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National Volunteer Week: Celebrating the Impact of our Network

Locally or internationally, volunteers’ time and skills are key to WUSC’s global development efforts. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we want to celebrate and highlight the extraordinary work and impact of WUSC’s volunteers in Canada and overseas, without whom our global cooperation programs would not be successful, let alone possible.

In Canada, the network of Local Committees is active across more than 100 post-secondary campuses, and are led by more than 1000 volunteer members across the country. It is through this network of volunteers that WUSC is able to operate its Student Refugee Program, which provides the opportunity for over 150 refugee youth to resettle in Canada to pursue post-secondary education at universities, colleges and CEGEPs across the country. Local Committee members are responsible for supporting refugee students throughout their resettlement journey, providing financial, academic, social, health and wellness support, as well as helping them prepare for the post-sponsorship period and life in Canada. The work done by these youth volunteers not only has a direct impact on the lives of former refugees now living in Canada, but also provides them with an invaluable leadership development experience.

WUSC Local Committee members,  Vancouver, 2022

“As the Queen’s team supporting the sponsored students, we have the honour of witnessing their perseverance through uncertainty and challenges; to appreciate their curiosity and adaptability, to marvel at their determination to succeed and to meet the expectations they have for themselves; and to observe their growth in confidence as they proceed through their degrees and begin journeys in their desired careers.  We are so excited to be active participants and supporters in this settlement chapter of their life experience.”  – Queen’s University Local Committee, Outstanding Contribution to the Student Refugee Program Award Winner.

Our volunteers are an integral part of WUSC’s mission in creating a better world for all young people. By exchanging their time and skills for the opportunity to advance education, economic opportunities and gender equality around the globe, volunteers are able to connect directly with the local communities, interact with various partner organizations, and bring their own unique experiences to the global development field. 

“I actively participate in the development of my organization and thus in international development by ensuring that knowledge sharing is done in a way that respects the reality of my partner and my colleagues.” Vincent Auclair, WUSC Volunteer, Business Development Advisor, Malawi

With volunteers being able to lend their expertise to various partner organizations, they contribute to strengthening the capacity of their organization, thus supporting them in achieving their objectives. This allows for greater change to take place at a faster pace. Over the last 3 years, we have been able to measure a significant increase in partners’ capacities in gender equality, inclusion and environmental sustainability, thanks to the commitment of our amazing partners, and the contribution of volunteers from all around the world.

Malawi Partners’ Forum, 2022

“Vicent has greatly contributed to the improvement of production processes for women entrepreneurs. He has set the pace for quality and food safety, developed manuals that will be used even in his absence. The assignment has been a big success and we wish he can give us more time.” – Community Women Enterprise Network (U) Limited, Local Partner in Uganda

Not only are volunteers working to support the local communities, they are also sharing their volunteering experiences with Canadians and the world through additional awareness raising events that they each plan and host themselves. The purpose of these events is to shed light onto the plethora of situations, hardships, and areas in need of support. With the firsthand experience that volunteers gain while on assignment – such as being immersed into a new culture, working with new communities and so on –  they are humbly able to highlight global issues to an audience, without any political jargon or nuance, thus bridging the gap between those in the global development field and those who are not. 

“While the majority of people in the developing world are living more prosperous lives now than they did before, many are still worse off. There is still need for continuous efforts to enable the realisation of global development and one way to do this is through volunteerism.” – Albert Kwawan, WUSC Volunteer Gender Advisor, Kenya

Through their involvement, Local Committee members and international volunteers help spread the word about Canada’s contribution to global development efforts by sharing success stories and raising awareness among Canadians about global issues such as gender inequality, access to education, social and economic inequality, and forced displacement.

Juliette Barré, WUSC Volunteer Research for Advocacy Officer, Kenya, 2022

“It is important to be aware of the impact of these global issues, and that we as students, as young people have the power to change and create change, and contribute to meaningful change, whether big or small. This is especially important so that issues aren’t overlooked and voices aren’t silenced.” – Christeen Kurian, WUSC Local Committee member at Ontario Tech University

The enthusiasm, engagement and leadership of the WUSC volunteer network allows us to reach over 140,000 Canadians every year, and mobilize over 15,000 individuals to take action in support of Canada’s global development efforts. The commitment and hard work our volunteers demonstrate is crucial to achieving the sustainable development goals and creating a better world for all young people. To all our current and former volunteers – THANK YOU!

“Global citizenship begins at an early age and it is through our actions at school that we will be able to develop our citizen education at both the national and global levels.” Myriam Bravo, WUSC Local Committee member at the Université du Québec à Montréal

For more information on how to join a WUSC Local Committee or become an international volunteer, click here.

WUSC works to create a better world for all young people. To learn more, start here or subscribe to get highlights straight to your inbox. Interested in volunteering internationally? View our current opportunities. Looking for a new career opportunity? Check out our current job openings. Or show your support for our cause by making a donation.


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