Canada World Youth has a variety of programs to engage and empower youth in Canada and around the world. Through our programming, we enable young people to become active, engaged citizens, so they can make positive changes for themselves, their communities, and the world.
If you’re a young Canadian interested in being part of CWY-JCM's programs, we encourage you to bookmark this page as a favourite and check-in for volunteer experiences regularly!
National Youth Leadership Summit
CWY-JCM first National Youth Leadership Summit took place from June 5th -8th at the Saskatoon Inn and Conference Centre in Saskatchewan. The event gathered 127 youth from every province and territory together for a chance to exchange ideas and acquire skills, inspiration and understanding for a better future Canada.
Sponsored by Heritage Canada, and the governments of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, Yukon and Saskatchewan, the event included guest speakers, cultural programming, youth-led workshops, and more.
Apathy is Boring and STEM Minds hosted workshops, along with participant led sessions from Youthful Cities, the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health, Be The Change YYC, the Stronger BC Young Leaders Council, the Pride Farm, and more.
An all women and queer folks line-up of guest-speakers included Sarain Fox, Erica Violet Lee, Zainab Muse, and Anu Bidani. Marci Ien also attended virtually to answer youth questions, and MLA Brittny Anderson joined the Stronger BC Young Leaders Council, representing her province.
Delegates enjoyed presentations from the Indigenous dance and musical group Buffalo Boy Productions, and drummers TJ Warren and the Sharp Shooters, as well as musician and singer ADEOLUWA. They also visited Wanuskewin Heritage Park, and received tours in native plant use, the history of the land, and the history of buffalo hunting.
"I learned that I can be a catalyst for positive change in my community. It was reassuring to hear that youth voices are valued."
- Sophie Bezanson (18, Nova Scotia)
"I learned so much. I learned that I am valid in my knowledge and experience as an Indigenous person. I used to think that because I was so new to reclaiming my identity, that I didn’t know much more than the average Canadian about our cultures, shared experiences, and issues."
- Logan Beauchamp (24, Alberta)
"I learned that it’s ok to be open about who you are and the people who don’t accept you aren’t worth the worry. I also learned that there is no issue that cannot be discussed if you all approach the conversation with the understanding."
- Natahn Muir-cressmen (22, Yukon)
We are already starting to plan next year's summit, and we hope to make Youth Summit an annual part of CWY-JCM programming! But to do this, we need the support of all the provinces and territories, and private sponsors!
If you are interested in supporting the National Youth Leadership Summit for 2023, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Delegation to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)
The Youth Delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), organizes and supports a group of Indigenous youth living in Canada in traveling to UN Headquarters for the Permanent Forum in New York City. The event brings together Indigenous youth and leaders, policy-makers, and educators from around the world.
Delegates interact with some of the top governing officials about Indigenous issues and promoting resilient, sustaining communities. They receive training and support throughout the program, including skill building in leadership, entrepreneurship, and how to be a voice for one's community.
At the Forum, Indigenous youth engage, learn, and lead conversations regarding the issues most important to them and their communities. Starting with orientation, youth participate in panel discussions and dialogues, listen to guest speakers, and engage in debriefing sessions. With support and guidance from CWY, youth delegates prepare and host an event at the Forum to discuss important topics affecting Indigenous youth in Canada. Delegates provide the UNPFII with the opportunity to hear the unique needs, priorities, and concerns facing their communities on one of the largest platforms for social change and human rights. The UNPFII has extensive media coverage and the issues addressed by our young people will be heard globally.
Indigenous youth delegates come away from the Forum with skills and experience in public engagement, professional communication, international development and leadership. The skills and knowledge they obtain, they bring back to their communities, creating a chain reaction of empowerment. You can read all about the Delegates' experience here.
The 2022 UNPFII’s theme was “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent.” CWY sent a group of 6 youth from the Nakoda Youth Council and from Humber College to the UNPFII. This year’s delegation was sponsored by Power Corporation of Canada.
