Leave for Change

Douglas Keddy helped build communications and marketing capacity at a college in Hanoi, Vietnam.

** Note: Program is not currently open for applications

Program Overview

L4C is a volunteerism program that brings the world to your workplace. Employees gain experience, exposure to social/development issues and take a key role in showing how we are making a difference internationally.

The program enables two staff annually to transform their vacation into a three- or four-week volunteer assignment in one of 10 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Volunteers contribute skills and advice to local partner organizations with the support of a team of professionals in the host country. Employees contribute by using their vacation time to serve on assignment in a developing country; the university invests in the employee by matching costs shared with external partners.

Quick Facts About L4C at Western


  • The L4C Program is open to all full-time staff at Western who have at least one year full-time service. To see if there is a mandate that matches your knowledge and skill set, check out current positions.

*If there is no mandate on the website that corresponds to your expertise, we still encourage you to apply and tell us what professional skills/expertise you could contribute through a L4C experience. We will work together to identify potential matches.

#2: FREE

  • All you need to contribute is your vacation time - the cost of participating (transportation, accommodation, vaccinations etc.) is covered through an agreement between Western and the Leave for Change program.


  • Postings are between 3-4 weeks in length. The date of the mandate depends both on times you are available and the needs of the organization with which you will be partnering overseas.


  • L4C offers volunteer experiences in 10 different countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Where you go depends on the professional skills  you can offer, priority areas, your interest and language skills.


What Do I Do As A Volunteer With Leave for Change?

Leave for Change Assignments

  • L4C offers volunteer experiences in 10 different countries in Africa (Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana, Malawi, Mali), Asia (Vietnam, Nepal) and the Americas (Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala).
  • Positions are posted on the Leave for Change website.

During the Assignment

  • Volunteers are greeted at the airport and receive lodging and a daily stipend for food
  • Each volunteer works with a local partner organization in a developing country
  • Volunteers build their partner’s capacity in a specific ongoing project
  • Volunteers act in the role of advisors and work closely with a few members of the partner organization to transfer their skills

After the Assignment: Public Engagement

  • The Leave for Change program experience does not end when volunteers go home; the second phase is public engagement after their return
  • The goal of public engagement is to raise the Canadian public’s awareness of development issues and motivate them to take action
  • Examples: presentations to colleagues, publishing an article in a magazine or a newspaper, blog postings, photos, etc.
  • In general, volunteers create their own public engagement activities
  • Public engagement activities take place at work and in the community
  • Each volunteer prepares a personalized public engagement plan during the pre-departure orientation; this tool helps them plan public engagement activities upon their return to Canada
  • Leave for Change supports volunteers with their activities, but they have to be proactive and create their own public engagement activities

How do I apply for Leave for Change?

The program is open to all full-time Western staff who meet the eligibility criteria.

Application process:

  • Candidates must be eligible to leave on vacation or approved leave of absence and must include written approval from their supervisor and AVP/Dean in their application
  • Complete the application form and attach your resume
  • Please list your top three choices in the list of Leave for Change postings and briefly explain how these postings match your skills. If you do not see a position that matches your skill set, please consider skills and knowledge you have (e.g., facilitation & training, additional languages you speak, areas of expertise) and apply anyway! If you are selected for an interview, the Leave for Change program manager will provide you with additional information about possible positions that match your skills and experience
  • Mention in your application form or resume any volunteer experience and other training or skills not directly linked to your current job

Eligibility criteria

  • Must be a regular full-time staff of Western who has at least one year of full-time service
  • Candidates must be eligible to leave on vacation or approved leave of absence and must receive prior written approval from their supervisor and supported by the appropriate AVP or Dean
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Have no criminal record (funder requirement)
  • Be in good health – to be eligible to our insurance program for short-term volunteers
  • Undertake a volunteer mandate with a partner organization in one of the 10 Uniterra countries
  • Participate in a two day pre-departure orientation session (during a weekend)
  • Upon return share your experience with your colleagues and the Canadian public in collaboration with the Leave for Change team

Need more information?

Past Participants

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