Deepening democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Deepening democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

For International Development Week 2020, we are showcasing the impact that our member organizations are having around the world. This blog post from Development and Peace is the second in a special series. Make sure to read it and share it with your network!


A people-power project 

After decades of civil war and political turmoil, the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were hoping for an orderly transfer of power through elections scheduled for November 2016. Well before then, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada’s long-time partner, the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO), had realized that attaining and sustaining true democracy would require an empowered citizenry.  


To that end, Development and Peace and CENCO, with a generous grant of $9.778 million from Global Affairs Canada, launched an ambitious civic and electoral education project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early 2016.  


A massive movement  

Over a two-year period, the project organized five national campaigns whose highlights included:  

  • The training of 10,000 facilitators across the country’s 26 provinces 
  • The delivery of 900,000 workshops on democracy, rights, citizenship and community living 
  • The civic education of nearly 20 million Congolese citizens (a majority being women and youths) 
  • The production of Lingala-, Tshiluba-, Kikongo- and Swahili-language radio shows on civic issues featuring locally popular actors 
  • The broadcast of these shows on 80 radio stations to an estimated 10 million listeners 


In 2018, when elections were finally held after several delays, the 10,000 facilitators deployed as observers at polling stations nationwide. By monitoring the elections and encouraging people to vote, they helped bring about a long-awaited democratic change of guard.  


An ongoing effort  

Currently, the project is mobilizing people to demand local-level elections to counter the undemocratic tendency to appoint local officials by federal patronage. Signed by 2 million citizens, the petition for this demand is already the largest in Congolese history. Additional workshops are sensitizing people to the need to overcome tribalism, reject violence and encourage women to vie for political office. To secure a democratic future, the project is pilot testing new civic and moral education textbooks in 500 classrooms.  


Pursuing sustainable development goals  

By fostering equitable democratic participation, Development and Peace and CENCO have advanced the sustainable development goals of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Gender Equality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The citizenry now knows its rights better; understands the power of peaceful, cooperative action; is likelier to support women; and is more able and willing to hold power to account.  



Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. It works in partnership with local organizations in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East to create greater justice in the world and to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable.  

Development Unplugged S02E01: International Development in Current Political Context

Development Unplugged S02E01: International Development in Current Political Context

International Development in Current Political Context

In this first episode in a series of four podcasts related to the Summit on Canada’s Global Leadership, produced with the support of Crestview Strategy.

Our guest host, Jason Clark, a Senior Consultant with Crestview Strategy, discusses this topic with Stuart Hickox, the Canada director for ONE Campaign and Sarah Kennell, the director of government relations with Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights.



Empowered women lift a community

Empowered women lift a community

For International Development Week 2020, we are showcasing the impact that our member organizations are having around the world. This blog post from Will Postma, Executive Director, PWRDF is the first in a special series. Make sure to read it and share it with your network!


Virginie Nizigama is one of many exceptional local women who volunteers at the Village Health Works clinic in Kigutu, Burundi. It’s hard to miss her when you tour the clinic. There she is explaining new varieties of maize, onion and beans and how they can best grow with organic fertilizers. “No outside fertilizer needed!” There’s Virginie again, with other women, milking the cows, tending to the pigs and the chickens and collecting the eggs (there were 32 on the day we visited with her) to give to the patients. As for the milk, that’s also for the patients who need it. And there’s Virginie, telling women and men how to diversify their diets, grow the best varieties of vegetables so they won’t need to come to the clinics as often, and keep their children healthy for school. “We can’t eat manioc all the time,” she patiently explains to the others. It grows easily and quickly on the hills around Kigutu but so can many other plants that are much more nutritious. 


Village Health Works is one of four Maternal, Newborn and Child Health partners in PWRDF’s All Mothers and Children Count (AMCC) program, made possible with the support of Global Affairs Canada and Canadians across the country. Clean water, safe births, increased income, trained community health workers, greater awareness of reproductive rights and accessible neo-natal programming are just a few of the results that the AMCC program has made possible in Burundi, as well as in Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique.  


Across VHW’s program we see the nit and grit of women’s empowerment, addressing on Sustainable Development Goals #3 (health and well-being) and #5 (gender equality). Women meet together to talk about the design of expectant mothers’ homes. “Keep the sinks higher so we don’t need to bend down too much,” they advise. “Space the beds in the houses just so; the windows should be here; let’s build the expectant mothers’ homes closer to the maternity ward itself.” Here mothers can stay during the days before they give birth, get the care they need and not have to walk long distances over the many hills to deliver their child in a safe, clean environment. 


