I am doing a series of articles on the book “Rethinking Canadian Aid” (University of Ottawa Press, 2015), and now it’s time for “Chapter 13: Canada’s Fragile States Policy” by David Carment and Yiagadeesen Samy. I have to confess upfront that as a public sector manager, I have a lot of trouble with this chapter. Overall, they basically say it has strong conceptual challenges, yet then conclude investments were squandered when the focus shifted from one area to another.
The complexity of dealing with, and responding to, fragile situations is reflected in the way CIDA has generally allowed “a thousand flowers to bloom,” to support partner organizations, academics, and NGOs that work on state fragility. Indeed, when it first appeared on the scene, as an idea in search of a policy, just around 9/11, the concept of state fragility brought with it a new and complex understanding of how donors and civil society interact and use analysis to support their policies.
I am doing a series of articles on the book “Rethinking Canadian Aid” (University of Ottawa Press, 2015), and now it’s time for “Chapter 12: From “Children-in-Development” to Social Age Mainstreaming in Canada’s Development Policy and Programming? Practice, Prospects and Proposals” by Christina Clark-Kazak. In the interest of full disclosure, I knew Clark in a previous incarnation at CIDA, but as with my review of Swiss’ chapter, that probably won’t mean much in terms of my review of her material. I wanted to mention it upfront as I really like the theme of the chapter — mainstreaming “age” vs. “children-in-development”, the modern-day equivalent of old “women in development” programming.
Second, for biological or social reasons, people of different ages may experience poverty differently (Sumner 2010). For example, children under the age of five have specific nutritional needs that may not be adequately met in contexts of poverty. […] Third, development initiatives have differential impacts on people at different stages of the life course.
I am doing a series of articles on the book “Rethinking Canadian Aid” (University of Ottawa Press, 2015), and now it’s time for “Chapter 11: Gender Equality and the ‘Two CIDAs'” by Rebecca Tiessen. I need to confess up front that I probably won’t have as much to say about Tiessen’s chapter — while I agree with the “facts” she relies on, I’m not sure I share her interpretation of them as setbacks. Most of this is because I am not looking for rhetoric or inventing academic paradigms, I’m a professional government manager who has to interpret policies like these and figure out how to implement them.
Over the forty-seven years of its existence, CIDA progressed from a “women in development” (WID) approach to a gender equality approach to development programming. However, between 2009 and 2013, two key developments set back the progress CIDA had made in this area: (1) the partial, but significant, erasure of the term “gender equality” from official policies and government speeches when the Harper Conservatives shifted their language to “equality between women and men”; and (2) the introduction of the Muskoka Initiative on maternal health, signalling a further retreat from gender equality programming by targeting mothers as “victims” and beneficiaries of development services rather than active agents in the design and implementation of development programs.
I am doing a series of articles on the book “Rethinking Canadian Aid” (University of Ottawa Press, 2015), and now it’s time for “Chapter 10: The Management of Canadian Development Assistance: Ideology, Electoral Politics or Public Interest?” by François Audet and Olga Navarro-Flores. Remember as you read my comments that my interest is not in reviewing it from an academic perspective, but rather if it has any value-added from a managerial perspective. Where it doesn’t, my comments may seem a lot harsher than they are — it may be perfectly fine as an academic contribution, I just have little use for it as a manager.
We specifically consider whether [decisions by the Conservative government] were made on the basis of ideology, electoral politics, or the public interest. Our goal is to reflect on Canadian aid from a public administration perspective.
Colour me intrigued. Very few academics will pull themselves out of a policy paradigm and get their hands dirty with public administration, so I’m curious to see how the framework works out. » Read the rest
I am doing a series of articles on the book “Rethinking Canadian Aid” (University of Ottawa Press, 2015), and now it’s time for “Chapter 9: Why Aid? Canadian Perception of the Usefulness of Canadian Aid in an Era of Economic Uncertainty” by Dominic H. Silvio.
There is growing evidence in many countries that the state of the economy can have a powerful impact on public attitudes towards anything international, but particularly development assistance. Bad economic news can have negative effects on public attitudes towards aid; and positive news, positive effects (Smillie 2003; Zealand and Howes 2012). Since the beginning of the Canadian aid program in the early 1950s, it has received considerable public support (Lavergne 1989; Smillie 1998ab, 2003). However, the perception of the usefulness of aid has not been endorsed by Canadians without reservation.
This is a huge, under-analyzed area, and yet it is under-analyzed for a very good reason. » Read the rest