As we celebrate Canada Day today, we wish to honour the engagement of the thousands of Canadians who contribute each year to creating a more equal world by giving their time and sharing their knowledge, skills and expertise as international volunteers.
Through their engagement, optimism, willingness and concrete daily actions working with local partners, these volunteers demonstrate a boundless sense of solidarity and a true desire to build together a more inclusive world, especially for women and youth. This year, 589 volunteers chose to contribute their skills alongside WUSC and CECI in Barbados, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Dominica, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. We want to thank each and every one of them, whose daily efforts amount to remarkable cumulative achievements in sustainable development that make Canada proud.
Indeed, Canadian volunteers play an important part in carrying out the agenda for sustainable development, aiming to eradicate poverty, protect the environment, and guarantee prosperity for all. Through the Uniterra program, over 200 local partners across 14 countries receive the support of Canadian volunteers to implement their sustainable development initiatives which enable 5.6 million people, including 60% women and 50% youth, to improve their socio-economic conditions by 2020. Volunteers also contribute to other development projects with WUSC and CECI; they play an important part in improving the health of mothers and children in Haiti and Burkina Faso, building resilience in the face of climate change in the Philippines and the Caribbean, helping Sri Lankan youth integrate into the labour market, and facilitating women’s access to leadership roles in Jordan.
Year after year, our volunteers assist our local partners, becoming agents of change and contributing to the empowerment of women and girls. WUSC, CECI, our volunteers, and our partners all assist in the implementation of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which “recognizes that women and girls are powerful agents of change for development and peace”. The volunteers, partners and staff of the Uniterra program work together towards inclusive economic growth in the service of all, with a strong focus on facilitating opportunities for women to prosper. The program works in close collaboration with the private sector to ensure women can participate in and benefit from this growth. The principle of equity in all human relations is central to our vision, guiding everything we do. We are proud to be able to count on our network of volunteers, who make for excellent advisers to our partners on these issues.
To all the volunteers who chose to take part in the development initiatives of WUSC and CECI, we say THANK YOU! We encourage you to stay engaged and active upon your return to Canada, as your contribution truly makes a great difference.
Happy Canada Day!
Claudia Black, Executive Director of CECI
Chris Eaton, Executive Director of WUSC
Odette McCarthy, Director of the Uniterra program