima, Peru, working with teenage mothers, young women with disabilities, and migrant women, delivering psychosocial counselling, training workshops, and information about how to land and keep a job.
“My experience with Kallpa has been very enriching as it has allowed me to work alongside a multidisciplinary team and learn new ways of intervening with the target population. I am proud of the results I have been able to achieve and I am very happy to have been able to make a change in the lives of the users of the Youth Employment Centre.”
Why I Give
For siblings Siea and Menno Melitz, supporting Cuso International is a family tradition born out of their father’s adventurous spirit and deep-rooted desire to bolster international communities.
“Wherever he worked, our father always felt a strong connection to the local people and culture, and he saw what they were capable of,” says Siea.
In 2010, their father Paul and his wife, Gerdy, started the Bernhard Melitz Foundation which continues to support Cuso International today because the two organizations’ goals align—goals such as empowering women.