Georgetown, Guyana – Cuso International, together with partners, beneficiaries and volunteers, officially launched its Volunteers for International Cooperation and Empowerment (VOICE) program in Guyana on December 8, 2015.

“Worldwide, organizations like Cuso International play an important role in the delivery of Canada’s development assistance,” said Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Pierre Giroux. “Volunteers bring valuable experience, expertise and skills to local partners, such as indigenous community groups. Together, they work towards unlocking potential and advancing their development agenda in improving the lives of Guyanese,” he added.

High Commissioner Giroux highlighted Cuso International’s contribution to poverty reduction in Guyana, namely by introducing innovative approaches to creating sustainable livelihoods, improving education opportunities, promoting volunteerism, and fostering the effective and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities. 

In Guyana, where young people under the age of 30 account for more than 60 percent of the population, highly skilled volunteers and local partners will work together on specific projects designed to support skills and vocational training to improve youth employability, micro, small and medium-sized enterprise development and financing, as well as promote gender equality and social inclusion. 

“Unemployment is one of the most pressing concerns among Guyanese youth,” said Taramattie Persaud, Country Representative for Cuso International in Guyana. “Addressing the mismatch between the skills young people have and the requirements of the job market is essential. We will be working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education to strengthen vocational and life skills training, and also support curriculum redesign and innovation.”

Cuso International’s local partners in Guyana include the Ministry of Education’s Department of Youth, Volunteer Youth Corps, Youth Challenge Guyana, the Kanuku Mountain Community Representative Group, the Linden Technical Institute, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Women’s Agro-Processors Development Network.

As Cuso International’s primary international program, VOICE will improve the economic and social well-being of poor and marginalized communities in targeted countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
VOICE contributes to Canada’s commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth, access to health services, and gender equality and social inclusion around the globe. The five-year program is made possible with support from the Government of Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

Cuso International is a non-profit international development organization that works to improve the lives of people living with poverty and inequality around the globe. Each year we mobilize hundreds of volunteer professionals who work with local partners to create positive lasting change. Established in 1961, Cuso International is a registered charity in Canada and the United States.  

Jennifer Buter, Communications Officer
613.829.7445 x244