OTTAWA (CCN) — The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has received $5.95 million in additional funding from the federal government’s Syria Emergency Relief Fund.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau held a news conference April 13, flanked by a representatives from a dozen Canadian NGOs, including Development and Peace executive director David Leduc, to announce Canadians had donated $31.8 million to various charities during the fund’s five-month-long campaign. Donations had doubled during the two-month extension she granted earlier this year, she said.
The fund committed the Canadian government to match funds up to $100 million, but Bibeau said the government would still add $100 million to the monies.
The government’s matching fund for the $31.8 million raised by private charities will go to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the additional $68.2 million has been disbursed for various humanitarian and development projects in Syria and the region to help the millions of displaced people, especially women and children.
Leduc said Development and Peace had raised $2,376,938 eligible for matching funds. Bibeau said monies granted to various NGOs did not match what they raised.
Though government officials were not willing to give the fundraising figures ranking the various NGOs, Leduc said he was told Development and Peace was in the top 10.
The heftiest donation to UNICEF will provide educational opportunities, child protection services and immunization programs in Syria and Jordan.
Bibeau said 2.8 million children inside Syria have not been able to go to school for more than two years. Their schools have either been bombed or are being used for displaced persons, she said.
The government is providing $100 million because of the “profound suffering of millions of people in Syria and neighbouring countries,” the minister said.
The priorities for Global Affairs will be on women and children, she said. The children need to be educated to save them from future poverty, to prevent young boys from being recruited into extremists groups and protect young girls from early forced marriages.
“We cannot afford to leave the potential of an entire generation to the conflict,” she said.
Other monies, distributed among a range of NGOs, will provide food, shelter, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and counselling for victims of sexual violence, she said.
Development and Peace will receive up to $3.7 million to help vulnerable, internally displaced families in Iraq with shelter, water and sanitation and provide educational opportunities and learning materials for children. In Syria, the Canadian bishops’ overseas development agency will receive up to $1.25 million to provide emergency assistance and help families rebuild their livelihoods. This will affect 60,000 people inside Syria, Leduc said. Development and Peace has also been granted up to $1 million to help small farmers in the northern part of the country rebuild their livelihoods with sustainable gardening practices.
Leduc said the additional funding demonstrates the government “has shown openness to partners working in the region” who have asked “to maintain the development assistance governments around the world have been offering.”
Though there has been a decrease in the hostilities in Syria, the situation “remains fragile,” said Leduc. Over 13.5 million Syrians are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, showing the magnitude of the conflict.
Representatives from Action Against Hunger Canada, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, CARE Canada, Handicap International, Medecins du Monde Canada, Oxfam-Quebec, UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada joined Bibeau at the news conference.