CCIC monthly e-bulletin: January 2014                                                About CCIC     |     Contact Us
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT-CEO

 

In search of coherence and effectiveness

Julia SanchezMOn December 12th, 2013, we were pleased to partner with DFATD in putting together a knowledge-sharing event with civil society organizations in Canada on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and aid transparency more generally.

The former Canadian International Development Agency has made huge strides in terms of data transparency since it joined IATI in November 2011, and it should be congratulated for its ambitious plan and implementation schedule in terms of publishing to the IATI standard. We hope that this ambition will soon “rub off” on other Ministries in the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, as well as Finance Canada, who disburse important portions of Canada’s overall Official Development Assistance (ODA).

As part of its commitment to the open data / transparency movement, DFATD is hosting the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting in Montreal at the end of January and I will be attending that meeting. The IATI CSO working group, in which CCIC has participated in over the years, will hold a meeting prior to the TAG meeting too – and Fraser Reilly-King will represent CCIC in that meeting as well.

At CCIC we recognize that data transparency “is a necessary, but insufficient precondition, for effective development” as the North South Institute has noted in a recent report on Open Data. And that ultimately what data transparency has to lead us to is greater accountability – and we know that DFATD still has many challenges on this front, in particular with its openness around funding predictability. We also recognize that as Canadian civil society groups we can do more to support more open and transparent data, including moving towards publishing to the IATI standard ourselves. In 2014, CCIC plans to start the process to do just this, in the hopes that our experience and increased knowledge will allow us to support other CSOs that see value in the standard.

The workshop held on December 12th was a key opportunity for civil society organizations to enhance our understanding of what IATI is and what it is not, to identify some of the opportunities and remaining challenges it poses to us as a sector, and to explore possible next steps as a sector. A short report of the workshop can be found here.

Some of my key takeaways are:

    1. The prime objective for having a global standard is to provide access to comparable data to developing country governments and civil society groups in the Global South. This is an important objective and should be enough to convince us that the effort is worth looking into.
    2. In order for this objective to be met in any meaningful fashion, there needs to be a critical mass of donors (countries and multilaterals) and other international development actors (CSOs, private firms, etc.) reporting using a similar standard (so that developing country partners can compare oranges with oranges).
    3. The motivation for CSOs to publish data using the standard has to be clear and self-owned, otherwise the effort is prone to be given minimal effort or abandoned all together. The data seems to show that even though the overwhelming majority of CSOs that publish are in the UK, and DFID requires them to use the IATI standard as a funding condition, the volume of reporting is very low and probably restricted to what is minimally required and not what is useful.
    4. We must continue, in the context of this conversation as in others, to underscore our particular needs and interests. The IATI standard, and other data reporting requirements, needs to be adapted to CSOs’ specific needs and conditions to make this a success. A protocol to this effect has been developed under the auspices of the IATI CSO Working Group. This protocol should be endorsed by all CSOs in this process as well as by governments who want to work with CSOs in a constructive manner to enhance data transparency.
    5. In Canada, this issue might provide an opportunity for CSOs and DFATD to work constructively on a shared agenda – without the mandatory nature that Britain has chosen to follow, but rather by exploring the real benefits for CSOs in this process, including moving towards a DFATD reporting system that is based on the IATI standard, avoiding duplication of efforts and inefficient double reporting.

    In solidarity,

    Julia

    Do you have any reactions to this column? I’d like to hear about it! Please send any comments to Julia Sanchez.

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    NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SECTOR

    We want to know: How has the changing Canadian landscape impacted your organization?

    On January 16, CCIC and the Inter-Council Network have launched a survey to document the impact of the changing environment for Canadian international development organizations. The survey is an important follow-up to previous surveys conducted by the Councils in 2011 and 2012 in relation to the impact of the then new competitive funding mechanism under “Partnerships with Canadians Branch” (PWCB) at the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). While many of the impacts were known then, now two years later, it is very important for our community to be able to measure and report on the full impact of recent changes in CIDA/DFATD. Please make sure that your organization completes the survey by January 31. For more information, contact Fraser Reilly-King.

     

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    New Campaign: Protect the Aid Budget!

    On January 27, Engineers without Borders and others organizations, including CCIC, launched a campaign asking the federal government to protect the aid budget in the next federal budget – expected to be tabled around February 10 this year – and to make sure that all funds allocated to foreign aid are spent for that purpose. In 2012-2013, $370 million was cut from Canada’s aid budget, including $290 million in unspent aid money that was returned to the Treasury Board. This money was meant to support foreign aid efforts and could have made an impact in the lives of millions of people living in poverty, but instead went back to government coffers, which we think is unacceptable. To sign the petition and share messages on the campaign, visit the Campaign’s site. We are hoping for thousands of signatures before the budget is tabled!

