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Julia will begin by introducing herself and Heather
Julia will explain the rationale for the survey and the backgrounder
HeatherA. Profile of the Respondents Sixty (60) % of the respondents self-identified as “international developmentNGOs”. There are also educational institutions (9%), faith-based organizations (8%),and community groups (7%), among others. Large organizations (more than 16 staff) make up a third of the sample, medium sizedorganizations (six to 15 staff) 25%, and smaller organizations (less than five staff)42%. 56% of respondents have annual revenue of less than $1 million. Only 10% of thesample has annual revenues greater than $10 million, and 28% have annual revenues ofbetween $1 million and $10 million. Assuming a definition of CIDA dependency as an organization that receives 25% ormore of its revenue from CIDA, 46% of the sample falls into various levels of CIDAdependency. Of the organizations that receive CIDA funding in the sample, 90%were funded by Partnerships with Canadians Branch (PWCB), and close to twothirdsreceived more than 50% of their CIDA funding from this Branch. Only aquarter of the sample received any funding from the Geographic Branch, and 15% fromMultilateral Branch. CIDA funding for many organizations has been long-standing, with 45% havingreceived funding from PWCB for more than 20 years, and a quarter for more than30 years.
HeatherThere were some positive comments on the proposals such as:An equal opportunity for diverse organizations to apply; Incentives to improve impact assessment of their programming; A comprehensive electronic format and access to relevant CIDA documentsrelated to the calls; and The opportunity to develop new models for collaborative partnerships in CanadaAnd overseas.However…The majority of comments focused on the negative and broader impacts of the new mechanism.1. “Planning has become impossible given the lack of information and certainty. We havewarned all of our partners that we may not have government funding after March 2013.Our Board and staff are actively discussing different future scenarios should the CIDAfunding not be granted in the next program period. [Our organization] will continue butwith a reduced program (meaning less funding to partners) and with a smaller staff team.”2. “It has been very difficult to plan ahead. [Our organization] chose to bid on the over 2million and therefore did not apply for any of the other calls. As a result of the negativeresponse from CIDA to our proposal, [our organization] will no longer have aninternational program for the first time in 35 years.”3. While the cost estimates varied considerably among organizations, almost half (48.5%) put them in the $10,000 to $30,000 range. An average cost (taking the mid-point for each range), puts the total cost of preparing proposals for the 95 organizations that answered this question at just under $2 million. If one assumes that 64% were unsuccessful or ineligible (Table Four A), these unsuccessful proposals cost the organizations about $1.2 million. “The process is unbelievable. We travel to consult with every partner, intendedbeneficiaries and put together a strong team of individuals with CIDA process backgroundto ensure a strong proposal is submitted.”“Massive amounts of time wasted in developing these in-depth proposals which were notfunded, inability to plan or budget due to delays.”
HeatherChart 12: How will your organization make up for lost CIDA Revenue?16.1 Making up lost revenueMost ideas mentioned to make up lost revenue from CIDA related to increased fundraisingefforts with the general public or other institutional donors. A significant number (18%) were notable to determine how to make up the scope of revenue lost from an unsuccessful proposal.2. A significant number (24 organizations or 14%) have either laid-off staff because of the delay in announcing the results or as a consequence of the Decemberannouncement of successful proposals (Chart 7). Nineteen (19) of these 24 organizations were smaller organizations with total revenue of less than $1 million. AsOne commentator notes below, it is not only the reduced staffing structure that results, but it also takes years to rebuild needed capacities even as funding gradually recovers.3. Although 22 organizations replied that they were now having to end partnerships (Chart 9), rather than end partnerships, the immediate response for many other Canadian CSOs will be to reduce activities with the partner, which the partner may or may not make up from other sources of funding. But there are also high costs to partners that invest in preparation of proposals with their Canadian partner that in the end are not successful. CSO credibility has been affected in several cases, along with an undermining of local ownership on the part of developing country counterparts. “With the move away from more stable, longer-term funding, CIDA appears to not be recognizing the importance of a viable, strong civil society to a country's development. Local partners will be weaker as a result of the new approach and less reliable funding.”
