Volunteer Cooperation Program

Amplifying the potential of women at the heart of change

Women are actors of change in their communities

Women and young women are at the heart of CECI’s Voluntary Cooperation Programme (VCP). We believe that fully supporting their potential and strengthening their leadership contribute to building strong communities, thus fostering sustainable and inclusive development. 

The program showcases challenges faced by international partner organizations to encourage Canadians to support and participate in international solidarity.

CECI's VCP program

6 coutries

Benin, Bolivia, Guatemala, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, and Rwanda

2 000 000

people will see their living conditions improve with the support of the VCP

75%

of the reached people will be women

150

local partner organizations of part of the program

15,000

Canadians will be mobilized by the program

Knowledge Exchange Spaces

The program

The Program offers Canadians the opportunity to actively engage globally through international solidarity. Mobilizing individuals from diverse backgrounds and reflecting the diversity of Canadian society, CECI’s VCP creates opportunities and spaces for knowledge exchange. These spaces promote the mutual development of both individuals and partner organizations and are guided by the values of social justice, equality and inclusion. 

CECI volunteers create lasting relationships with partner organizations to co-develop processes, activities and tools to contribute to their organizational development and overall impact.

Our approach

CECI volunteers, by sharing skills and expertise, collaborate closely with local partner organizations to strengthen women’s economic power and increase community resilience to climate change.

Strengthening Women’s Economic Power For Green Growth

Empowering women economically requires engaging in a political dialogue and transforming social norms for more profitable, inclusive and safe markets. This vision encourages the active participation of women in risk prevention, disaster management and climate change adaptation decisions. The approach focuses on building partners’ capacity to guarantee women’s rights, helping them create sustainable economic opportunities. This contributes to the improvement of working conditions and the realization of their socio-economic rights.

CECI defines women’s economic empowerment as “the ability of women to generate and manage sufficient resources to ensure their autonomy and development within their families and the community, as well as their power to influence decision-making in relation to economic policies in line with the vision and priorities for a just and sustainable development.”

Environmental Sustainability And Climate Change

The environmental sustainability strategy encourages organization’s awareness and environmental action to reduce the impacts of their activities. The strategy also strengthens partners’ ability to contribute to environmental protection and climate resilience in communities, particularly for women and young women. Adaptation to climate change is integrated, as many challenges relate to natural resources that are essential to the livelihoods of partner communities. Environmental sustainability is thus considered at each level of economic activity.

Women’s Rights, Diversity and Inclusion

The program aims to strengthen women's ability to know, claim and enforce all their rights, including economic and social rights. It promotes diversity and inclusion of marginalized groups through the promotion of gender equality. The approach seeks to reduce inequalities by addressing constraints limiting the participation of women, young women and people experiencing different forms of cross-discrimination.

Our activities

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Benin

In Benin, CECI works to strengthen the economic power of women and young women in the breeding, agriculture, forestry and ecotourism sectors.  In this West African country, the gap between men and women’s living conditions is considerable and the population faces several environmental challenges due to overexploitation of soil and climatic hazards. Nevertheless, green economic opportunities in targeted growth sectors and the dynamism of local women’s rights organizations suggest a significant opportunity for improvement in women’s living conditions.

Regions: Coastal, Central and South Central Regions

Bolivia

In Bolivia, CECI aims to strengthen the economic power of women and young women who experience gender-based violence, are underemployed or unemployed, or belong to an Indigenous group. CECI volunteers work with civil society organizations to develop and implement advocacy campaigns to encourage the application of laws that protect women and their access to meaningful economic opportunities. In order to facilitate women’s resilience to climate change, volunteers also support environmental awareness campaigns and the creation of green economic opportunities in promising sectors.

Regions: Urban and rural areas of the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Nord-Potosi and Santa Cruz

Rwanda

In Rwanda, CECI supports the economic empowerment of vulnerable women: farmers, heads of households, young mothers, women and young women living in refugee camps or trading across borders. Although considerable progress has been made towards gender equality in Rwanda, particularly at a political level, women’s situation in their homes is deteriorating. CECI volunteers work with civil society organizations to improve women’s economic opportunities. In collaboration with local women’s rights organizations, the volunteers also support the creation of an enabling environment for gender equality.

Senegal

In Senegal, CECI supports the economic empowerment of women and young women facing particularly significant barriers: women and young women with disabilities, uneducated or poorly educated women, educated but unemployed women and women entrepreneurs. The VCP particularly seeks to strengthen the capacities of women and young people who are seen as agents of change, in collaboration with a network of local partners composed of civil society organizations, peasant organizations, state agencies, municipalities and vocational training centres. By sharing their skills and expertise with partner organizations, CECI volunteers contribute to improving women’s economic opportunities, supporting the creation of an enabling environment for gender equality, and resilience to climate change.

Guatemala

In Guatemala, CECI works to empower Indigenous and rural women and youth. CECI volunteers work alongside civil society organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises and media, in order to enable the emergence of inclusive economic opportunities for Indigenous women and youth and the creation of an enabling environment for gender and cultural equality. In order to facilitate women’s resilience to climate change, volunteers also support environmental awareness campaigns and the creation of green economic opportunities in promising sectors.

Regions: Departments of Solola, Chimaltenango, El Quiché, Alta and Baja Verapaz, Scatepéquez and Guatemala.

Our aspirations

  • Empower women and young women by developing leadership, decision-making autonomy and challenging restrictive socio-cultural norms.

  • Transform discriminatory social norms, including gender-based violence, by encouraging communication with families, communities and institutions on the importance of gender equality.

  • Promote job creation and business development, with adapted entrepreneurial support, technical training and strategies for generational succession.

  • Establish an enabling environment and political dialogue by strengthening programs and institutions supporting the economic empowerment of women and young women.

  • Work with men by promoting positive masculinities to overcome gender inequalities and strengthen women’s economic power.

  • Promote access and control of resources (such as credit) and market opportunities, while identifying specific issues and opportunities for women and young women.

Want to become a volunteer?

Financial Partner

The program is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

Canadian activity partners