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 non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in Sri Lanka. is a Canadian 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.

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 four-week period on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.

Partner Description

Founded in 1982 by a small group of feminist researchers and activists, the Women’s Education and Research Centre aims to increase women’s awareness, resources, and opportunities for effective participation in the economic, political, and social life of the country.  It strives to combat violence and discrimination against women and children on all levels – political, social, religious, and economic – and to fight for comprehensive change in all spheres of social life.

WERC received financial support and funding from various organisations. We are a non-profit organisation and self-sustainability is at times a major problem. Therefore, continuous support from outside organisations is needed and the need to identify and engage new donor and sponsoring partners to continue the organization’s important work. For more information, please visit

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Identify, write, and submit highly customized grant applications and supporting documents for governments, multilateral NGOs, foundations and high net worth donors.
  • Develop compelling written proposals across education, international development, and social enterprise sectors.
  • Communicate with programming teams/departments regularly to gather relevant information about programs and impacts to be able to address the interests of donors in proposals and other special projects, as well as updates to status of pending applications.
  • Conduct comprehensive research of funder interests and objectives.
  • Work closely with management and staff on the creation and delivery of prospect proposals and lead generation and management tools and processes.


  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in International Development Studies, Business, Marketing, or related disciplines.
  • Minimum two years experience in grant writing and proposal development or similar.
  • Quick learner with a demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively when developing partnership opportunities.
  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • 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 International Development Studies, Business, Marketing, or related disciplines.
  • Previous experience with non-profit fundraising.
  • Knowledge of government and multilateral granting requirements.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered by (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 and briefing upon arrival in-country.
  • 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 Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada between the ages of 25 – 40.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, police checks, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations) – approximately $1,500.