HeatherAs indicated in Chart 10 more than half the respondents (50.9%), who had CIDA funding from any source, indicated that they had been using the 10% provision for public engagement in former contribution agreements with PWCB (now cancelled by CIDA).vii Almost two-thirds (63.9%) of the respondents from all organizations indicated that they did not intend to undertake public engagement using other revenue. The other third indicated that they would do so (there were only five organizations that responded “no”). Finally, 17 organizations indicated that they would not apply under the new Global Citizenship Program when announced. More than half of the 158 organizations said that they were “unsure” and 41 (26%) gave a definite “yes”.“It limits our ability to share with Canadians the needs and issues facing developingcommunities and the accomplishments being made through Canadian initiatives on theground. It reduces our ability to create opportunities for education, solidarity, relationship,understanding, and ongoing support for similar work.”“We had a 20-year, classroom based, development education program ... This will becoming to an end.”2. A chill on advocacy activities as a result of the widely shared perception that CIDAlooks unfavorably on organizations that do policy and advocacy work, especially in areasthat are controversial for the current government or when advocacy efforts are critical ofcurrent policies;
JuliaA system that requires much improvementThe implementation of the new PWCB funding mechanism has been a difficult and challengingexperience for most Canadian CSOs involved in international development. It was designedbehind closed doors, without any formal consultation with CSOs, and has been characterized,during its first year of implementation, by a lack of transparency, unacceptable delays inannouncing funding decisions, too many hick-ups in rolling out the system, and what seems tobe a lack of adequate resources to manage the process efficiently within CIDA. After its firstyear of implementation, this mechanism still has a long way to go before it can be themainstreamed and effective mechanism it is meant to be. It is having a profoundly destabilizingimpact on the sector and on programs in developing countries; it needs to be reviewed.Putting organizations, partnerships and development results in jeopardyThe sudden and drastic reduction of funds coming from CIDA – compounded by long delays inannouncing funding decisions and the large number of organizations that were unsuccessful inseeing their proposals approved- has meant that dozens of Canadian organizations now have toreduce or end partnerships with local organizations in developing countries. This is occurringjust a year and a half after this funding mechanism was introduced. The lack of predictability interms of potential future funding outcomes for organizations is jeopardizing long-standingrelations CIDA has had with organizations, partnerships in developing countries and essentialdevelopment projects on the ground. And the suggestion of results to date that this newmechanism might favour partnerships with organizations with less experience in development isof concern.
JuliaCanadian public awareness of and active engagement in global poverty issues is at riskThe sudden elimination of the 10% of budget previously allowable for public engagement workin the PWCB contribution agreement, and of long-standing responsive public engagementfunding mechanisms (such as the Stand-Alone Public Engagement Fund, Mass Media Initiativeand Global Classrooms Initiative) will have significant and adverse effects on many Canadianinternational development organizations and their efforts to build awareness and sustainmeaningful engagement with Canadian citizens on global poverty issues. This will impact smallto medium sized organizations with limited capacity to fund public engagement projects andprograms independently most.Recognizing the role of CSOs – development actors in their own right?Civil society organizations contribute to development in very unique, innovative and essentialways. They support grassroots initiatives of people engaged in their own development efforts.They are donors, globally generating $20-$25 billion a year from private individuals. They bringtogether development practitioners, implementing projects on the ground. They work to deepenglobal awareness in Canada and solidarity among peoples across all nations. And theyadvocate for improvement to government policy and legislation with a view to enhancingprogress on development. This new funding mechanism seems to be geared to reducing CSOsto implementers of CIDA contracts, moving away from a longer-term program approach to ashorter-term project approach and thereby trying to simplify what is in reality a complex andmulti-dimensional issue.