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    Valentine’s Day Campaign: Show your love to CCIC!

    ince 1968, as the only national network of international development organizations, CCIC has harnessed the energy and expertise of Canadian civil society organizations (CSO) in the fight to end global poverty. We are proud of our members, who work on the frontlines of social and economic justice, humanitarian aid and democratic development, both in Canada and overseas. We are also thankful for the significant financial contribution they make to the organization, which has been instrumental in allowing CCIC to continue to thrive, after losing all government support in 2010. But we need to further consolidate our funding base in order to look forward to a sustainable future . One of our new initiatives in this sense is reaching out to our supporters and allies in the general public with a request for support. So starting this Valentine’s Day, we are asking individuals who believe in the importance of our work to show their love for CCIC by donating to the organization. Please let everybody know about this initiative and visit our homepage where you will find the DONATE button and more information on this mini-campaign!

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    EDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

    On Noveed!

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    The Anti-terrorism Act, and its implications for international development work

    On November 6th, 2013, The Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), and Peacebuild, organized a one-day discussion forum for Canadian NGOs. The purpose of the event was to enhance understanding of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), particularly the process of listing terrorist entities, and the implications and possible risks associated with intentional or unintentional interactions with those entities. During the one day discussion forum co-sponsored by the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) and the Fragile States Research Network (FSRN) of the University of Ottawa, civil society organizations interacted with charity lawyers and recent CIDA and DFAIT civil servants to better understand the AA and its impacts on organizations working internationally in development, humanitarian and peacekeeping. One of the key takeaways includes the need for Canadian CSOs to work with others to create a standardized due diligence guidelines.  If your organization would like to be part of these follow-up activities, please contact Julia Sanchez.

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    New member of the Policy Team at CCIC

    Stacey Gomez began her role as interim Coordinator of CCIC’s Americas Policy Group in November. Through various organizations, Stacey has played an active role in campaigns calling for aid effectiveness and corporate accountability. Stacey holds an MA in Development Studies at York University. Her MA research examines the impacts of resource extraction conflict on the lives of Indigenous women in Guatemala. She can be reached at sgomez@ccic.ca.

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    Trade at the expense of human rights?

    Trade at the expense of Human RightsThe Americas Policy Group and Common Frontiers issued an open letter condemning the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement, signed on November 5, 2013. The lack of democratic and legal guarantees in Honduras – as well as the levels of repression and impunity – is highly troubling. In such a context, Hondurans can neither question the impact of trade and investment on their lands and livelihoods, nor reap the benefits of any potential economic growth. Until there is a verifiable improvement in the country’s democratic governance and human rights situation, the Canada-Honduras FTA is poised to do more harm than good.  Instead of amplifying trade and investment in Honduras, Canada should be using its leverage in a positive manner, calling on Honduran authorities to take immediate measures to halt the intimidation, arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances, torture and killings of individuals and groups; and to fully restore freedom of expression so that journalists, opposition parties and critics can safely express dissenting opinions.

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    Latest news from the Africa Canada Forum

    Over the past two months, regional meetings were held in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, as well as in Quebec City, with current and potential members of the Africa Canada Forum (ACF). The purpose of these meetings was to introduce the new ACF coordinator, Kimberly MacMillan, to the members and to consolidate information collected to create the 2014 ACF work plan. ACF has launched a new bimonthly bulletin to inform members on the activities of the working group. It will profile organizations, announce ACF events and publications, and share publications, research and articles on issues of interest. The aim of the bulletin is to strengthen the ACF network through information sharing. To subscribe to the ACF bulletin, you can contact Kimberly MacMillan.

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    October 29 webinar on the Human Rights Challenge for Ethnic Minorities in China: Examples from Eastern Turkestan, Mongolia, and Tibet

    Three of the largest minority groups - the Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians - have maintained a decades-long struggle for increased autonomy or political control over their territories and cultural traditions, and efforts by the Government of China to limit and control these struggles have resulted in wide-ranging human rights violations. Kayum Masimov (Uyghur Canadian Society), Enghebatu Togochog (Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center), Tashi Wangdi (Member of the Tibetan Government's task force for negotiations with the Government of China) and Alex Neve (Amnesty International Canada) provided their insights on the human rights challenges facing these minorities. This webinar discussion was co-sponsored by Amnesty International Canada, the Canada Tibet Committee, the Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, and the Uyghur Canadian Society with the collaboration of the Asia-Pacific Working Group. The recording of this webinar is available on request by contacting Denis Côté.

