Our Focus

Empowering women and girls

We're creating more inclusive communities for women and girls by focusing on empowerment, equality and an enabling environment.

When women and girls thrive everyone benefits

Not only are gender equality and social inclusion human rights issues, they are essential to overcoming poverty and its effects. Entire communities benefit when women and girls have the same opportunities to participate freely in society. This is why we focus on addressing the social, cultural and economic barriers women and girls face so they can thrive.

Why women and girls matter


girls are at risk of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) around the world. An extreme violation of a person’s human rights, this practice affects more than 200-million girls and women. We are working with local leaders and women's organizations in Northern Benin to support survivors, educate communities and end FGM. Ensuring women's physical security is core to advancing gender equality.

0 in 3

women globally will experience gender-based violence (GBV) in their lifetime. We are working with partners in 12 countries to strengthen women's rights, advance policies that protect women and girls and engage communities in ending GBV.


of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. Globally, 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. We work with health organizations to increase access to quality maternal care, as well as care for newborns and children.

Projects That Work

Our projects align with all three objectives of Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP): enhance the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls, increase the participation of women and girls in equal decision making, and give women and girls control over the resources they need to secure economic and social equality.

Helping Rural communities in Cameroon respond to COVID-19

This rapid response project in Cameroon focuses on women who traditionally are less exposed to information and who, because of their mobility outside their households in search of subsistence, are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. Cuso is working with women's empowerment centres, health workers, radio stations and schools to minimize risk and increase community awareness.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Honduras

Women and other vulnerable populations face greater barriers to employment and higher rates of discrimination when it comes to economic opportunities. Cuso is partnering with communities and the public/private sector to provide business development training, inclusive hiring training, and workshops to build a more resilient business and entrepreneurial environment that works for Honduran women.

Tackling Poverty through Canadian Engagement

Our vision of a world free of poverty means everyone has a role to play. Our highly skilled volunteers advise and consult with organizations in developing countries to make real and lasting impacts. With an emphasis on gender equality and the goal of reaching 1.8 million people over the next seven years (2020-27) in Benin, Cameroon, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Honduras, Jamaica, Nigeria, Peru, and Tanzania, our Volunteer for Development Program will send Canadian volunteers to help our local partners advance the Strategic Development Goals.

Removing the Barriers to Girls Education in Ethiopia

The number of girls enrolled in primary school in Ethiopia has more than doubled in the past 20 years but remains below half the population. In secondary school, girls from rural areas have an average education of Grade 8, while their urban counterparts increase slightly to Grade 10. Only 27 per cent of students at the post-secondary level are women. We are partnering with the Institute of International Education to ensure all girls receive an education. Over the next five years (2020-25), we're enhancing academic, social and soft skills for adolescent girls, including those with disabilities. We're strengthening the capacity of teachers and education institutions to deliver quality and gender-sensitive education and we're boosting the enrolment of girls at the post-secondary level.

Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Benin

In Benin, a law banning the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) was introduced in 2003, but it's still a strongly rooted social custom in many rural areas. We are partnering with local communities to increase education, support young girls and survivors and enhance engagement towards ending this harmful cultural practice. This includes educating men and boys on healthy relationships.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, its donors and supporters.


Invest in women and girls

Your support helps advance gender equality around the world and create sustainable and equitable solutions to end poverty. An inclusive future starts with you.