JuliaThe domino effect of loosing CIDA fundingThe loss of CIDA funding by so many organizations doesn‟t just impact a percentage of anorganization‟s budget: it will most likely have a knock-on effect in terms of the amount of fundsthat organizations can subsequently leverage from other donors: multilateral, provincial,individuals, etc.. It also has an impact on the organization‟s credibility and on public support.And it deprives organizations from funding that has been traditionally geared in part towardsbuilding capacity within Canada to engage Canadians in development. Other institutional donorsare rarely mandated or inclined to funding these essential elements of the delivery mechanismsfor good development.Hitting smaller organizations harder: level playing field?Smaller organizations are being hardest hit by the new funding mechanism. The survey clearlyshows that organizations that have fewer staff, lower budgets and limited capacity for producingproposals, are less successful with the new PWCB mechanism. It is more difficult for them tohave access to funds through the call for proposals process. These smaller organizations areoften very well known and established in the communities where they work. Their projects andprograms have also generated a lot of interest and support from the Canadian public over theyears. Both of these are considerations which matter to CIDA – a track record and financial andpublic support. Not providing them with fair access to CIDA funds seems to be in contradictionwith that.
JuliaLearning from what worksIt seems that the specialized calls for proposals (Haiti, Muskoka) have worked better in terms ofturn-around-time and improving the system as it goes. We are hoping that the same happensfor the next round of calls for proposals for the Under and Over 2Million projects.What happened to partnerships?In the new call for proposals mechanism, not enough value is put on trust and on pre-existingrelationships between CIDA and Canadian civil society organizations, nor on existingpartnerships between Canadian organizations and developing countries organizations. In effect,past partnerships, evaluations and best practices do not seem to be valued to the extent thatthey should. This is contrary to notions of development effectiveness and to the code of ethicsand best development practices that civil society organizations guide their work by.
HeatherAmong the 84 suggestions for changes, the most common were better communication withCIDA, an opportunity to engage with CIDA at different stages of the process (31 respondents)and secure and predictable deadlines for CIDA decision-making (21). There was also strongsupport for a two-tiered concept note process (which is developed further below). Amongothers, the following were included:Based on an analysis of the responses to the survey, and discussions with some surveyrespondents, CCIC and the ICN are making a number of recommendations to CIDA with an aimto improve the competitive mechanism or to reevaluate the use of the competitive process. It isimportant to note that the survey already presents significant negative trends after only one yearof implementation of the call-for-proposal mechanism. In the absence of significant reforms,these trends portent future dramatic changes in means and priorities for the vast majority ofCanadian civil society organizations in support of development and long-term partnerships. 1. Produce clear and predictable annual timetables for all regular (i.e. not special) calls-for proposals,with firm deadlines for announcing the results of the various competitions andtimelines for negotiating contribution agreements. A key element of aid effectiveness ispredictability. CIDA needs to do more to manage this predictability with its CSO partners.“After CIDA missed the initial deadline for announcements (August 2011) there was noword when an announcement would be made. This made it very difficult to plan. It wouldhave been useful to be more communicative with applicants about the reason for thedelay and the new anticipated date.”“CIDA must be transparent about timelines. We need to know about upcoming calls andupcoming announcements of results and they must meet commitments and communicateopenly with all applicants as soon as any changes (like delays) arise.”2. Create a two-tiered process with an initial concept note, with clear and transparent criteriafor evaluation, leading to an invitation to submit a full proposal if the concept note is accepted.Excluding the respondents who chose not to answer this question (17%), 83% are very orsomewhat supportive of this amendment to the process. This would also address, in part, thesubstantial cost to many organizations of submitting proposals – and the cost to CIDA ofprocessing so many full proposals- funds that are not going to development programs on theground.3. Make sure that the calls for proposals are more inclusive, and that small and mediumsized organizations, which have a distinct value-added role in Canada‟s development efforts,can apply and have a fair chance of getting their proposals approved. The playing field has tobe level for all. CIDA could consider quotas for smaller organizations or percentages of funding– or other complementary mechanisms (see below). Any funding mechanism established byCIDA‟s PWCB needs to recognize that international development benefits (and has benefited)from a multiplicity of approaches and partnerships between civil society organizations in theNorth and in the South. Focusing only on a subset of these will be detrimental to Canada‟soverall effectiveness in contributing to development.4. Increase opportunities to engage with CIDA at various stages of the call-for-proposalsprocess, such as having access to staff to ask questions and to seek clarity on responses. TheFrequently Asked Questions mechanism, for example, should be more agile and timely inproviding responses to queries during the critical stage of proposal preparations. As onerespondent notes, “[T]he new process is completely void of relationship, which is central to partnership.Even the person manning the “correspondence.pwcb” email address does not have aname! It has turned CIDA into a totally impersonal bureaucracy.”“It would be helpful if CIDA staff were more available and forthcoming to assist in theprocess. It was difficult to access CIDA staff to answer our questions as it appeared CIDAstaff were concerned they were giving away too much information. There was a great dealof caution in their responses to our questions.”
