During International Development Week CESO Honours the Work of its Volunteers
February 4, 2009
Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO)
Toronto – CESO is a leading international development organization whose volunteers make Canada proud.
Volunteer involvement is essential to international development, and International Development Week (IDW) is a time for CESO to recognize the overseas work of its Volunteer Advisers (VA). For over 40 years, these volunteers, selfless men and woman, have been building capacity by sharing their talents in developing countries and emerging market economies around the world as part of Canada’s role in reducing poverty and raising standards of living.Founded in 1967, CESO VAs work in Canada and overseas, tirelessly completing an average of 1500 assignments annually. While on assignment, they serve as ambassadors and proudly represent Canada.
David Bingham, a CESO VA and professor at Centennial College in Toronto traveled to the Philippines to help municipal employees computerize what was a paper system of business licenses issuance. His assignment was part of CESO’s e-governance project, aimed at reducing license issuing times and increasing the municipal government’s efficiency. Small businesses are of vital importance to any community and an important aspect of economic development.
CESO’s international services programs, including its e-governance work, are primarily funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), while the bulk of its work in Canada is funded by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). CESO also received funding from the Government of Nunavut, numerous corporations, and scores of individuals interested in development.
Without this funding, VA Jacques Latulippe couldn’t have traveled to Burkina Faso, where he worked with members of a micro-credit cooperative which serves 5,000 low-income entrepreneurs. During the assignment, the Quebec resident met with women involved in the food service industry. These women would prepare large quantities of local dishes in their home and sell them on street corners for $0.25 to $1.00. They already have the entrepreneurial spirit needed to foster economic development. What the VA provided was training on cooking methods, hygiene, standardization of dishes, time management, customer service, control of production costs and selling prices, and quality control.
Similarly, Horst Plaster left his North Vancouver home and traveled to Russia at the request of a client that operates a bakery facility and distributes its baked goods to four company-owned cafés. VA Plaster was asked to assist in areas of HR management, service quality and financial monitoring. He developed job descriptions for several key positions and established a chain of command. He introduced and documented marketing ideas, and trained waiters and barmen to provide quality service. VA Plaster developed a sample financial statement and proposed food, beverage and product freshness control systems. The client has already experienced concrete results and improvement in company operations as a whole and in staff performance.
This kind of basic training for small and medium sized enterprises is vital as it will have long-lasting development results for individuals and their families which will spread out to the larger community. Indeed, another essential element of economic development is ensuring that proper infrastructures are in place.
A call to help with water management motivated VA Jacob Dick, a highly skilled engineer, to travel to Honduras to work with the City of Santa Rosa De Copan. After an analysis of operations, he made several recommendations that resulted in improved water filtration, septic and drainage facilities, and the ability to provide sufficient clean water. The City, with a population of about 30,000, now has potable water. Some of the water treatment plant equipment is getting old and needs replacement and VA Dick is helping the municipality locate and specify the proper equipment.
VA Robert de Chancenotte went on assignment at the request of a not-for-profit organization that works in conjunction with state authorities to promote sustainable development in Armenia. The organization promotes the cultivation and collection of medicinal plants as an additional source of income for the poorer populations. VA de Chancenotte helped develop an export marketing strategy and provided research on an international customer base for the plant products.
In each case, the client was satisfied with the service provided and went on to improve their operations. The assistance provided by CESO VAs contributes to economic development and the improvement of living standards for countless individuals.
Interestingly, while CESO VAs help with international development by transferring their skills and knowledge overseas, they also receive so much in return. The rewards of volunteering motivate our VAs to continue their commitment to CESO and its partners.
Look to CESO’s Web site at www.ceso-saco.com for information on programs and volunteering opportunities.
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Contacts for media:
416-961-2376 or 1-800-268-9052, ext. 253
jmarchese @ ceso-saco.com (no spaces)