There is growing interest amongst Canadians, and especially members of the Canadian Tamil diaspora, in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organizations in Sri Lanka. is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Its mission is to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from remittance to knowledge-based economy. It currently operates in Canada and Germany.

The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.

Partner Description

The Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) Sri Lanka works at a grass root level towards the empowerment and spiritual development of women and children. CORD has taken an initiative to form Self Help Groups (SHGs) to provide essential leadership to bring about the socio-economic development of marginalized and conflict-affected families, especially among women-headed households. Through these SHGs, women are continuously empowered, guided, and monitored by CORD towards setting up long-term sustainable livelihoods. Women are encouraged to commence their desired livelihood projects through the support of CORD in terms of providing relevant skills and interest-free loans. For more information, please visit

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Support the mission of CORD to facilitate home gardening systems and thus promote healthy food consumption, food security, and family income generation among women-led households.
  • Develop a viable practical home garden cropping system to ensure year-round yields of specific crops.
  • Train women to use organic manure/compost and alternate pest-control methods to minimize the use of chemical pesticides.
  • Promote the correct modes of post-harvesting and processing techniques to minimize waste of produce.
  • Work alongside the groups of selected female participants as well as CORD’s team of dedicated field officers to supervise, support, and ensure the sustainability of this home gardening systems initiative.
  • Accomplish all relevant work towards achieving the organizational goal of having 60% of participating households adopt the home gardening model, to be successfully replicated among other participant groups in the future.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/ considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.


  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma, and experience in Agricultural Science, Agronomy, Agribusiness, Environmental Studies, Resource Economics, or related disciplines.
  • Excellent presentation, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Approaches challenges with curiosity, not judgement.
  • Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.  
  • Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
  • Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.  
  • Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble, and embrace opportunities to grow personally.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications:

  • Currently in or recently completed graduate degree or postgraduate diploma in Agricultural Science, Agronomy, Agribusiness, Environmental Studies, Resource Economics, or related disciplines.
  • Previous fieldwork experience in similar projects.
  • Related professional work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about’s work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival.
  • Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing in Canada after completion of assignment.
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or Germany between the ages of 25 – 40. Older applicants also welcome.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).