Heather5. Establish a regular and formal mechanism for ongoing dialogue between CCIC, the ICNand CIDA on changes to the funding mechanisms, on concerns raised by Canadian CSOs andtheir southern CSO counterparts, and on information CIDA would like to share with CSOnetworks. Closing the feedback loop should hopefully ensure that Canadian CSO partners willbe better prepared to address and manage any future changes within Partnership Branch.6. Engage in a national consultation with CIDA CSO partners on Public Engagementmechanisms, to ensure that a proper responsive mechanism will be put in place, in the short tomedium term, to allow organizations to engage Canadians on international development issuesin their own terms– a prerequisite for ongoing public support of international development.7. Reestablishing some responsive programming, which allows organizations to build ontheir strengths and experiences and on existing partnerships. Responsive programming alsohas the advantage of providing some predictability in the funding patterns, allowingorganizations to be more efficient and providing more development outcomes on the ground.(For example, a window of responsive programming could be created for smaller organizationsand for a Public Engagement Fund).8. Improve the proposal guidelines. Numerous respondents asked for clearer guidelines anda simplified template (with no word limit), as well as a clear characterization of the specificqualities of the proposals that CIDA ranks highly. The guidelines also need to be adjusted torespond to the reality of organizations that work in several countries and that require differentprogrammatic strategies. This was an explicit demand in many of the survey responses.
Heather9. Create greater transparency prior to and during the assessment process, disclosing theassessment criteria when launching the call for proposals, and the rationale for the outcomes ofCIDA‟s ranking of the different proposals. Calls for proposals should also be much clearer aboutwhat exactly CIDA is looking for, and not leave this to interpretation. Greater transparencyshould also include post-competition meetings for participating organizations with CIDA officialsand more elaborate communications with the organization on the specific outcomes of theirproposal. It should be noted that organizations that have already had in-person debriefings havefound these extremely useful and we encourage CIDA to make these a regular feature of thenew system.“Examples of well-written proposals with annotation to indicate why CIDA considers it tobe well-written. An explanation of the decision process. It is one thing to know thecriteria. But it would be helpful to know exactly how those criteria are used - e.g. is itsimply the highest scoring proposals that are funded? or is there a more complex processthat involves input from various sources?”10. CIDA should organize capacity-building training programs on the calls for proposalsmechanism and competitive processes more generally. Respondents would like CIDA toorganize training programs, in collaboration with CCIC and the ICN, to enhance organizationsabilities for responding to calls for proposals. This would be in addition to the existing resultsbasedmanagement courses CIDA already provides and a crucial capacity-building program forCanadian CSOs in an increasingly competitive funding world.11. Develop a CIDA policy on CSOs and development, both in Canada and abroad. TheCanadian government has been a world leader in recognizing the unique role played by civilsociety organizations in development: “As we build a joint effectiveness agenda beyond Accra,there is an extraordinary opportunity to recognize and support civil society organizations as fullpartners in development. Their efforts complement those of government and the private sector”(Canadian statement on the Accra Agenda for Action). This has to be better reflected both in therelationship that CIDA maintains with CSOs and in the support CIDA lends for ensuring anenvironment that will enable CSOs to fulfill their role as independent development actors in theirown right.12. Undertake a full evaluation of the impact of the call-for-proposals mechanism in thecontext of the ODA Accountability Act, and CIDA‟s policies for strengthening civil societyengagement in development and the endorsement of the Istanbul Principles for CSODevelopment Effectiveness at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan,South Korea in December 2011.