Are you willing to share your time and expertise to contribute to international development?
Uniterra offers a range of exciting opportunities for skilled and committed Canadians like you, who want to make a difference. Assignments are from 2 weeks to 2 years and encompass a variety of disciplines.
Being a volunteer with Uniterra is an incredible opportunity to share your skills and expertise to help build the capacity of our partners, while expanding your professional skills and gaining valuable international work experience. Uniterra supports a wide range of partners to expand economic opportunities for young people and women. Partners include civil society organizations, private businesses, governments and cooperatives, among others. Volunteers work in collaboration, sharing their knowledge and skills, building capacity, inspiring new ideas to support our partners to achieve greater success in their work.
Successful volunteers will meet the following basic criteria:
- Be 18 to 70 years old
- Hold Canadian citizen or Permanent Residency status
- Hold the technical qualifications and skills to fulfill the objectives of the assignment
- A satisfactory police check
- A satisfactory medical clearance
- Be willing to work for a modest living allowance
- Commit to raising funds in support of the Uniterra program activities
In addition, volunteers should demonstrate:
- Strong motivation for wanting to get involved in international volunteering and development
- Excellent communication, coaching and interpersonal skills and have the skills to work effectively in a different socio-cultural context
- Resiliency, adaptability and flexibility
- Strong commitment to the values of volunteerism and spirit of solidarity
- Willingness to integrate into the local community and live a modest lifestyle
The volunteer cycle
Choose an assignment that fits your skills, experience and interest and apply online. We will contact you in the coming weeks if you are shortlisted. If not, remember to consult the site often as we do post new assignments on a regular basis.
We will contact you to begin the selection process, which starts with an introductory telephone call then a full interview (either in person or by telephone or Skype). Your resume will also be shared with our country office and partners in country for their review and final selection decision. Your selection is also dependant on the receipt of satisfactory references and a criminal records check, and satisfactory completion of the mandatory pre-departure training.
Fundraising and outreach
Upon accepting an assignment with Uniterra, we expect each volunteer to make a financial contribution to the program. It is also the perfect timing to raise awareness about international development, international volunteering and to share with your friends and family information on where you will be volunteering, who you will be working with and the kind of work you will be doing.
You will be invited to attend a pre-departure training in Montreal or Ottawa. The training is an important opportunity to meet other volunteers and staff, learn more about the Uniterra program's work and your role as a volunteer.
Depart for assignment
Your journey can now begin! Once you arrive in-country, you will take part in an in-country orientation and briefing. Our team in country will help you to settle in and start your search for accommodation.
Monitoring and evaluation
As a key contributor to the implementation of Uniterra programming, you will be actively engaged throughout the term of the assignment in ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities including regular reporting on your activities and accomplishments.
Return to Canada
We will support your preparations to return home. You will be invited to attend a debriefing workshop in Montreal or Ottawa. These are held several times per year. We look forward to hearing your stories and talking to you about how you can stay engaged in Canada!
- How do I apply?
Once you have identified an assignment that fits your skills, experience and interests you can apply by opening the assignment description and following the directions in the section called "TO APPLY" at the bottom of the page. Once your application file has been created, it will be saved permanently in our application system. Make sure you have updated your CV and have it ready to submit in Word format. Be sure to retain your password for access to your file so that you can easily update your profile should you decide to apply to other Uniterra assignments. Do not create a new account if you are applying for a second assignment. You can apply for more than one assignment, although if you are shortlisted for one of these, you will be withdrawn from the selection process for the others.
- How does the selection process work?
Once your application is received our team will review your suitability for the assignment. We will contact only those applicants that have been shortlisted to invite you to an introductory telephone call. The purpose of this call is to review your candidacy, provide you with information on financial and other benefits and answer any questions you may have. If this is satisfactory, we will proceed to a full interview either in person (if you are living in Montreal or Ottawa, where the CECI and WUSC offices are located) or by telephone or Skype. Note that each person pays his or her transportation costs for attending the interview. During this second interview you will be asked to demonstrate the personal and professional competencies that are required for the assignment. As part of the selection process your resume will also be shared with our country office and partners in country for their review and final selection decision.
Please note that your selection is also dependant on the receipt of satisfactory references and a criminal records check, and satisfactory completion of the mandatory pre-departure training, in Montreal or Ottawa. At the successful completion of the training course you will sign a Volunteer Contract, the Volunteer Code of Conduct and receive details regarding your monthly living allowance, health insurance and travel bookings.
Our team will organize the necessary visa's and work permits and book your travel directly to your country of assignment. You will receive a guide that will provide information and guidance on the various administrative items that you will need to complete as well as the support you can expect from the Uniterra program. You must read these documents carefully.
- How long is the selection process?
The process of being assessed, selected, confirmed on assignment and finalizing preparations to depart takes approximately 4 to 5 months from the date of submitting an application. This timeframe provides adequate time for volunteers to complete pre-departure training, along with all the necessary logistics such as arranging visas, work permits, medical and criminal background clearances and taking care of personal business.
- What benefits and support will I receive?
Uniterra volunteers will receive the following benefits/support:
- Travel and accommodation for a pre-departure training course
- Return flights, visas and work permits
- The cost of required country specific vaccinations
- Health insurance
- Modest monthly living allowance while on assignment
- Vacation leave
- In-country orientation and briefing upon arrival in-country
- Language training where required
- Travel and accommodation for debriefing workshop upon return to Canada
- Can I take my partner and children with me?
Unfortunately, the Uniterra program can no longer offer support for partners and children.
- Do I receive a salary?
As a volunteer you do not receive a salary but you will receive a monthly living allowance. The allowance will enable you to live a modest local lifestyle including food, local travel, communications and other costs. The allowance amount is determined by the number of persons recognized as accompanying dependants, the costs of living in the country of assignment, as well as the length of the assignment. Payments will be made on a monthly basis in Canadian dollars into your Canadian bank account.
- What support will I get in country?
There is a country office in each of the countries where we work who are responsible for the development of the country program and partnerships. The country office is also responsible for providing support to our serving volunteers to ensure that they are able to work effectively and have a successful assignment.
- What will my accommodation be like?
The accomodation available will vary depending on what is available in country, but rest assured that with the financial contribution from the Uniterra program you will be able to find suitable housing that is modest, safe and clean.
- Is language training provided?
We strongly encourage all volunteers to learn the local language and remember even the most basic language skills can help enrich your experience. There is some support available for language training depending on the country and the particular context within which you will be working.
- Am I entitled to holiday leave?
Yes, all volunteers on assignment for 4 months or more earn vacation days at a rate of one and two-thirds days per month, to a total of 20 working days over a twelve month assignment.
- What happens if I get sick?
All volunteers are covered under Uniterra's health insurance while on assignment. This covers any necessary medical treatment and 24-hour assistance in case of a medical emergency, including evacuation to the nearest suitable hospital if necessary.
- What happens in case of an emergency?
We take the safety of our volunteers very seriously. Each country office has security protocols and an emergency response plan. You will be provided with this information once you arrive in country.
In the case of an emergency at home, you should leave the Uniterra emergency contact number with your family in case they need to contact us. We will ensure that any messages are communicated to you.
Tara Scanlan is a product development advisor for Fair Trade Group Nepal and has built upon her Uniterra mandate to start her own ethical fashion company.
Find the right assignment for you on the map below. Or go to SYGESCA to view all assignments available.