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    Québec National Assembly adopts a unanimous motion asking federal government to launch calls for proposals

    Québec FlagOn October 31, in support for the work being done by the Association québécoise des organismes de cooperation international (AQOCI) and its members, the Québec National Assembly presented a motion asking the federal government to stop inaction and launch the much awaited calls for proposal for Volunteer Sending Agencies (VSAs) and other international development programs. The motion was supported by all parties. A few weeks later, Minister of International Development Christian Paradis announced a one year extension of the current contribution agreement with VSAs while the government reviews the program; an announcement that was welcomed by thousands of Canadian volunteers working overseas and their partner organizations.

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    Fifth ODA Accountability Act Report up, ODA spending down

    Several weeks after it was tabled in Parliament, the government has posted the Fifth Report on the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act. Because the Report covers the previous fiscal year, 2012-13, the reporting still separates DFAIT and CIDA (both in terms of activities and spending). The report gives an early glance at aid spending for FY2012-13 ahead of the March ODA Statistical Report. In short, ODA dropped by 3% from $5.51 billion in FY2011/12 to $5.35 billion in FY2012/13 (cf. 5.49 billion in FY2010/11), and less than the 3.6% drop to the International Assistance Envelope announced in Budget 2012. However, in terms of real ODA (ODA minus Canadian debt cancellation, the first year of supporting refugees from developing countries in Canada, and the costs of developing country students studying in Canada), the drop was double that - from $5.02 to $4.71 billion, a decline of $310 million or 6.2%. Much of this drop was due to under-spending existing budget lines by CIDA.  In fact, the Agency’s spending is down by almost $479 million to $3.45 billion compared to at $3.93 billion in FY2011/12 (a peak in CIDA spending), and $3.58 billion in FY2010/11. The government’s five thematic priorities (food security, growth, children and youth, advancing democracy and security and stability) have also been more readily integrated in the reporting with the top four aid allocators (CIDA, Finance, DFAIT and IDRC) reporting against them. Finance has also aligned the release of its report on activities at the World Bank and IMF (previously due in March 2013) with the release of the ODAAA report, although this report was only issued in early December.

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    Canada still absent in defining post-2015 agenda

    Canada needs to be more proactive in setting the post-2015 agenda, the successor to the Millennium Development Goals, was a key conclusion at an event in mid-November of United Nations and development experts co-hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), The North-South Institute and the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies. While panelist and UN Development Program Special Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda Olav Kjørven lauded Canada for its work around maternal newborn and child health, he said that Canada has been seen, but not heard, at many post-2015 meetings, holding back on its proposals for what the post-2015 framework should contain. CCIC President-CEO Julia Sanchez focused on the role the civil society should play in any post-2015 framework, citing the experience CCIC has had in working through the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, a multi-stakeholder forum in which civil society has a permanent seat at the table. Starting in March, the UN will begin drafting a set of goals to be completed by September 2014 ahead of the UN General Assembly.

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    Global report to focus on partnership

    On the periphery of the European Development Days, the Reality of Aid (RoA) network held its global meeting to discuss plans for the 2014 biennial report on “Partnerships for the eradication of poverty and inequality” and the post-2015 framework. Building on a hugely successful report on Aid and the Private Sector in 2012, RoA will use the backdrop of the changing global development landscape and the looming post-2015 development framework to explore three things : the principles and practices that can guide future partnerships at the global and national level; how partnerships are changing in the context of South-South Cooperation, public private partnerships and a changing relationship between southern and northern civil society; and the space and role for inclusive rights-based partnerships in a post-2015 framework. CCIC is Vice-Chair of the Network and the Coordinator for non-European OECD countries.dividing line

    Petition to maintain the International Youth Internships Programs alive

    Petition A number of organizations and individuals have been mobilizing in the past few months for the survival of the International Youth Internships Programs (IYIP and IAYI) at DFATD, whose current funding is ending in March 2014. These programs have received highly positive reviews and evaluations over the years, and have proven to be an effective –and cost-effective!- way to increase employability among young Canadian professionals, while contributing to building capacities of local partners. Past interns have created a petition asking for the program to be renewed, and we invite you to sign it and circulate it in your networks!

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    Coalition Profile: Halifax Initiative

    (To advance its policy agenda, support existing networks and have a greater impact, CCIC is involved in many coalitions. Each month we will be featuring one of them in Flash! so that you can get involved with them too.)

