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Getting involved in international development

There are many ways to get involved in international development–you can write a cheque, volunteer a few hours a week or find work overseas. This section can help you get started.

There are many ways to contribute. Depending on your interests and skillsets, you could:

If you want to learn more about what you can do to help during major natural disasters and other emergency situations, please consult Donation assistance for disasters abroad.

Learn how to engage Canadians on global issues

Global Affairs Canada has developed a wiki-based tool for public engagement. The Virtual Engagement Resource Centre for All shows how to engage Canadians on global issues. It compiles useful information and tools from different sources. We created it for and with our partners, and it is collaborative and evergreen. We made it for all civil society organizations, regardless of their level of comfort and familiarity with the topic. Keep in mind that there are no set rules in public engagement. 

Get yourself and your organization thinking about engaging Canadians on global issues. Check out our Virtual Engagement Resource Centre for All.

Individuals and organizations who work in international development play key roles in engaging others on global issues. They raise awareness about global citizenship. They help Canadians understand why current global challenges matter and how these challenges affect their local realities.

Engaging Canadians on global issues is a fluid concept: you can approach it and view it in different ways. Some also call it “public engagement” or “global citizenship education.”

Volunteer your time or expertise in Canada

Many Canadian organizations rely on volunteers in Canada to help them achieve their goals. 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:

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.

Study international development

International development intersects with a variety of occupations and endeavours. In order to get a job in this field, you could pursue an international development degree, or specialize in a sector such as:

Become an international volunteer

Volunteering overseas can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be quite challenging. Be ready to face the reality of field work, and do extensive research to find an opportunity that suits your interests and experiences.

Several reputable organizations use international volunteer programs to further their work on the ground in developing countries. Professionals with skills in fields such as business, information technology, health, education, communications, community development and natural resources management can be of great asset to these organizations.

The Government of Canada provides funding to several Canadians organizations to help send highly skilled and qualified volunteers to developing countries to work with local partners. Consult the Project Browser to see where funding is going.

You can also look for internship programs and volunteer organizations operating in Canada and abroad Volunteering and internships abroad.

You can search online databases for opportunities:

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.

Volunteering to be an election observer

If you are interested in being an international election observer, you can find out more at CANADEM — International Election Observation Project. This organization maintains a roster of Canadian election observers. You will need to register on their website.

A career in international development with the Government of Canada

Global Affairs Canada provides opportunities for a career that is global in scale, offering a wealth of international perspectives that increase professional skills and expand cultural perceptions. Global Affairs Canada recruits employees from outside the public service through the services of the Public Service Commission (PSC), which lists job opportunities open to the public on their Careers in the federal public service website.

Here are some other options:

Work as a consultant for international development initiatives

Global Affairs Canada, like its counterparts in other countries, works with consultants and companies based in Canada and around the world to advance its international objectives and reduce poverty in developing countries. Consult, the Government of Canada's electronic tendering service to view active Request for proposals.

Several organizations specialize in reducing global poverty and improving standard of living in developing countries. If you would like to help by donating money to one of these organizations, here are a couple of things to consider:


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