Managua, Nicaragua – 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 Nicaragua on April 12, 2016.

Ysabel Blanco, Head of Aid in Nicaragua for Global Affairs Canada, and Evelyne Guindon, CEO of Cuso International, spoke at the launch, which was attended by more than one hundred public, private and civil society representatives.

“Volunteers are fundamental actors in the construction of a strong social fabric and in development efforts. Their commitment has a real and sustainable impact in the communities and in the lives of Nicaraguans”, said Ysabel Blanco.

Through VOICE, 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 prevent adolescent pregnancy.

“Together, we will help communities thrive and prosper, and work to improve the lives of young people and women who represent a majority in Nicaragua. When given the opportunity, they will build a stronger future for themselves, their families and their communities”, said Evelyne Guindon, CEO of Cuso International. 

The program will be implemented over five years in Nicaragua’s Dry Corridor, Managua and the San Juan River area.

Cuso International’s local partners in Nicaragua include the Network of Nicaraguan Businesswomen, the Catholic University of Dry Tropic Farming and Livestock, the Agricultural Cooperative Federation of Rural Women Producers of Nicaragua, and the Fundación Entre Mujeres

“Until recently, it was necessary to travel to the capital city to have a soil sample analyzed. Now, thanks to the support of a Cuso International volunteer who helped set up the university’s soil laboratory, we can offer professional, low-cost soil testing services to smallholder farmers in Nicaragua’s Dry Corridor”, said Sister Sandra López, Dean of UCATSE.

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