Since 1976, The Québec Association of International Cooperation Organizations (AQOCI) has aided in bridging different organizations together from 13 regions of Québec for the same mission. This is to promote international solidarity and human development. Today, AQOCI is helping 64 organizations reach their goals. It is doing this by supporting members, building strategic alliances and sharing work with members of government and the general public. In addition, AQOCI is unique in that it not only works within its own organization but also lends a helping hand to its associated organizations. The Québec Association of International Cooperation Organizations promotes solidarity and unity among all nations to create equality.
“Global education is a high priority for AQOCI,” explained AQOCI’S political analyst Denis Côté in an interview with The Borgen Project. In terms of global education, AQOCI uses public engagements such as events and activities to highlight issues relating to inequalities and gender rights, poverty, education and environmental sustainability. AQOCI takes pride in its many programs. These programs not only educate Québecers on issues but also creates advocacy at a national and international level.
Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (DFEG)
AQOCI’S Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (DFEG) program promotes concrete change for women. It does this by committing to ensuring greater consideration for women’s rights and equality by constantly creating new initiatives. Such initiatives include its 12 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women. The 12 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women is a campaign that runs from November 25 to December 6. Each year, it has a different topic that events and social media campaigns discuss. The topics have ranged from violence against women and migration to violence against women and climate change. According to Statistics Canada, half of all women in Canada have experienced one form of physical or sexual violence starting from the age of 16. Above all, this is a statistic AQOCI is working towards drastically lowering.
Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D)
Similarly, the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D) is a coalition that AQOCI is a member of that focuses on climate-related issues. C4D consists of a cluster of international development and environmental organizations. All of the organizations are working towards exchanging knowledge and implementing action plans regarding environmental challenges. In addition, Côté says that AQOCI has “lobbied the government for many years to try to create an ombudsman person position to investigate when Canadian companies especially mining companies, are accused of human rights violations and countries of the global south.” These types of actions help push forward coalitions such as the C4D agenda.
AQOCI focuses not only on the symptoms of poverty and inequality but also works on fixing the causes. In the future, AQOCI will continue to give “as much voice as we can to marginalized communities in the south,” says Côté. It will especially focus on women and Indigenous people. The Québec Association of International Cooperation Organizations promotes solidarity in all it does to help fight for those who cannot. When discussing what the public should expect from the future, Côté explained that AQOCI has begun to focus on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic-related initiatives from the organization will continue to work towards changing the world through collectivity.
– Jessica Barile