Our Approach

Our Approach to Development

Our approach to development

Our work in partnership with experienced local organizations strengthens our development work. We understand that our partners and community members are best placed to define their own needs and should be the primary drivers of development in their communities. In collaboration with our partners, we define, implement, monitor and evaluate our development projects to ensure their ongoing viability and effectiveness. We recognize that, through our partnerships, we have the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and experience of our partners, while providing additional support, guidance and resources to meet their needs.

Specific examples of our development initiatives and work in partnership can be found in the international partnerships section of this website.

Our Approach to Youth Leadership


Youth have always been at the heart of
what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

At CWY, we believe in the importance of creating a space for youth TODAY, helping to amplify their voices and knowledge, as well as furthering their capacity to lead NOW!

Through all our programs and initiatives, we seek to create a space for youth as facilitators, commentators, advisors, teachers, students and leaders. The incredible learning experiences offered through our programs also provide youth with the support and skills necessary to be leaders. Our Leadership Awards and Mentorship Program also demonstrate our work to recognize and support youth as leaders beyond their participation in our international programs.

We believe that youth, if given the opportunity and the skills, will take on positive leadership roles in all our communities, inspiring other youth to do the same! It is a fantastic, youth-led, ripple effect!

Our Approach to Partnerships

Working in partnership is a central element to all our programs and has been since our founding more than 40 years ago. We believe in the importance of working collectively to address the challenges facing our communities and our world. Our model depends on the input of our partners and community stakeholders in the creation, implementation and monitoring of all our programs and initiatives.

With the support of our partners, we are better able to adapt our programs and development initiatives to local realties due to a clearer understanding of the political complexities, history and realities that influence the potential for change and growth in our partner countries.

We have a great diversity of partners, including non-profit entities, educational institutions, government bodies and grassroots community organizations. This not only demonstrates our capacity to respond to the needs and interests of a multitude of stakeholders, but also shows our ongoing interest in improving our youth leadership programs and community-driven development projects.

Our Approach to Indigenous Partnerships

CWY actively partners with a number of Indigenous organizations and community representatives to recruit Indigenous youth into existing programs, to assist with the ongoing development of our Indigenous youth programming and to help ensure their relevance. CWY also works in collaboration with an advisory committee on Indigenous programming which ensures the effective integration of various peoples and communities into our programs and assists with the development, implementation and evaluation of our international Indigenous volunteer programs. This consultative process allows CWY programs to be more accessible and responsive to the needs and expectations of youth volunteers, and it also helps to ensure that the necessary support structures are in place to facilitate the success of Indigenous youth in our programs.

One example of a successful international partnership with indigenous peoples is our relationship with the local Maasai community in Tanzania. This collaboration provides our Indigenous youth volunteers with the unique opportunity to interact, exchange and work with an indigenous community in Africa.

We also partner with Indigenous communities in Canada, such as the community of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve and Rankin Inlet in Nunavut. These partnerships not only allow for the integration of overseas youth into an Indigenous community in Canada, but they also provide an opportunity for Indigenous youth from communities across Canada to become familiar with the people, traditions, programs and band management of another Indigenous community.

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