Cuso International is a development organization that works to reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of highly skilled volunteers, collaborative partnerships and compassionate donors. Each year, Cuso International mobilizes hundreds of volunteers to work with partner organizations on placements across Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, of which several focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, including health and well-being.
Cuso International has various country offices around the world, as well as site projects. In Canada, the central office is located in Ottawa, with additional offices in Montreal, Toronto and Lima, Peru.
- Health (both medicine and public health)
- Agriculture & horticulture
- Communications, art & media
- Economic development & business management
- Community development
- Information & technology management
- Monitoring, evaluation & research
- Public policy
Cuso International Projects
A Helping Hand for Health Care in Tanzania
Near Kigoma, Tanzania, many children experiencing illnesses like malaria, diarrhea, infection and malnutrition visit Maweni Hospital. Maweni’s health workers do their best to examine and treat every child in the line, but they are overwhelmed and under-resourced. With a major doctor shortage in rural areas like Kigoma, nurses like Nuru Ndijuye must go beyond the call of duty: prescribing treatments, performing resuscitation and managing very sick patients without much physician support.
That’s why Cuso International is sending skilled medical volunteers like Dr. Bruce D’Souza to work alongside Nuru and her colleagues in the neonatal and pediatric wards. By sharing his knowledge, Dr. Bruce improves the nurses’ clinical skills so they can respond to children’s needs more effectively.
Ending Violence Against Women in Peru
Simon Morin, who just recently completed his volunteer stint through Cuso International, was given the mandate to promote gender equality and human rights. The role of his local partner, the Office of the Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo), is to act as a watchdog in order to make sure that public services are adequate and to protect the rights and freedoms of Peruvian citizens. Simon focused his efforts on the prevention of discrimination and violence against women, particularly in health-related matters.
During his placement, Simon was able to contribute to numerous projects. He was involved in the creation of a national registry for victims who underwent forced sterilizations between 1996 and 2000, during Peru’s internal armed conflict. He also worked on a campaign against sexual harassment, wrote up reports, made recommendations on legal projects, and supported a working group whose objective was to promote gender equality and respect for cultural differences within the Defensoría itself.
Volunteer Placement Perks
- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)
- Accommodation while in placement
- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs
- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance
- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation
- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation
- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend
- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents who are going on placement with you for 12 months or longer (return flight, emergency medical insurance, vaccinations)
- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return
- Cuso International assessment day (candidates must cover the first $200 of the most cost-effective travel expenses and all accommodation costs)
- Bonus: Additional return flight home or cash in lieu after 12 months of service for volunteers who extend for another 6 months
Meet Some Team Members
Sarah is the Global Lead for Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. She has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years, with the last 14 years in international development. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree in 1997, her earlier work focussed on marginalized populations within the UK. In 2003 Sarah moved to Ottawa and has been working with Cuso International on youth programming, volunteer co-operation and gender equality. In her current role, she works with 17 different country programs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to gather learnings from the field and provide technical support on gender issues including gender based violence, maternal health and positive masculinities. A busy mother of 3, Sarah completed her Master’s Degree in Development Management in 2016, focussing her research on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Myanmar. She has volunteered in Sierra Leone and the Philippines and most recently visited Tanzania to provide training on gender issues to midwives. An active blogger and baker in her spare time, she is passionate about mobilizing people and sharing knowledge to promote social justice and reduce inequality.
Tina is the Outreach and Partnerships Officer. Tina is passionate about creating a space for people to network and talk about how they can share their skills and talents locally and globally. In 2008, after 11 years as a brand marketer for clients that included Unilever’s Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, Tina made a career transition. The catalyst was volunteering in Tanzania and Dharamsala India, where Tina found meaning in proximity and that closeness voiced a new narrative. In Tina’s current role, she has the opportunity to engage individuals from Diaspora communities, academic institutions, and business associations on how to use their expertise as a vital partner for sustainable development. Tina is on the International Development Program Advisory Committee (PAC) of Centennial College, an Executive Member of the Canadian International Council, and a member of the Diaspora Networking Group, assembled through the Ontario Council for International Cooperation. Tina’s vision for the future is ‘a shared humanity’ through proximity.
- Respect and integrity
How to get involved with Cuso International
How often does Cuso International recruit international professional volunteers?
Cuso International recruits international professional volunteers all the time. They post new volunteer positions approximately every 2 to 3 weeks. Currently, they are working with nearly 200 volunteers. Visit ThriveHire’s job board or their website to see their current opportunities.
Cuso International offers their Young Leaders Overseas Program. This program offers Canadian youth the chance to use their education and leadership skills to make a difference, not only in other people’s lives, but also their own. Through Young Leaders Overseas, Cuso International will send up to 10 youth to support Cuso International partners in Jamaica, Cameroon and Myanmar to achieve their goals.
Top Things Cuso International Looks For
Cuso International looks for people who:
- Support Cuso International’s vision — a world where all people are able to realize their
potential, develop their skills and participate fully in society
- Offer professional experience that will contribute to Cuso International’s goals
- Have a positive approach and enjoy working in a diverse environment
- Welcome new challenges and deal with them in a flexible, open-minded way
Advice for Candidates
Cuso International values diversity. As an equal opportunity employer, we seek to recruit people regardless of race, religion, gender, age, sexuality and disability. Cuso International will accommodate the needs of people with disabilities throughout our recruitment process.
Candidates should be aware that approximately 90% of international volunteer opportunities are for Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents only. However, Cuso International has 2 programs that allow international applicants: one is their Canadian Indigenous Program, and the other is their program in Ethiopia, which is jointly held with CARE, which is open to all nationalities outside of Ethiopia. Applicants must be eligible to obtain an entry visa and work permit for Ethiopia.