New Program Aims to Expose Canadian Aboriginal Youth to International Development

The Canadian government has launched a new initiative that aims to give aboriginal youth from across the country the chance to participate in Canada’s international development projects.

The International Aboriginal Youth Internship initiative is a six-month engagement that gives young aboriginal men and women the opportunity to work firsthand on some of the world’s most pressing issues, including gender equality, environmental degradation, sustainable development, education, and economic development.

Two months of the program will be spent in Canada, while the remaining four will involve engagement in Canada-led projects in developing countries.

“The new International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative is an exciting, new initiative that will bring a new experience to Canada’s Aboriginal youth,” Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda said in a Feb. 9 statement. “Their unique perspective and heritage will enhance our work in developing countries and enrich their opportunities to contribute to Canada’s efforts to bring a better life to those living in poverty around the world.”

The internship program expects to accommodate up to 140 Canadian aboriginal youth annually. It is open to 18- to 35-year-old Canadian citizens of aboriginal affiliation. A qualified candidate is expected to hold a secondary school diploma or its equivalent and sign a self-declaration form to be provided by the Canadian International Development Agency.

With the launch of this initiative, CIDA is also seeking Canadian organizations to partner with for the internships. Canadian organizations working in the international development field can submit internship proposals until April 8, 2011.

IAYI is a five-year program with a budget of 10.5 million Canadian dollars (USD10.6 million), of which 2.1 million Canadian dollars will be spent for 2011-2012. CIDA intends to allocate a total of 15,000 Canadian dollars for every partner organization that will participate in the program.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.