Matching skills and training for community impact

“I wanted to make a difference and give something back.” Those words are often what motivates a volunteer to begin their journey in international development work. For a Cuso International volunteer, it is the start of a life-changing experience – for both the volunteer and the community they will support.

Cuso International has nearly 60 years of experience recruiting and placing volunteers with a range of professional backgrounds and skills. The Cuso International model of volunteering is about placing skilled volunteers in longer term positions. In our experience, combining those two criteria provides a positive impact for global development work.

Our placements are developed by local partner organizations, guided by the leadership of Cuso International country program offices to create strategic and sustainable projects. Trained staff assess applications against the placements and skills required by our partners to determine the right fit for potential volunteers. Ultimately, the decision to match a volunteer and a placement is made by the local partner to ensure it suits the immediate and long term needs of their organization and community.

We ask volunteers to commit to a term of service that ranges from four months to two years. We recognize that global development issues are complex, and that success takes time. A longer placement allows the volunteer to better understand the local needs, build trust and accompany our partner organizations and communities in their work.

Volunteers have been crucial to implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals, and Canadian volunteers with Cuso International, working alongside our overseas partners have made significant and unique contributions to improving equality, health and livelihoods in developing countries. We are actively engaged, along with other volunteer-sending organizations, in ensuring that the contributions volunteering will make to the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals are valued and recognized.

The world has changed in many ways since we began sending volunteers to international placements in 1961, and our volunteer selection has adapted to match this new landscape. What remains the same is the Cuso International commitment to the best possible training and support for volunteers so that, together with local partners, we create positive, lasting change. We believe that everyone has a role to play in creating solutions and supporting change.

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