Bogotá, Colombia – Together with representatives of the Government of Canada, partner organizations and volunteers, Cuso International officially launched its Volunteers for International Cooperation and Empowerment (VOICE) program in Colombia on May 3, 2016.

Jean-Luc Labelle, Deputy Director of Cooperation for the Embassy of Canada in Colombia, and Diana Roa, Director of Cuso International in Colombia, spoke at the launch, which was attended by public, private and civil society representatives.
“Volunteering is an important part of the value system of Canada. The Government of Canada, through civil society organizations, has been supporting the placement of volunteers for more than 40 years,”stated Jean-Luc Labelle. “We reiterate our support for the work that Cuso International will perform within Colombia to strengthen the voices of those most in need in order to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of their life plans”.

In Colombia, highly skilled volunteers and local organizations in Nicaragua will work together on specific projects that are designed to help poor and vulnerable women and youth find dignified employment or undertake sustainable and inclusive economic initiatives, individually or collectively. They will also work on projects that engage both men and women to reduce and prevent gender-based violence and help promote citizen participation through volunteering.

“VOICE is a great opportunity to contribute to a more just, equitable and inclusive society. Volunteers are global citizens committed to the achievement of common goals and the idea of a better world,” said Diana Roa.

The program will be implemented over five years in Bogota D.C., Bucaramanga, Pereira, Medellin and Ibague.

Some of Cuso International’s local partners include Corporación Autónoma Regional de Risaralda (CARDER), Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (PNN), Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá, Fundación Activos Culturales Afro (ACUA), Sistema B, Fruandes SAS, Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines, Fundación Mujer y Futuro, and the Unidad Administrativa Especial de Organizaciones Solidarias.

“Cuso International volunteers do not only donate their time. They are committed and open-minded people who are able to facilitate sustainable processes,” noted Gisela Paredes, specialist in land use planning for PNN. “They work to generate impact and strengthen capacity at all levels. That is why we value this association and hope to see it grow and expand in the future”.

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 Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

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 x 244