Saturday, May 3, 2008

Partnership for Tomorrow Program

The Honourable Beverley J. Oda
Minister of International Cooperation
Ottawa, Canada

Partnership for Tomorrow Program (PTP) has been a very useful program for individuals, small business and small NGO’s working in Eastern Europe. According to the PTP website, the program is being discontinued at the end of this year. That is too bad though quite understandable. The program lasted far longer than one would have expected. One can understand quite perfectly why CIDA would want to be rid of it as it is the antithesis of everything CIDA stands for.

It is simple and easy to access for small NGO’s, businesses and individuals.
It is effective as objectives are limited to the do-able.
It is inexpensive.
It does not require a huge bureaucracy to administer.
It does not make political headlines.

Many of us who have worked internationally over the years and have had to deal with CIDA had high hopes that the Harper government would totally dismantle the CIDA bureaucracy brick from brick. European ODA’s are four times as efficient according to some studies.

CIDA INC, with which I am most familiar, claims to be results oriented but in reality is bound up in endless administrative minutiae. Turnover of staff responsibility in CIDA INC has been so fast that all we did at times was try to keep the position up to speed on a project. Usually they knew nothing about the country for which they were responsible. One bragged that they had field experience – two years in an embassy as it turned out. Many of them are unfamiliar with business and are actually anti-business in attitude. I have told clients that accessing CIDA INC money was like marrying for money – It was dearly earned. Usually costing the company more than if they had proceeded without it. CIDA INC should be transferred to International Trade where it would do some good.

Please do something with CIDA and please reinstate some form of PTP. Expand it to include any country in which Canada is doing development work, if you like. Anything to make it “NEW” and "announce-able". But please do it. A great many little people depend on it to help them do their part in making a better world.

Yours sincerely

cc. The Honourable Maxime Bernier
The Honourable Deepak Obhrai
The Honourable David Emerson
The Honourable Ted Menzies

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