For the Media

Crossroads International – Celebrating 60 years of Lives Changed

Crossroads International is a leading Canadian volunteer cooperation agency advancing equality for women and girls and eradicating poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries in Africa and South America. For 60 years, Crossroads volunteers have worked alongside Southern partners to leverage knowledge and expertise to create a more equitable world. As we reach this important milestone, we are even more determined to continue to be a catalyst for change.

How we work

Crossroads International works with local partner organizations to fight poverty and empower women to become leaders and live free from violence. Together, we develop co-operatives and collective enterprises that generate income and advance the autonomy of youth, women and the rural poor. We pilot innovative approaches to reducing violence against women and girls and advancing women’s rights.

Every year, we engage hundreds of experienced volunteers who apply their expertise locally to address global issues. Overseas volunteers are some of the most engaged citizens in the life of this country and serve as important cultural bridges. They reflect all backgrounds and walks of life, and many Crossroads volunteers have left a mark on the economic, cultural, and political life of Canada, including Ann McCain Evans, author Lawrence Hill, former NDP Leader Audrey McLaughlin, BBC journalist Lyse Doucet and Senator Donald Oliver. By leveraging the talent, passion, and hard work of citizens North and South, volunteer cooperation is an efficient and effective public policy model whose time has come.

Where we work

Crossroads International works in some of the world’s poorest countries: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Togo. Women and girls face great adversity — unequal access to resources and economic opportunities, gender-based violence and limited participation in political and public life. They are among the most vulnerable in the face of increasing religious extremism and terrorism, climate change and political instability.

Our Impact

  • Volunteers contributed 54,077 in-kind hours valued at more than $1.9 million in 2016-2017
  • 8,850 people in the South improved their income and more than 20,600 increased their capacity to access their rights in 2016-2017
  • 17,000 women and girls increased their access to justice, developed leadership skills and became more financially autonomous in 2016-2017

Together we are…

Increasing Access to Justice
In Ghana, the Access to Justice Program, is a legal literacy program to increase women’s and girls’ knowledge of their rights and their access to legal information and services. The program empowers women and men, including religious and traditional leaders, as legal literacy volunteers and advocates for women’s rights. It also focuses on strengthening Ghana’s justice system by building the knowledge of legal actors about the Domestic Violence Act and a Court Watch Program.

  • 255 Ghanaian legal literacy volunteers, including religious and traditional leaders, increased access to justice and raised awareness of gender-based violence among 53,000 people including women survivors of abuse since 2008

Moving from Victims of Violence to Voices for Change
In Ghana, Swaziland and Togo, Girls’ Empowerment Clubs provide safe space where girls who have experienced abuse or who are at risk can find support and speak openly about their experience. Volunteer teachers and community mentors are trained to work with the girls on gender based violence, reproductive health, prevention of human trafficking, and the importance of staying in school. A small program to provide peer support for girls has become a powerful movement for change:

  • 62 Girls’ Empowerment Clubs help 2,500 girls annually
  • Ten-fold increase in reports of abuse
  • Teen pregnancies averted in schools where clubs were introduced
  • Increase in school retention and academic success

Transforming Women’s Work
Innovative private sector partnerships with Canadian companies The Green Beaver Company and Papillon MDC supported Senegalese women soap producers in diversifying and improving their product line and developing business skills leading to:

  • 76.2% increase in overall sales
  • 26% increase in women’s participation in economic activities

Investing in Farmers of the Future
In Bolivia, Senegal and Togo, youth are trained in sustainable agriculture and learn about modern farming technics, agroecology and management. This model offers youth viable career opportunities, sustainable income and helps ensure food security

  • 300 young women and men are increasing food production as part of the Farmers for the Future program tackling youth migration and food insecurity
  • 10% increase in youth participation in six Ecological Producer organizations in Bolivia

As Crossroads International marks 60 years of service in pursuit of a more just and equitable world, we reaffirm our commitment to cooperation, transparency, and pursuing public policies that reduces poverty and advance gender equality.

For more information, please contact our Communications team.

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