CIDA slashes funding for church-based NGOs

The Canadian International Development Agency has announced it will be cutting two-thirds of a Catholic development organization’s $49.2 million funding request. Another Kairos?

On Feb. 8, CIDA told Development and Peace, the official international development group of Canada’s Catholic Church, that it will provide the organization only $14.5 million for the next five years. This is 70 percent lower than the group’s funding request.

News of the reduced funding has prompted the group’s national council to cut 26 percent of its budget for the next fiscal year, the Embassy reports. The budget reduction means there would be fewer projects in the developing world, including in Africa, where the group says it “has always had a significant presence.”

Dennis Gruending, a Canadian writer and former member of parliament, said the NGO is just the latest church-based organization to “get the back of the hand from the Conservative government.” In February, the agency also turned down a proposal by Mennonite Central Committee requesting $2.9 million annually for the next three years. The money was for the organization’s food and water interventions, and income generation assistance for people in poor countries such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

This is not the first time CIDA slashed funding to a religious group. In 2009, it also cut off aid to church-based organization Kairos — a move that sparked great controversy in parliament.

Justin Broekema, spokesperson of CIDA minister Beverly Oda, told Embassy in an email that the agency’s decision is part of CIDA’s responsibility to ensure Canadian taxpayers’ dollars deliver “value for money.” No specific details, however, were given as to why Development and Peace was granted less than a third of its funding request.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.