Bogota, Colombia, February 15, 2016 – The Government of Canada, together with Cuso International, is launching a project to support employment opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged youth in Colombia. The project will provide technical-vocational training in marketable trades to 4,000 women and men, helping them to access well-paying and productive jobs in the formal sector and contribute to the country’s peacebuilding process.

Carmen Sylvain, Ambassador of Canada to Colombia, and Evelyne Guindon, CEO of Cuso International, will join other government officials as well as private sector and civil society representatives to launch the project during a conference at Bogota’s Escuela Taller on February 16, 2016, at 17:00 local time.  

Sustainable Colombian Opportunities for Peacebuilding and Employment (SCOPE) represents a concrete effort and commitment of the Government of Canada and Cuso International to help ensure that women, youth and people made vulnerable by displacement, violence and armed conflict can earn a decent living and contribute to their local economy. Canada has provided CAD $15 million to support this project, which will be executed by Cuso International.

“Colombian youth have tremendous potential,” said Ambassador Sylvain. “Our development program in Colombia supports vocational and entrepreneurship training that provide youth with jobs and a peaceful future. In partnership with the national and municipal governments we will create over 4,000 jobs for young people in seven cities across Colombia.”

“We hope that SCOPE will increase the participation of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in Colombia’s labour market,” said Evelyne Guindon. “It will provide training so that students learn market-relevant technical and soft skills, such as problem-solving and teamwork. The students will also receive psychosocial support as needed to deal with the legacy of living in conflict-affected areas. By working together, we can strengthen the capacity of key government institutions and private sector companies to develop employment programs and internship opportunities, municipal development plans, as well as workplace diversity and inclusion strategies that benefit women, youth and conflict-affected populations. We hope that we can have a long-term impact that will truly change lives.” 

The project will be implemented over five years in seven cities: Bogota-Soacha, Medellin, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Cali, Buenaventura and Quibdo. 

Cuso International is a non-profit international development organization that works to improve the lives of people living in poverty and inequality. Each year Cuso International mobilizes hundreds of Canadian volunteer professionals to work with local partners and create lasting change. 

For more information, please contact:
Aynsley Morris, Director of Communications and Marketing