Become a Volunteer

You can be a force for change.

Here's why you should volunteer with Cuso

We know that people helping people is the best way to address the development needs of our time, and that's why volunteering is at the heart of Cuso’s global efforts. You can be part of the movement making a real difference. Volunteer with Cuso.


Cuso International continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing impacts in Canada and around the world. Given the present circumstances, we have made the decision to delay the deployment of volunteers from Canada. The duty of care for our volunteers is our greatest consideration and we will resume placements when we are confident that we can uphold the standard of care and ensure minimal risks for our staff, partners and volunteers as well as the communities we serve. In the meantime, please check our Volunteer Placements for e-volunteer opportunities that align with your skill set. E-volunteering is a great way to contribute to partners and projects remotely and can help build the foundation for an international placement once it is deemed safe to travel.

What to expect on a Cuso placement

When you volunteer with Cuso you'll be contributing to positive global change. You'll live in the heart of a community, working side-by-side with local colleagues to advance long-lasting solutions on today’s most important international development issues. The impact of your work will ripple out long after you return home.

Apply your skills to real-world challenges

Our highly-skilled volunteers advise and consult with our partner organizations in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada's North to amplify their impact and create lasting change. As a Cuso volunteer you'll have the opportunity to:

  • Share your knowledge and expertise to help reduce poverty and inequality
  • Contribute your skills to increase opportunities in developing countries
  • Support and mentor local communities to advance their goals
  • Immerse yourself in other business cultures and develop cross-cultural expertise

Expand your skill-set and gain new perspectives

Volunteering with Cuso is a life-changing experience. Not only will you contribute to positive and lasting change, but you'll come away with new tools and techniques yourself. With us, you will:

  • Gain valuable international work experience in your field
  • Work on projects with global reach and impact
  • Acquire professional consultation and advisory experience
  • Learn from your international colleagues and develop your global network

Receive support every step of the way

Cuso volunteers receive comprehensive training pre-departure, in-country and post-departure, as well as financial support for a safe and healthy experience. You'll have access to professional support staff throughout your volunteer journey and upon your return home.

3 ways to volunteer

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Gain international work experience in Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean. Share your skills with local colleagues to help end poverty and inequality.

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No passport required. Work virtually with our international partners from the comfort of your home to help advance their mission.

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Live and work in a remote community where you’ll offer learning assistance to Indigenous youth in the Northwest Territories.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible to become a Cuso volunteer if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Available for six to 12 months in placement
  • Have a recognized qualification
  • Minimum two years of professional experience in a relevant field
  • Comfortable with modest living allowance and living at the local standard
  • Demonstrated soft skills: positive and realistic commitment, commitment to learning, flexible and adaptable, ability to work well with others and sensitive to the needs of others
  • Able to receive medical clearance
  • Meet entry and work permit requirements for the placement country
  • Able to meet your fundraising commitment

"I said, 'I'm only going for a year, nothing more.' Three years later, here I am." When you become a Cuso volunteer you become part of the movement to build brighter futures—not only for others but for yourself as well.

Ready to take the next step?

Here's the process.

Review our current volunteer placements and apply online. We will assess your application and contact you with a response within three to four weeks.

If your application is successful, we'll assess your experience and motivations through a preliminary call. This also gives you the opportunity to discuss your application and raise any questions.

This step is designed to assess if you have the interpersonal skills essential for a successful placement. The skills are: self-assurance, flexibility and adaptability, sensitivity to the needs of others, ability to work in a team, the desire to learn and help others learn, and a positive and realistic commitment to volunteering.

The final decision regarding your suitability for a placement will be determined by the country program office and partner organization. We will confirm this decision with you as soon as we receive it.

Once your acceptance is confirmed, you will need to complete necessary pre-departure procedures including medical clearance, travel booking and visa processes. You will also be required to participate in our pre-departure training program.

All volunteers are expected to raise $2,000 or more before departure. The average cost of placing a volunteer is $29,000 and the money you raise ensures our work continues. Cuso's fundraising team will provide you with support every step of the way so your fundraising is a success.

The country program office will organize in-country orientation and help you settle into your new setting. This team will support you with any major personal, medical or security problems that may arise during your placement. However, your primary contact will be Cuso's local partner.

Cuso will support you while you prepare to return home. All returned volunteers are invited to attend a reintegration workshop, usually scheduled three to 12 months after your return.