Our Core Competencies

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The ways in which we work, and the skill sets that define Cuso International’s unique added value as an organization are reflected in the following four core competencies:


We are invested in the success of our partners. With a systems-level perspective, we facilitate alliances between partners and marginalized groups to accelerate and scale developmental impact. Partnerships are at the heart of Cuso International, reflected in who we are, what we do, and how we work. What sets us apart in our partnership approach is our focus on supporting locally led de- sign and management of activities.

Skills Sharing:

An expert in volunteer management, operations, and training, we also support partners to develop their capacity through the provision of locally relevant skilled volunteers or other forms of technical assistance. Our approach to volunteering is a two-way exchange, and we use the term “skill sharing” to elevate the roles and learning of all the stakeholders involved.

Education and Public Awareness:

Our experience with education and public awareness is foundational to our contribution towards positive change. We engage the public, civil society, governments, and the private sector in dialogue to help them understand key international development issues, and ways to address them. We work with education institutions to advance our strategic priorities.

Thought Leadership and Advocacy:

We proactively advocate for just policies and systemic change that reflect both our values and our strategic priorities. We will leverage our organizational reputation and capacity to support the voices and experiences of our partners, program participants, volunteers, and staff to influence systems change.


Cuso International volunteers are skilled professionals recruited from Canada and around the world. Our North to South volunteers are Canadian volunteers. Our South to South volunteers are recruited from lower- and middle-income countries to support local partners in other southern countries. Our National volunteers are engaged in the countries where we work who contribute their expertise to supporting partners in their communities.

Through self-identification, members of Canada’s diaspora communities, notably from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, contribute their skills, net- works, and knowledge to support development in their countries of heritage. When travel is not possible or is not required, e-volunteering (or on- line volunteering), connects our skilled volunteers with local partners through remote working tools.

Cuso International’s approach to volunteerism has evolved over time and shares overlapping objectives with our technical assistance and capacity-building work. All of these reflect the concepts of two-way sharing and exchange. Over the past 60 years more than 14,000 individuals have volunteered with Cuso International in more than 100 countries.