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MCC explores new options to fill $2.9 M funding gap

Gladys Terichow

WINNIPEG, Man.— A multi-year, multi-million dollar funding proposal submitted by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada has been turned down by the federal government’s Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The proposal of $2.9 million a year for the next three years would have provided much needed food, water and income generation assistance for thousands of people in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Bolivia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.

“This decision means that the implementation of some MCC programs may be temporarily delayed or scaled back,” said Don Peters, MCC Canada executive director.  “These needs remain and MCC is now exploring other options for funding some of these projects.”

In recent years, CIDA has made a number of changes in the way it operates and approves grants, explained Peters. Grants are now approved through a competitive process with CIDA issuing calls for proposals and approving the proposals that best meet the objectives set by CIDA.

“We should not be surprised that we are not going to win every submission,” said Peters. “In the coming weeks, we will be working with CIDA to better understand the shortcomings of our proposal and to learn from this experience.”

MCC proposals to CIDA that have been approved over the past few years include $2.1 million for MCC’s reconstruction work in Haiti, $1.69 million for disaster assistance in China and $300,000 for disaster assistance in Burma/Myanmar.  MCC is also accessing CIDA funds through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for various food assistance and food security projects.

“We don’t automatically apply for every proposal but we will leverage our resources with government resources when MCC’s interests match CIDA’s interests,” explained Peters.  “We have been doing development work for more than 90 years and are confident in the basic premises of how we wish to work.  We are well rooted, we know who we are and we know who we are serving.” 

Last year, MCC had personnel in 48 countries and income (including Canada and the U.S.) of about $76 million.

Gladys Terichow is a writer for Mennonite Central Committee Canada