Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 3, 2000
CCODP offers a helping hand
Community groups build a new tomorrow with help from Development and Peace
By JACK PANOZZO
and GEORGINA LAWRENCE
Special to the WCR
For the second year in a row, Natalie MacMaster has lent her support as a spokesperson for Development and Peace Share Lent.
MacMaster visited Development and Peace programs in El Salvador in February, "I always feel I've been given so much in life. Now I'd like to be able to give back a little," says Natalie.
The Development and Peace Share Lent 2000 campaign began Ash Wednesday, March 8 and continues until Solidarity Sunday on April 9.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) supports programs for people of all faiths in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
CCODP members across Canada make Canadians aware of the causes of poverty and injustice through education and action programs. CCODP encourages partnership between Canadians and people in the South.
Since 1967, Development and Peace (CCODP) has helped improve living and working conditions in more than 70 countries, providing $360 million for programs involving education and training, community development, human rights, agriculture, economic activities and health.
Typical Development and Peace programs concern people's right to better education and job opportunities, or issues related to the environment, women's rights, agrarian reform, housing and cooperative movements.
Development and Peace supports grassroots organizations run by people who know firsthand the issues facing the developing world. Since CCODP began, it has funded more than 12,300 projects abroad.
Education and fundraising in Canada is carried out by CCODP members in every province, including Yukon and Northwest Territories. The goal is to inform Canadians about the causes of poverty and to promote alternatives to unjust social, political and economic structures.
In 1998-99, Development and Peace continued to support democratization in all its programs. Priority was given to activities that strengthened communities' involvement in their own development.
The full and active participation of women at all the levels was also of primary importance. Some of programs supported by Development and Peace are:
In El Salvador, Development and Peace works with several organizations that are changing the way people think about themselves and about their lives.
Concertacion de Mujeres, is an organization reaching women in 126 rural communities throughout the country. They promote literacy, self-reliance, small lending and micro projects in agriculture, raising animals, marketing and handicrafts.
Another group supported by Development and Peace, and one visited by Natalie MacMaster, is Funprocop. It works with more than 60 small rural farm cooperatives. While the cooperatives may be small, their goals are large. One of its projects is to redevelop agricultural lands devastated by war and deforestation.
The environment is severely degraded by war-related deforestation and now suffers from intense export-oriented production, rural urban migration and over-exploitation of natural resources.
Through Funprocop, environmental workers train members of the cooperative to use natural insecticides and fertilizers, and to protect soil erosion. At an experimental farm, co-op members are developing environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
Madagascar is an island nation that is home to some of the rarest plants and animals on the planet. Yet it also shoulders a huge foreign debt that saps the strength of the country.
Development and Peace is involved with a number of groups in the island-nation. Each one is helping to improve a community's ability to improve their lives by joining with other local associations. Inner city neighbourhoods and rural communities have seen their lives improved in such areas as health, hygiene and living conditions.
One of these groups is Andohotapenaka Development Council (CDA).
CDA combines the provision of health and social services, local education, and technical training for an underprivileged clientele (street kids, convicts, illiterate, etc.) with support for small business and income-generating activity.
The latter ensures a part of the financing for other CDA services while the former contributes to the technical competence of the participants.
One of the primary achievements has been the strengthening of ties between its own organization and other community and neighbourhood associations. People in the capital's inner city slums have learned there is strength in numbers.
Through CDA, a livestock breeders' association and small artisans and community-based businesses were established. These associations and the exchange of experiences among them led to other spin-off actions. Youth who were trained through the programs were able to improve their employability.
Thanks to its health and nutritional chats program, parents learn to provide better care for their children. What's more, there was a real improvement in overall hygiene and living conditions.
Another group is The Centre for Rural Promotion (CPR), which focuses on strengthening grassroots organizations. Through CPR, Development and Peace is able to support a cooperative union of agricultural producers.
Last year through CPR, rural community associations came together to share responsibility for and identify solutions to problems in areas of hydro-agricultural planning and land servicing. More than 2,000 members of local groups - half of these women - received technical training that improved crop output and management.
Civic education sessions also gave members a better understanding of their role in bringing about improvements in their own communities. This led to groups increasing their collective capacity to market their produce. Group members learned how to use savings and credit programs to finance income generating small businesses.
As a member of Caritas International, Development and Peace channels donations to emergency situations around the world. When an emergency involves a Development and Peace partner, the agency always follows up initial aid with reconstruction programs.
During the past year, for example, $2.2 million was sent to the Kosovo program.
In addition to emergency relief, Development and Peace on occasion will issue a special appeal to assist victims. In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the people of Central America. Development and Peace issued a special appeal for funds and immediately sent emergency aid to Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Response to the appeal was tremendous.
Long-term reconstruction is now required. Several programs have been launched in 115 communities throughout the four countries.
Share Lent 2000 Goal
The goal for Share Lent 2000 is $8.5 million. In 1999, $8.2 million was donated. The Edmonton Archdiocese donated $392,748.
Development and Peace is encouraging each diocese and parish in Canada to increase its Share Lent collection by five per cent over last year so that the goal for this year can be attained. This year, the Share Lent collection will take place during weekend Masses on April 15-16.