Statement: International Development Week 2024


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#IDW2024: Proudly Supporting LGBTQI+ Individuals

Ottawa, February 5, 2024

Cuso International invites all Canadians to celebrate Canada’s International Development Week, a time to showcase the work we do in collaboration with local partners to support marginalized communities around the world. This year, as we continue to make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we want to highlight a group that is often persecuted, maligned, or simply ignored: LGBTQI+ individuals.

Whether in Uganda, where legislation is making them a target of the government and their fellow citizens, or in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where traditional norms present significant barriers to employment, around the world LGBTQI+ individuals are facing unique hurdles to self-realization and civic participation.

This year, seven of the world’s most populous countries, plus the United States, will be holding elections. At Cuso, we fear that rising polarization and the ensuing instability and turmoil will erode already fragile protections for LGBTQI+ communities in many places, making them even more vulnerable.

Global Affairs Canada is well aware of those threats. That is why they work in close collaboration with organizations like ours to protect and advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world.

With their support, in 2022, we launched Talents Pluriels, a project that aims to redress injustice and promote gender equality and social inclusion in DRC. Implemented with local partner organization Jeunialissime in three locations: Bukavu, Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, it provides training for young people, employers, and communities to create safe and inclusive professional environments that promote diversity, respect, and understanding of gender differences. Participating employers are also trained to design and adopt inclusive recruitment and hiring practices that address the needs of vulnerable groups, particularly the LGBTQI+ community.

Talents Pluriels is an excellent example of our gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) strategic priority in action. It is based on another very successful Cuso International project initiated nine years ago in Columbia. The Sustainable Colombian Opportunities for Peacebuilding and Employment (SCOPE) model has trained more than twenty-three thousand individuals, 68 per cent of whom have found permanent employment.

This approach has been so successful that we are working to expand it to several other countries. Look out for the announcement. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.


Happy International Development Week!

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