    Halifax Initiative Halifax InitiativeHalifax Initiative

    Halifax Initiative is a coalition of development, environment, labour, human rights and faith groups deeply interested in the international financial system and its institutions. The Halifax Initiative was formed in December 1994, in the context of an international movement of non-governmental organizations focused on evaluating the role and record of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs, namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) at the time of their 50th Anniversary. Canadian NGOs formed the Halifax Initiative (HI) to ensure that demands for fundamental reform of the international financial institutions were high on the agenda of the G7's 1995 Halifax Summit. Since 1994, the Halifax Initiative has worked through research, education, advocacy and alliance-building in an effort to fundamentally transform the international financial system and its institutions to achieve poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and an equitable re-distribution of wealth.

    Over the past two decades, the coalition has focused on the Tobin Tax and the Financial Transactions Tax, structural adjustment policies and conditionalities of the World Bank, sovereign debt, the G20, export credit agencies, environmental policies and corporate accountability. In recent years, HI has focused increasingly on climate financing, tax justice and access to justice issues, moving away from a traditional focus on the IFIs. In October, it participated in the launch of the “Open for Justice” campaign, and in December, organized a seminar on tax justice with experts from around the world. CCIC is a member of the Halifax Initiative and sat on its Coordination Committee until 2011.

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    MEMBER PROFILE: Equitas

    Equitas IHRTP

    Mouse over to view the IHRTP group in the 80s and today


    This month CCIC had a dynamic discussion with EQUITAS Executive Director, Ian Hamilton. Ian told us about the early days of the organization, the annual International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) and a workshop manual on human rights-based approach and equitable partnerships developed by EQUITAS in collaboration with Coady and CCIC... among other things!


    CCIC - Can you tell us about the context that gave birth to EQUITAS in 1967?

    Equitas was established at a time when international human rights standards were little known in Canada.  Human rights were not part of the curriculum of schools and universities (even Law Faculties).  The Ontario Human Rights Commission had just been set-up, but other provinces and the federal government would not follow suit until much later.  At the international level, the UN had just adopted the two international covenants on civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, but the human rights discourse was still very new and, in Canada, tended to focus exclusively on civil and political rights.

    The catalyst for setting up the organization was the arrival at McGill University of one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, John Humphrey. In 1967, a group of engaged Montrealers joined with Mr. Humphrey to establish an organization to meet the need for Canadians to learn about human rights - the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (as Equitas was originally named).  The name was changed to Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education in 2004 to reflect our emergence as an organization working worldwide, but still focused on the role of human rights education in bringing about positive social change.

    Read the full interview...

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    CCIC MEMBERS IN ACTION

    WUSC/CECI 2013 International Forum

    International ForumNovember 1-3rd saw the 2013 International Forum co-organized by WUSC and CECI. This three-day forum brought together over 450 participants including representatives from NGOs, government, academia, and students from across the country and around the world to discuss the “Great Development Debates.” The event focused on a wide range of issues, including gender issues with refugee populations, finding market solutions for the poor, addressing food insecurity through small-scale farming vs. GMOs, and the portrayal of poverty in fundraising campaigns. The event included an awards gala to celebrate outstanding Canadians in international development, lively debates and panel discussions, and a student-led debate exploring youth perspectives on the future of development.

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    Farm Radio International featured in the New York Times

    In Tanzania farmers reap the benefits of radioAn article was recently published in the New York Times entitled “In Tanzania, Farmers Reap the Benefits of Radio”. The article featured FRI’s work with small-scale private farmers of Africa, particularly in Tanzania, where farmers represent 75 percent of the country’s population of 48 million. Today, FRI runs programs in 38 radio stations to deliver agricultural knowledge across seven African countries.

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    WORTH A LOOK

    New CCIC Report: Two Years on from Busan: Looking Back, Looking Forward

    In late 2011, political leaders, government representatives, civil society organizations, and private sector representatives met in Busan, South Korea for the Fourth High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4). The importance of the Istanbul Principles, Equitable Partnerships, and Human Rights-Based Approaches (HRBA) were all highlighted at the forum, but how have these agreements and priorities impacted civil society organizations? Two years after Busan, CCIC and InterAction (USA) collaborated on a survey to see how their members have responded to these issues, as well as emerging issues around the Enabling Environment for civil society in North America and abroad. A report of findings from this survey has already informed the development of CSO training modules on Equitable Partnerships and HRBA and will be shared at the global level with the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in the spring of 2014. We hope this report will also support Canadian CSOs in articulating “next steps” on these important issues. You can find the whole report here.

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    Great overview of private sector and development debates

    The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness has produced a comprehensive backgrounder that provides an overview of recent key papers on the issue of aid, development and the private sector. From these, the backgrounder distills the new approaches donors are taking to the private sector, modalities they are using to engage the private sector, and key areas where donors are falling short. Essential reading for anyone interested in these issues.

