February 27, 2012

"Overseas aid battered by storms of cutbacks" by Joe Gunn (WCR, Feb. 13).

I was upset when CIDA denied KAIROS funding in 2009. Now Development and Peace, an organization I have known for all of its 40 years, may be facing the same situation.

Last September, with its previous contract expired, its new five-year funding proposal sat on Minister Bev Oda's desk together with those of more than 210 groups who were told to expect word by the end of September.

Development and Peace was told in November that its funding for the next five years had passed through the CIDA approval process and only needed a final yes or no from the Treasury Board, most likely by Dec. 1.

On Dec. 23, CIDA issued a release announcing that 53 projects would receive funding. There was no explanation to applicants for the delay or why most projects did not make the cut.

Development and Peace is still waiting. Will it be told like KAIROS, after so much waiting, that its program does not fit the government's priorities?

We need to let our government know before it decides to de-fund Development and Peace that we, Catholics from across Canada, support Development and Peace and want the Canadian government to continue funding this organization with our tax dollars.

We also need to show our continuing support for Development and Peace through the Share Lent campaign. A strong message would be sent to Ottawa if all of us doubled our usual donation, preferably by signing up as monthly donors.

We need to read the materials distributed during Lent, to explore Development and Peace's website and social media, and to send handwritten letters - they have a much stronger impact than form letters – to Ottawa, to Stephen Harper, to our MP, and to Bev Oda.

Cecily Mills