Inclusive Development: World University Service of Canada’s Top Ten Highlights from 2016/2017
This article was originally written and published by VEGA Member WUSC here.
Last year was very exciting for WUSC. We celebrated the start of new projects and the renewal and growth of others. From opening offices in two new countries to having the highest number of Local Committee members to date, there was much to celebrate. All of these achievements and successes are presented in our most recent Annual Report, which can be found here.
Here are ten highlights from the 2016/2017 year:
- Our work spanned over 25 countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas to improve education, economic opportunities, and empowerment for young people. This year we began working in two new countries – Jordan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Over 160,000 people were directly engaged through our work, of which 74% were youth, approximately 25% were refugees, and approximately 60% were women and girls. Indirectly, our work reached over 1.3 million people.
- We began two new initiatives – one in West Africa and one in Jordan. In Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Guinea, we are working towards facilitating community dialogue to promote more inclusive decision-making and economic opportunities in communities affected by the extractive sector. In Jordan, our work aims to remove barriers that prevent women from accessing fulfilling careers in the healthcare sector.
- 140 refugee students were resettled, at 69 post-secondary institutions across Canada. For nearly 40 years, WUSC has been involved in Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (PSRP). In that time, our network has helped to resettle over 1,700 young refugees, while providing them with opportunities for post-secondary education through our Student Refugee Program.
- Over 550 international volunteers contributed to more inclusive economies, working alongside 400 partners in 14 countries. Jointly delivered with CECI, the Uniterra Program mobilized volunteers to develop market innovations that better extend economic benefits to youth and women.
- Over 1,100 students volunteered as Local Committee members on campuses across Canada – the most ever! Through their activities and events, our Local Committees directly engaged almost 35,000 people as they shared messages of inclusion and helped foster more welcoming communities.
- We partnered with close to 90 post-secondary institutions, including 83 in Canada and 5 overseas. Nearly 80% of those campuses also sponsor refugee students, while others partner with Uniterra to provide students, faculty members, and staff with international volunteering opportunities.
- The first phase of our work for girls’ education in Kenya wrapped up. Funded by UK-aid, the first phase of the project lasted 5 years and aimed to improve attendance, retention, and success for refugee girls. Results from this phase indicated a 65% increase in mean literacy scores, and 80% improvement in teacher attitudes, and a 13% increase in community support.
- Our network participated in the Government of Canada’s public consultations on international assistance. Through a social media campaign that used the hashtag #WUSCEUMC2030, we asked our supporters to share their 2030 vision. Over 850 engagements from our network helped to inform our submission.
- The 70th International Seminar took place in Tanzania, bringing together youth from Canada and Tanzania. 18 youth leaders came together to research the role of youth and agriculture in the Tanzanian economy. The report from their research can be found here.
Our success last year would not have been possible without the support of our network. While a lot of work has already been done, there is still so much more to do, and so much progress that we can still continue to make. Together, we can ensure that more youth have access to education and economic empowerment opportunities; where they can learn, work, and play a vital role in their country’s development. We look forward to seeing what 2018 holds for us.
To read our full Annual Report for 2016/2017, visit annualreport.wusc.ca.