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    Open data, transparency and international development

    A summary report of a meeting convened by The North-South Institute in October, 2013, was released recently. Panelists discussed the importance of open data and transparency in relation to Canada’s development objectives, the changing open government narrative, challenges in delivering on transparency, and lessons learned from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) experience. In November, a number of organizations also launched www.aidtransparency.ca, a virtual hub for discussion on aid transparency issues.

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    Canada Climate Opinion 2013

    Canada Climate Opinion 2013At the beginning of November, Canada 2020/Université de Montréal released its National Survey of Canadian Opinion on Climate Change. Among other things, it found that 84% of Canadians strongly or somewhat believe the federal government should take the lead on combating climate change; 76% of Canadians strongly or somewhat believe Canada should sign an international climate agreement, even if it means doing so before China and the U.S.; and 71% of Canadians believe that protecting the environment should be a top priority for the Conservative federal government.

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    “Leadership in Fair Trade”: upcoming conference and magazine

    The Canadian Fair Trade Network is organizing its 2nd Annual Conference in Toronto, from January 9-11, 2014. The CFTN conference will bring together those interested in, and working in, fair trade in Canada. It will be a meeting of businesses, NGOs and advocates of fair trade. The event is free of charge. For more information and how to register, please go here. Also, fair trade promoters and supporters can get a hold of the newest edition of the Fair Trade magazine, a publication created by CFTN: free copies can be ordered here.

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    Get Involved!

    Get Involved

    Oxford University Press Canada recently released 'Get Involved', a website aimed at increasing student knowledge of, and involvement in, Canadian political processes, linked to the release of the seventh edition of Stephen Brooks’ “Canadian Democracy”.


     

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    No need to dig - Africa (The Economist)

    An article released by The Economist titled No need to dig, highlights a study released by the International Monetary Fund, which reveals that many of Africa’s fastest growing economies have not relied on oil or mining. The study followed six African countries that met indicators related to GDP growth and GDP per capita. The findings highlighted that stable and purposeful policy making helped these countries grow because they took steps in the 1990’s to control public finances and curb inflation. The study determined that all six countries are better governed, have less corruption, have better bureaucrats, enjoy more stable politics and are better regulated than their African peers. As a result, the climate for private business has improved. And, all six countries have been supported through reliable aid flows (in the form of grants and cheep loans) and more FDI than their other African counterparts. And, finally debt relief has helped to! It’s interesting to see evidence of countries growing their economies outside the reliance on resource extraction and exports.

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    New report highlights more than 400 threats to civil society around the world

    A new report released by CIVICUS reveals a pattern of sustained attacks on civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world. CIVICUS has tracked 413 threats to civil society in 87 countries since the beginning of 2012. Worryingly the report shows that several governments are attempting to weaken civil society organisations by enacting laws which prevent them from accessing the funding they need to survive and prevent them from conducting legitimate activities involving expressions of democratic dissent.

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    Evaluation conducted by the Government of Canada on the impact of cooperatives in development confirms positive results

    During the International Year of Cooperatives, the Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (now part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada) wished to contribute to a better understanding of the cooperative model on development. Consequently, it carried out a wide-ranging evaluation that shed light on the impact of cooperatives around the world and on the factors underlying their success. To conduct the evaluation, the Government of Canada called on three of the major Canadian organizations involved in promoting cooperatives in the field of international development, Développement international Desjardins (DID), the Société de coopération pour le développement international (SOCODEVI) and the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA). The results of this study clearly highlight the positive impact that cooperatives can have on reducing poverty. This is private sector in action in favor of development!

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    Kids Go Global

    Kids Go GlobalKids Go Global is a web-based platform that connects school children with NGOs to foster global citizenship. You have the opportunity to market your projects directly to youth and build a relationship with them using your existing educational materials, YouTube clips and newsletter or blog articles.  This is a new initiative between the Rozsa Foundation, Trickster Theatre and NGOs like yours.  There is no cost to you – the goal is to help you connect with students to raise funding for your projects. 

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    IDRC invites applications for its Canadian Partnerships Small Grants

    IDRC
    IDRC invites applications for its 2013-2014 Small Grants for Innovative Research and Knowledge Sharing. Provided through the Canadian Partnerships program, these grants support research, knowledge-building, and knowledge-sharing projects. They also fund events and small dissemination activities and products. These grants are open to local, regional, national, and international organizations, incorporated and headquartered in Canada that produce or share knowledge for development. Individuals may not apply. Organizations new to IDRC are encouraged to apply. The deadline is January 6th, 2013. 

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    If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Chantal Havard. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.