April 22, 2009 16:00 ET

Government of Canada Announces Renewed Support for Canadians Volunteering Overseas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 22, 2009) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today met with senior representatives of Canadian Volunteer Cooperation Agencies (VCAs) and marked National Volunteer Week by announcing the renewal of the Volunteer Cooperation Program over 5 years.

"Canadians have always volunteered to improve the lives of those living in poverty around the world. This reflects the best of our Canadian values." Minister Oda said. "I am pleased that the renewal of the Volunteer Cooperation Program, with the help of Canadian NGO partners, means Canadians will continue to contribute their diverse experience to help those in developing countries."

The Volunteer Cooperation Program will help leverage the skills and expertise of volunteers across sectors, including fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; promoting economic growth and self-reliance, education and training programs. The additional support will allow the volunteer cooperation agencies to increase the number of volunteers from approximately 2,500 to 8,500.

"Canadian volunteers are Canada's ambassadors, often living in remote villages and rural communities, working side by side with the people they have gone to assist," added Minister Oda.

The government of Canada is committed to delivering aid that is effective, focused and accountable. CIDA will work with the Volunteer Cooperation Agencies to ensure the number of volunteers is maximized over the course of the next 5 years, to meet the volunteer placement targets.



The Government of Canada has renewed the Volunteer Cooperation Program that provides ongoing financial support to the Canadian volunteer cooperation agencies.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide $244.6 million over five years, a significant increase over the $42 million that was provided between 2004 and 2009. The funds will support eight programs managed by nine volunteer cooperation agencies. Approximately half of the current programming is carried out in Africa and one-third in the Americas.

The program will leverage the skills and expertise of an estimated 8,500 volunteers. The volunteer cooperation agencies aim to define and meet local needs through placements of qualified volunteers and volunteer-exchange programs. By engaging a large and diverse spectrum of Canadian volunteers, these agencies promote a better understanding of international development issues to the Canadian public. Through their strong connection to communities in developing countries, the agencies are also well placed to identify emerging priorities and offer innovative programming.

A mid-term evaluation of the Volunteer Cooperation Program was completed in 2007, confirming that Volunteer Cooperation Program is making a significant positive contribution to development in partner countries. Over the course of the current program, there has been strong collaboration amongst volunteer agencies. In West Africa, they worked together on a shea butter marketing and production project. A similar initiative focused on HIV/AIDS and involved partners from across Africa and Canada. In Canada, agencies have developed a joint website and organized training and educational events together.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Michelle Coates
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office