The range of opportunities to get involved in international development is entirely up to you — from writing a cheque to volunteering a few hours a week to finding work overseas. This section can get you started.
Many Canadian international development organizations rely on volunteers in Canada to help them achieve their goals. You can volunteer your time or expertise or both! You can do this in person or on-line. The first step is to find an organization that you would like to support and that can benefit from your skills.
Most provinces or regions have a council which brings together all of the organizations in the area. Visiting their websites can help you identify an organization to work with:
Getinvolved.ca offers both in-person and online or virtual volunteering opportunities within Canada and helps you discover your volunteer strengths and goals. You can also visit Volunteer Canada or Charity Village and search their on-line databases for opportunities. Onlinevolunteering.org provides hundreds of international virtual volunteering opportunities with development organizations around the world.
Once you have identified an organization, if it is a Canadian organization, you may want to verify its status with the Canada Revenue Agency and find out more about its activities and financial status.
If you would rather help by donating money to an organization, here are a couple of things to consider:
Ready to share your skills and experience with an organization or community in a developing country? Volunteering overseas can be an incredibly rewarding experience but it can also be quite challenging. To start, consult CIDA's web page Find a job in international development which provides links to the websites of major Canadian volunteer-sending organizations. The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas can also help. You may wish to register with Canadem, a Canadian non-profit organization that places Canadian experts in the field, mainly with United Nations organizations. Of course, it is always useful to visit Charity Village's career centre. You can also read about the life-changing experiences of some Cuso International volunteers working in developing countries.
If you would like to start your own development project, it is a good idea to learn from the experiences of others before you start. You also need to have a sound plan, access to adequate financial and human resources, and the ability to monitor progress and evaluate results. If you want to find out what CIDA is funding in a particular country or sector, CIDA's Project Browser provides information about more than 3,000 projects. Rotary International offers some excellent advice on how to plan a project and work with partners. You can also find out how to get funding from CIDA.
If you are thinking of a complete career change or just want to further your knowledge in a specific area important to international development, consult our Studying International Development web page.
There are many ways to work with CIDA. If you are an individual, you can work with CIDA as a permanent or term public servant, a consultant, a cooperant or a development officer (a national recruitment and career development program for recent university graduates). You can also work with one of CIDA's partners as an intern, adviser or volunteer with a non-governmental organization or an adviser with an executing agency.
If you represent an organization, your organization may also be able to partner with CIDA on a development project, get funding from CIDA for a development project or propose goods and services for a CIDA project.
If you are interested in being an international election observer, you can find out more at CANADEM. This organization maintains a roster of Canadian election observers. You will need to register on their website.