"Feeling that empowerment of young people globally coming together and standing behind each other was incredible. I learned and gained a lot of experience working with a team. And building those relationships."
-Kara Neveau, UNPFII Youth delegate, 2022
International Internships for Indigenous Youth (or IAYI)
The International internships program for Indigenous youth has been a cornerstone program of CWY-JCM for many years. This program offers Indigenous youth across Canada the opportunity to work with another Indigenous community somewhere else in the world, either virtually or in-person. The program is supported by Global Affairs Canada, through their International Aboriginal Youth Internships program (IAYI).
Interns engage in cross-cultural community development projects, working with Indigenous youth counterparts. They design projects under various themes, including: Indigenous rights, gender equity, governance, and environmental care, Indigenous youth develop intuitive entrepreneurial and community-based solutions to local issues. Participants support and train with community entrepreneurs, conduct public engagement activities, develop career plans, and attend multiple skill building workshops. They gain professional experience in the international development sector and learn about another Indigenous community’s culture and language.
Upholding the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, participants are encouraged to develop and share their community’s knowledge, stories, language and culture with Indigenous community partners from Canada and across the world. To implement this program, CWY-JCM leverages 50-years of relationship building with partners around the globe, recently working with partners in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica. We support the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the project by focusing our community-based initiatives on issues of poverty, health, education, gender equality, and a cleaner greener future.
During COVID lockdowns in 2021 and 2022 youth took part in a paid virtual internship, working remotely with counterparts in Peru. Working in conjunction with the Brigada de Voluntarios Bolivarianos del Peru.
For the first time since 2019, we are sending a group of youth to Peru, where they will live with a host community near Cusco! Youth who have all completed the virtual internship, will spend a month living and working in Peru.
"Being able to help the women at the Muralistas Collective, it really touched my heart because, I can be all the way over here in Canada helping someone in Peru. And just to better someone's life, even just a little, means the world to me."
-Emma General, IAYI Virtual Intern, 2022
"It was really special to get to do all the cultural exchanges, and to connect with Indigenous people from Peru, and also to learn more about Canadian Indigenous cultures, and be able to share my culture, my Métis heritage."
-Bonnita Preston, IAYI Virtual Intern, 2022
"What I gained from that program was a really concrete understanding that across the nations my brothers and sisters share the same struggles but also the same triumphs with un-colonizing the systems that we continue to work through and live through, and also just like life-long relationships with people that I connected with"
-Brittany Grisdale, International Intern, Colombia, 2014
Women's Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods Initiative (WELI)
WELI is an innovative youth-centered and gender-responsive training and development project that seeks to increase economic empowerment and resilience for adolescent girls and young women in communities impacted by COVID-19. Guided by Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), the project is pursuing innovative strategies around gender equality and the economic empowerment of adolescent girls and young women by providing access to resources, business development services and new market opportunities.
Participants of the WELI program benefited from a wide variety of projects, including entrepreneurship incubators for their small businesses, training workshops and sensitivity training on issues of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The project also engaged in advocacy work on the state and national levels around addressing issues of SGBV.
The WELI pilot project was implemented in Ghana and Senegal over the last 5 years, in partnership with Africa Skills Hub. The program successfully reached and trained 9,534 adolescent girls and young women. It reached 38,000 people through sensitization activities around SGBV and business and life skills training programs.
Canadian e-volunteers supported WELI’s work. They worked closely with program manager Pamela Yengayenge to design a gender equality tool-kit for policy makers, to develop economic strategies for women entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses, and supporting local partners in designing tools and resources to enhance women livelihoods such as an environmental handbook including eco-friendly practices, designing questionnaires to administer to beneficiaries, and collecting impact stories.
Canada World Youth is currently in the process of reviewing the data and information collected during the pilot project, in order to deliver another round of WELI adapted to emerging issues and communities most in need.