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Financial Strategic Planning Advisor

6 Month | Start Date between Jul - Sep 2017


Location Bogotá, Colombia

Start Date Jul - Sep 2017 (flexible)

Length of Placement 6 Months

Language Requirements Spanish

Spanish Reading: Level 3, Writing: Level 3, Speaking: Level 3

Language Scale: http://www.cusointernational.org/languageratingscale


Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents only


The Volunteer’s Role


Cuso International Colombia is looking for a volunteer like you to support our partner organization at a very critical moment. You'll be a crucial part in designing and implementing strong strategic and financial plans that will support its sustainability in both the short and long terms.

Located in the heart of Bogotá's historical district, La Candelaria, the Escuela Taller offers 100 scholarships a year in three academic streams - construction, carpentry and cuisine to students from some of Bogotá's poorest and most marginalized neighborhoods. For a number of years the institution was financially supported by the Spanish Cooperation, AECID, and today receives funding from the Ministry of Culture to promote technical education aligned with traditional trades. The remainder of its operational costs come from other sources, such as offering continuing educational courses or in-kind resources (wood, materials, etc.).

As a volunteer, you will work alongside the staff of Escuela Taller in creating a sustainable model that reduces dependency as well as risk, and prioritizes financial and strategic institutional planning. This could include producing or editing basic tools to support cost projections, budgeting, and management of financial and in-kind support. This exercise should take place alongside exercises to support strategic planning in the institution.  

For several years, the institution has been looking to diversify its funding sources and reduce costs to support the sustainability of the institution. This is even more important now that the Escuela Taller has been selected to be part of a pilot being carried out in Colombia to accredit trades and technical education institutions at a higher level, to support the credentials of technical education.


As a volunteer, you will:

-Evaluate current financial acumen of Escuela Taller staff and their financial planning needs, identifying capacity gaps and areas to work towards; this will be the basis of your work plan.

- Work with the Directors to develop sound financial processes for budgeting and managing expenditure.

- Walk the Directors through a strategic planning exercise, supporting them to identify needs, prioritize opportunities, define roles and build their confidence to manage the institution.

- As part of these two learning process, help the directors identify where they can/cannot reduce costs, how they could grow, and capitalize on their pilot opportunity.

Essential Academic Qualifications:

University degree in business, finance or related field with years of relevant experience.

Essential Professional Background:

- Three + years’ experience in developing financial management systems

- Experience working with small teams in financial planning

- Strong abilities to establish procedures and teach the basics about financial cycles

- Previous support to managers or strategic planning process

- Ability to work as a team player in group settings (diplomacy, tact, patience)

- Capacity for critical analysis

- Gender sensitivity and intercultural tolerance


About Our Partner


Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá

The mission of Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá (Trade School Foundation of Bogota) or FETB is to provide Colombian youth from vulnerable communities, ages 18-25, with job training in traditional trades such as carpentry, culinary arts, handmade paper and construction. In additional to this capacity building, the organization seeks to empower students by enhancing their self-awareness, autonomy and self-determination. By doing this, FETB hopes to better enable youth participation and employment in their communities. The overarching vision of the foundation is to provide youth with skills and opportunities that empower them and that will positively affect production, cultural preservation and regional stability.

Vision: By 2015, the FETB will be a focal point of support for more than 500 students and alumni, who will have been able to:

  • re-establish their connection with, and support for their society, instilled with a vision that they can support their locality;
  • rediscover the value of peace with others and their surroundings;
  • feel secure in themselves and what they do, and how this contributes to building peace.
  • grow with confidence in themselves, and be self-sustainable.
  • understand that they can support themselves through formal work.

By 2020, Colombian society will have learned from the student successes of the Escuela Taller - that individuals who receive integral support and education, can help build a more peaceful society, not only as productive producers and formal workers, but as individuals part of a human community.

Cuso International Colombia will be working with the Area for Entrepreneurship Development, in charge of the monitoring and design of new ventures and projects of FETB. It has three areas: Cooperation, New Schools, and Communications. It’s formed by 7 people, the coordinator and the leaders per area and their support staff.


Terms and Conditions


Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.


Support Package

- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)

- Accommodation while in placement

- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs

- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance

- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation

- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend

- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer

- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return

- Cuso International assessment day (Candidates must cover the first $200 of the most cost-effective travel expenses and all accommodation costs).

- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation



We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.



Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or Cuso International before or after the field placement. Volunteers also have the option of requesting support from an e-volunteer to help them with their work while they are in placement.


Residency and Citizenship  



The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.

We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for assessment and training, as applicable.



Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.

By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to an assessment day, training course, international placement or other Cuso International related travel.

You  must  check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:

  • Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.
  • Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.