I continue to hear the encouraging words of Virginie to all around her. “I want to give back, I love being able to share whatever I know. It’s my passion, my hope for all of us to be healthy and educated and to help others,” she says. Then she turns to get back to the business at hand. “Now, let me show you how you can plant and grow bananas…” 

International Development Week 2020 is February 2 to 8! It’s time to go for the goals!

International Development Week 2020 is February 2 to 8! It’s time to go for the goals!

What is IDW?


This year marks the 30th anniversary of Canada’s International Development Week (IDW). It is an annual occasion to celebrate the impact and successes of organizations and individuals working to help people and communities in developing countries, where poverty, conflict or natural disasters make for precarious living conditions. 

For 2020, the theme for IDW is “Go for the Goals.” In 2015, Canada committed to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and collaboration toward a better world for all. The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a global action plan to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.  



What Is CCIC Doing for IDW?


During IDW, we will lead efforts to raise awareness of how and where Canada’s development and humanitarian aid is helping vulnerable communities and saving lives. Follow our social media platforms to get all the news and engage with fellow Canadians. 

Our members will also organize a myriad of events and activities to showcase the amazing work they do around the world. Check here for the latest updates. 

On February 6, we will coordinate our second Hill Day, where members will go to Ottawa to meet with Members of Parliament from all parties to discuss the challenges, achievements, and aspirations of Canada’s international development community. 

In the evening, we are partnering with CanWaCH to host a reception in Ottawa for CCIC members and the public. That is when we will present the inaugural Impact and innovation Award to an individual and an organization for their respective contributions to our sector. We look forward to highlighting the remarkable accomplishments of these two leaders. The awards were created in collaboration with World University Services Canada (WUSC) and the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award. 

International Development Week is a unique opportunity for CCIC, its 80+ members, and their supporters to focus on our shared, steadfast mission to Leave No One Behind!  

Calling Out Internet Scams

Warning: Fraudulent use of CCIC name and identity


Ottawa, January 7, 2020 – CCIC advises the public that it has become aware of a fraudulent use of its name and image.  CCIC has become aware of a website using replicated content from our real site to solicit payments for fake scholarships and collect payments from unsuspecting applicants. This misrepresentation is a scam.


We seek to alert our partners and followers, and indeed all visitors to our website, that CCIC will continue to be vigilant and vocal in calling out such fraudulent activity. We are taking appropriate measures to request that this fake website be taken down.


If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a website, read this article and try tools here and here.


For all the latest on the 80+ organizations leading Canada’s international development and humanitarian efforts, we invite you to add to your list of trusted bookmarks. Come for the info, stay for the inspiration!



Member Benefit: Via Rail Discount Code

Member Benefit: Via Rail Discount Code

As a CCIC member organization, employees can access a members-only discount code on travel with Via Rail. CCIC has partnered with Via Rail to encourage our members to travel by rail to our events, but also in your everyday travel needs. This is just one benefit to being a member of CCIC, among the many others that can be found here. 


Why use the CCIC discount code?  

Environmentally-friendly travel: The train is more sustainable than flying or driving, in terms of CO2 emissions, energy consumption, use of space, and even noise levels. CCIC is making a commitment to reducing our environmental impact, and helping members to do the same. 

The collective benefit: The discount rate will increase as more members use the code, so travel will become cheaper for all members – a collective benefit for the sector! 

Friends and family discount: Employees of CCIC members can also treat friends and family to the same discount when booking 3 additional tickets at the same time – meaning more savings and less impact on the environment. 


How does it work? 

Any employee of a CCIC member organization can make a reservation online, or at a Via Rail station using the CCIC discount code when booking any fare class*

Please note that when boarding or booking a ticket in person, the following ID may be required: 

  • business card 
  • photo ID 
  • A letter provided by CCIC   

*with the exception of Escape fare and Prestige Sleeper Class. You should still input the code when booking these fares in order that each purchase be tracked and potentially lead to a higher discount for all members. 



Can I use the code for personal travel? 

Yes! You can also include up to three (3) additional passengers, providing they are travelling with you (same train and same date). 


Please contact Member Engagement Officer Erica Richter for more details or phone 613-241-7007 ext 350.