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Research Student Volunteer in Canada
Gender Equity & Co-operative Membership



WHERE: E-volunteer (Canada)
START DATE: Fall 2017/January 2018
DURATION: Six months to one year (6-12 months)
REPORTING TO: Andrea Kohut, Program Manager
DEADLINE: December 7, 2017


The INVEST Co-op program seeks to improve the economic well being of 70,000 small producers in Malawi, Peru, Mongolia and Indonesia. Through an integrated co-operative approach, the program will benefit producers by increasing production and productivity, increasing access to markets, and increasing access to financial services. The program will also focus on building the capacity of local co-operatives, and working with governments to create an enabling environment for co-operatives to do business. CDF Canada has extensive experience in all four countries and long term partnerships with many of the partner organizations that the program works with for implementation of the program. The program is funded by the Partnerships with Canadians for Innovations branch of Global Affairs Canada (GAC).



INVEST Co-op is committed to delivering gender equitable programming that fully reflects women’s and men’s abilities, practical needs, strategic interests and level of participation within farming and co-operative development as a whole. Nonetheless, women and men small producers’ gendered experiences of agricultural production and co-operative participation are markedly different and contextually specific.

Common issues of gender inequality that impact the livelihoods of men and women in rural areas around the world include: differences in levels of literacy and numeracy, gender stereotypes that portray women as “invisible farmers” or solely helpers to their spouses, differential access to and control over key resources necessary for production (including technical training), the inequitable gender division of labour (particularly the triple-burden of labour for women), barriers to accessing financial products and services, a lack of women’s participation in leadership roles, and gender- based violence, among others.

Active, equitable participation of members—both women and men—is necessary for sustainable co-operative development. Active participation in the co-operative context means that members are involved in all functions of co- operatives including planning, decision-making finance and management. Co-operative values are ones of self-help, mutual responsibility, equality and equity, but these values do not automatically translate into gender equality. Neither does providing equal opportunity for women lead to equally beneficial results. The differential impact of development initiatives on men and women must be acknowledged and addressed.



We are looking for a qualified graduate student to conduct research and draft a comparative study that examines the primary gender equity issues related to co-operative membership in Peru and Mongolia. The gender and cultural context in these countries is such that co-op membership is typically assigned to household heads, the majority of whom are men, as they are often seen as the legal representatives for their households and are the primary asset owners. Past attempts have been made to reassess membership policies to make them more equitable including individualized memberships within the same household, but these have been fraught with difficulties related to the gendered and cultural constraints mentioned. INVEST Co-op seeks to better understand how and to what extent gender equitable co- operative membership strategies and practices can be successfully implemented in order to facilitate women's equitable access to and use of membership opportunities.


The successful candidate will undertake the following activities:

  • Submit draft research proposal including but not limited to introduction, literature review, research questions, methodology, ethical considerations as well as proposed workplan and budget
  • Create a table of contents in collaboration with the Program Manager, Gender Equality Specialist and INVEST Co-op Partner staff
  • Possible attendance at a conference to present findings
  • Develop an information dissemination plan with relevant CDF Canada and Project staff, complete relevant dissemination activities
  • Draft a research paper
  • Incorporate any recommended edits and complete the paper, accompanied by a list of recommended strategic actions for consideration by the INVEST Peru and Mongolia teams
  • Provide a briefing on research findings


The successful applicant must possess the following skills, experiences and personal characteristics:

  • Intermediate to advanced Spanish
  • Completing or have completed a Masters degree or equivalent experience in International Development and/or Social Science (focus on gender/youth an asset)
  • Theoretical knowledge of gender equity preferably within the co-operative context,
  • Understanding of co-operatives and co-op principles, preferably in the international context
  • Experience with gender analysis and assessment in the collection of primary research data, experience with participatory methodologies an asset
  • Ability to work autonomously, be flexible and analytical
  • Sound writing experience (at least 3 years)
  • Experience with participatory approaches and methodologies an asset
  • Understanding of co-operatives or member-based business enterprises
  • Excellent analysis skills
  • Takes initiative, set goals, and manage time independently, while seeking guidance and direction from your manager
  • Preferably, knowledge of and experience in Latin America and Asia
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident



Please submit a resume and letter of intent by Monday November, 20th, 2017 to Volunteer Manager, Laurie Tennian at Successful candidates will be required to obtain a police check from their local police/RCMP detachment. No phone calls please. All applicants are thanked for their interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada) is an international development charity that helps improve the lives of women, men, children and their communities through co-operatives. We envision a world where self-reliant communities flourish. CDF Canada is working with local partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and in Eastern Europe to establish and grow community-owned co-operatives that help people achieve more prosperous, self-reliant lives.

For over 70 years, CDF has been mobilizing financial resources, volunteers and knowledge — mostly from Canadian co- ops and credit unions — to make the world a better place. For much of that time, CDF Canada worked with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and other partners to help communities move toward prosperity and create more secure lives through community-owned co-operatives. CDF and CCA amalgamated in 2017 under the CDF Canada brand and is at work with partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Canada.

For more information about CDF Canada, visit


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