Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, September 07, 2007

Canadian aid money in Afghanistan performs disappearing act

Aid money sent by the Canadian government to help rebuild Afghanistan has gone astray, The Globe and Mail reported on August 30. Due to an absence of oversight, millions in aid has disappeared, and refugees are being left to starve.

The Senlis Council, a group that has been inspecting development work in Afghanistan for the past two years, has seen few results from the aid granted by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Norine MacDonald, the council’s president, states that “We were not able to see any substantial impact of CIDA’s work in Kandahar and, as a matter of fact, we saw many instances of the extreme suffering of the Afghan people.” For example, CIDA reportedly gave UNICEF $350,000 to start a maternal waiting home at a Kandahar hospital, however, MacDonald has not seen any progress on this front. The hospital is overcrowded and unable to provide many necessary services, such as blood tests. Doctors have been paying for medications out of their pockets.

In general, MacDonald believes that there are too few CIDA employees on the ground in Afghanistan, and that restricted movement keeps them from seeing how the money is spent. There are currently three CIDA workers in the country with eight local workers.

The CIDA minister, Bev Oda, says that there will be eight CIDA employees in Afghanistan by this fall. She also maintains that the locals are responsible for oversight work, and many trips have been taken to the hospital. According to CIDA, the money is having a tangible impact. The goal of CIDA, says Oda, is “to build the country and the population up so that they are going to be able to sustain the quality of life that we all expect.”

For the full story, click here


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