Cheers and jeers for CIDA’s competitive funding mechanism

Canadian nongovernmental organizations are divided in their assessment of the funding mechanism Canada launched in 2010 as part of the country’s new development strategy, a recent study shows.

The Canadian International Development Agency adopted the Partners for Development Program in July 2010. It is a competitive funding mechanism that seeks proposals for assistance of up to 2 million Canadian dollars ($2 million). The competition is open to NGOs, universities and other groups interested in partnering with CIDA.

A survey conducted by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, an umbrella group of Canadian NGOs, showed that most of the network’s members are not happy with the mechanism and with how the actual process works. Some of these NGOs complained the new process forced them to spend more on the writing process, and at times, laying off staff because the approval process took too long, Embassy Mag reports.

Overall, CCIC said the ongoing competitions under the programs have so far been hit with delays and glitches. The group also noted that the program’s format favored larger NGOs. It also voiced concern over how the program evaluates applications based solely on the current proposal without considering an applicant’s past credentials.

But it’s not all criticism. Some groups surveyed by CCIC said they welcome the new funding mechanism because it is a more objective process.

Still, CCIC is urging the Canadian government to revisit the process. The group said it is also working with CIDA to address some of the program’s operation issues. A spokesperson for Minister for International Cooperation Beverley Oda, meanwhile, said CCIC’s report and recommendation will be reviewed.

“We continuously improved the call process since we launched the first call, in October 2010,” Justin Broekema told Embassy Mag. “We remain committed to ensuring our aid becomes more effective and we committed to consider each proposal based on its merit.”

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.