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IMPRIMER

Member Profile July-August 2015

CoDev

 

BCCIC

Kirsten Daub in San Salvador with ANDES Non-Sexist and Inclusive Pedagogy promoter Maria Eugenia Moreno.
Photo credit Nancy Knickerbocker.

This month, CCIC met with CoDev Acting Executive Director Kristen Daub, to talk about the importance of equitable and longstanding partnerships and the role of the new Sustainable Development Goals…among other things!

 

CCIC - You recently started your role as acting Executive Director. What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming year?

Kristen Daub - I’m really excited about working with new partners both in Canada and Latin America. CoDev has the privilege of working with organizations that are working for equality and justice, and it’s exciting to be part of that work and the changes these groups are creating. I am particularly looking forward to hosting representatives from our Latin American partners here in Vancouver, and taking delegations of Canadians to Latin America. It’s quite a feeling to see groups of people united by a common cause that transcends geographical borders, and feel you’re part of a movement that is making the world a more equitable place.

 

CCIC - Equitable partnerships are at the core of CoDev’s vision and work. Can you describe your partnership model and what makes this particular approach unique and effective?

Kristen Daub - CoDev fosters partnerships between organizations in Latin America and Canada who are working for social change on rights-based issues. Working primarily with civil society organizations in Latin America and public sector unions in Canada, we connect organizations working on common causes in the recognition that the struggle for positive social change is a global one, and that we are stronger when working together than in isolation.

CoDev has always taken the view that achieving social change is a long process, and therefore has always worked with a partnership model where we commit to working with an organization for a minimum of three years. In practise, our partnerships with organizations in Latin America have been very long-lasting; in fact, we have been working with some organizations for 30 years now! This has helped our Latin American partners tackle root causes of poverty and injustice, as they are able to count on long-term financial support. However, our model goes beyond providing financial assistance: our Latin American and Canadian partners collaborate on common causes, actively learn from one another through solidarity delegations and speaking tours, and collaborate on global campaigns for social justice. Our model is ultimately about fostering a global movement for global justice.

 

CCIC - Please tell us about one of your partners and the social justice work you are currently doing together.

Kristen Daub - CoDev works with several women’s rights organizations who seek to improve the working conditions of women in the maquila (manufacturing) sector. Our Latin American Partner CODEMUH (the Collective of Honduran Women) is a grassroots organization of women maquila workers who have long fought for better working conditions and improved legislation to protect workers’ safety and labour rights. Last year, CoDev took a delegation of union members to Honduras to learn about CODEMUH’s work on occupational health and safety in the maquila sector. Several delegation members asked CODEMUH what types of actions would be useful for them to take in solidarity with their work to improve safety standards for women working in the maquilas. CODEMUH asked that they seek ways to highlight problems workers experience in Canadian-owned maquilas, and so one member of that delegation has proposed that the Canadian Partners that support CODEMUH work together with CODEMUH to develop a strategy to influence some of the working conditions in a Canadian-owned maquila (a clothes manufacturer).

This work builds on an initial delegation in 2011 when CoDev took a group of labour lawyers who specialized in occupational health and safety to Honduras. Concerns were raised about working conditions in a Canadian-owned factory. CoDev is acting as a bridge between CODEMUH and CUPE and BCGEU to help them communicate with one another, strategize, and find effective ways to collaborate on making Canadians aware of the working conditions of women whose experiences on the job belie the company’s supposed commitment to corporate social responsibility. Public sector unions and workers in Canada share with CODEMUH a history of fighting for occupational health and safety, and collaborating on these types of issues is one of the great outcomes of our partnership model.

 

CCIC - The Sustainable Development Goals will be officially adopted in September. Do you see the SDGs having implications for your work?

Kristen Daub - The SDGs include some very ambitious and worthwhile objectives, and I think they have the potential to be used as a framework to call for meaningful change in how we as a sector approach issues of poverty, women’s rights, human rights, environmental sustainability and much more, both at a global level and here in Canada. I recently read that the UN released a report that criticizes Canada’s record on human rights here in our own home (See article above). With universality (that the SDGs apply to all countries, not just “developing” ones) being a key principle of the SDGs, we have a tool to call on our own government to address these important issues. 

 

CCIC - CoDev is a longstanding and engaged member of CCIC. Why is it important for CoDev to be a member of CCIC?

Kristen Daub - Being part of CCIC allows CoDev to have a role in shaping Canada’s approach to international cooperation; by participating in CCIC we are able to magnify our voice by joining it with those of hundreds of other organizations in Canada working on a diverse range of issues. By participating in CCIC we’re able to seek ways to have input in Canada’s international development policy, participate in Canada-wide campaigns, and collaborate with other organizations doing similar work. CCIC also offers us very high-calibre research and unique learning opportunities on issues that affect our sector.

 

 

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