Voluntary Cooperation Programme: Protection of Children, Women and other Vulnerable Populations (PRODEF)

Giving your energy and knowledge to a task that could have a direct impact on the lives of society’s most vulnerable people is an invaluable experience that transcends our own professional development
Claudia Nuñez, volunteer legal advisor at the association CHS Alternativo.

Project duration : 2015 - 2020

For several decades now, the Government of Canada has helped hundreds of volunteering young Canadian professionals use their expertise to assist organisations in developing countries through its Volunteer Cooperation Programme (VCP). In 2014, Global Affairs Canada issued a call for proposals to expand the VCP to other Canadian organisations. It is in this context that the IBCR partnered with Lawyers Without Borders Canada to implement a five-year plan aimed at strengthening the justice system in the countries in question.

Our objectives:

The project, approved in May 2015, envisages the deployment of young professionals (legal experts, human resources specialists, social workers) in nine countries in Africa and the Americas with the aim of supporting the protection of women and children, as well as the rule of law through access to justice. Over the course of the coming years, almost 20 organisations, including the Paniamor Foundation in Costa Rica, Association BAYTI in Morocco, CHS Alternativo in Peru, Amal pour la Famille et l’Enfant in Tunisia and Association des Femmes Juristes de Côte d’Ivoire, will host cooperants for several months at a time. In all, over 100 Canadian volunteers will be sent out into the field. There, they will support local structures through capacity-strengthening activities, and will in turn gain out of the ordinary work experience in the field of international development, which they will be able to utilise when they return to Canada.

The IBCR and its partners hope this will lead to an improvement in the protection of human rights in vulnerable populations, as well as in the development of skills among the concerned partners. The young professionals sent on missions will also be able to develop practices by offering guidance and training, and by providing technical and methodological support to the staff of organisations involved in the project. However, the experience is also meant to facilitate a larger mobilisation of Canadians towards international development issues.

The Volunteer Cooperation Programme was introduced at the forum “Sexual Violence: Which Support for the Victims?”, which was jointly organised  by the IBCR and Lawyers Without Borders Canada. Since then, 14 legal advisors and two organisational management consultants have been sent out into the field.

  • Intervention locations : 9 countries taking part in the project: Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Morocco, Peru and Tunisia
  • Project duration: 2015 à 2020
  • Partners :
    • Global Affairs Canada, Lawyers Without Borders Canada, Amal pour la Famille et l’Enfant (Tunisia), Association Bayti (Morocco), Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (Peru), Association des Femmes Juristes de Côte d’Ivoire, Bufete de Derechos Humanos (Guatemala), Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (Honduras), Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (Guatemala), CHS Alternativo (Peru), Collectif contre l’impunité (Haiti), Office de la Protection du Citoyen (Haiti), Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, Corporación Humanas (Colombia) Paniamor Foundation (Costa Rica), Instituto Promoviendo Desarrollo Social (Peru), Kay Fanm – with MOUFHED and SOFA (Haiti).
  • Highlights:
    • 9 countries involved in the project
    • Close to 20 partner organisations
    • Approximately 100 cooperants will be taking part in missions
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Capacity building
    • Children in emergency situations
    • Children and the justice system

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