So, I think it is important to write a follow-up to this week’s post on how to create a more effective organization to connect Canadians to authentic development projects that really aid the Global South.
To me, there is a moral imperative here. That is why I am writing this series. The world is rapidly becoming a colder, more dangerous place. People who want to push aside the ‘other’, whomever that might be seem to have the dominant voice. We really need effective ways of connecting to those in the world who need our support.
So, how do you develop a more effective organization? How do you involve more Canadians in peace and development?
Development and Peace has been around since 1967. It is an arm of the Canadian Catholic Church and most of the people involved have been part of the traditional church structure.
The management structure, virtually unchanged in more than half a century is hierarchical. In this, it models the Catholic Church.
Local priests and parishioners are responsible for raising money for the organization through one big fundraiser – Share Lent – every year.
However, in some jurisdictions, this money is held back by people who feel the money is not being spent on projects that are Catholic enough. In this sense, this is similar to what went on with the Halton Catholic School Board who voted not to allow fundraising for projects and organizations that did not fit their narrow view of what was acceptable according to Catholic values.
This is an organization that has lost its way. Its management structure weighs it down while its reliance on traditional Catholic institutions cuts it off from the majority of Canadians who are open and willing to support intelligent development policies.
The managing structure of Development and Peace is dominated by an elected National Council. While it is noble to have a totally elected board of directors, there is no requirement for these directors to have any management or development experience. Like many boards constituted in this way, they are captive to the managers of the organization. In a very true sense, they are incapable of being independent managers of the organization.
Is there a way out of this well?
There has to be. Development and Peace does excellent development work and they have a great team of talented and experienced program officers who work with partners throughout the year. The organization has always been well-respected by the Canadian Government and receives millions of dollars every year to support their partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
For any organization to survive for 50 years is a challenge. For an organization to thrive, however, it needs to question itself and look for ways to remain vital and relevant.
Development and Peace is in need of renewal. Canadians need a more effective organization to channel their resources to those in dire need. At a time of such darkness, a little more light is needed.
The question is, will they have the courage to make the necessary changes.
2 thoughts on “How Can Canadians Get Involved in Supporting our Sisters and Brothers in the Global South? Part II”
Thank you for your article. How do we get more people involved to understand
to work and to act? Maybe we could consider a popular and collective
response from our churches and organizations?
How do we organize ourselves so that we have many involved in this work?
Perhaps we pursue some ideas for ourselves that we promote in each project?
Ideas such as participation, empowerment and community action.
Finally we could engage peoples hearts and minds in the work.
I seen many ways to help people as individuals take initiative.
Do provide a place for those with creative energy?
Thanks for the article.
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Thank you, Paul: I am a new Roman Catholic &, to my shock, I am joyfully loving being so. I am also an active member of the Ottawa Roman Catholic ArchDiocese’s Development & Peace Diocesan Council. I will assume that what prompted your writing this is the most recent kerfuffle over the supposed anti-life inclinations of some of Development & Peace’s international partners. Firstly, I have to remind everyone that Catholic people from countries where D&P is working (Latin America, Africa) are strongly faith-centered, predominantly conservative Roman Catholics who would not depart from Church teachings on the most basic human right of life! Because I am so deeply involved with Development & Peace, I see that what’s required is basic education of all Roman Catholics in what & how Development & Peace does its work in the world. I also see that we need to build some bridges through communication with our Roman Catholic sisters & brothers in other Roman Catholic outreach & education ministries. We are ALL on the same team. We need to heal the differences that are tearing us apart from the inside. To this end, I commit to offering my hand & heart in peace to my sisters & brothers in the pro-life movement since many of the difficulties with which Development & Peace is currently faced have originated in discord between members of Development & Peace & the pro-life organisation(s) in our midsts. I am a serious, practising Roman Catholic. As such, like every other Roman Catholic I know, I support life from conception to natural death. I am no more & no less holy than any of my Roman Catholic sisters & brothers. Let us begin by accepting this simple basic fact & work our way back to friendship on the basis of what we share. Jesus teaches us to love. He leads us to emulate His example. Janyce Elser-Ethier, Recording Secretary,Development & Peace Diocesan Council, Ottawa Roman Catholic ArchDiocese