A note from the Executive Director

Dear ACIC Members,

As we move deeper into autumn, I want to send out a message to update you on some of the news coming out of the sector and to make you aware of upcoming opportunities through ACIC and our work this fall. I also want to take the opportunity to share a little about the very positive experience that I had participating in the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program this summer.  I returned in mid-September, feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, with a much deeper knowledge of peacebuilding and conflict prevention, and many new ideas for how we might become stronger as a coalition. 

Sector News:

Sexual Misconduct 

Many of you will have kept abreast of what has been happening in the sector around sexual violence and the work that is taking place to address it. I would like to draw your attention to the CCIC Leaders' Pledge to Prevent and Address Sexual Misconduct, a statement of commitment to be signed by the Presidents, CEOs, and Executive Directors of CCIC members and others in the global development and humanitarian sector. By signing the Pledge, sector leaders will commit to a set of concrete actions to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct in our sector.

Today, I join CCIC in asking you to do three things:

  1. Sign the Pledge. If you haven't done so already, the best time to sign the Pledge on behalf of your organization is right now. Please sign-on online.

  2. Socialize the Pledge inside your organization. Share your commitment with your staff, to ensure that they know you have signed on and understand what it means for your organization's policy, programming, and culture.

  3. Share the Pledge. Contact your fellow leaders in the sector, asking them if they have signed on and encourage them to do so. We want this sectoral commitment to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible, because only then will we see truly transformative change.

GAC cost-sharing guidelines

Global Affairs Canada has recently released its new Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements. This information is now available on the Contracting Publication section of the website: Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements and Questions and Answers - Policy on Cost-Sharing for Grant and Non-Repayable Contribution Agreements.

Some key changes are as follows:

  • cost-share requirements have been lowered to 5% (from a previous range of up to 25%);

  • the exemption for humanitarian projects has been maintained;

  • non-Canadian funding sources can be included; and

  • there has been clarification around in-kind contributions.

 OECD Peer Review

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has recently put out its Peer Review of Canada’s Development Cooperation program.

Many of the recommendations listed by the OECD concern areas of ongoing collaboration between Global Affairs Canada and Canadian Civil Society organizations (as led by the CCIC) - particularly regarding cutting red tape and increasing efficiencies.

The report also lays out important areas for continued improvement, including Canada’s decline in ODA  (official development assistance) spending relative to ODI (outward direct investment) and encourages the government to chart a course to reverse this trend.  

Summer 2018 Highlights:

Many of you joined us for a very successful symposium and AGM in Charlottetown this June.  We were thrilled to have Sheila Watt-Cloutier as our keynote speaker and hosted a variety of diverse capacity building activities, which have received extremely positive feedback from participants.  During our AGM, we passed a resolution that has introduced a new category of membership: Student-led Campus Organizations.  We had noticed over the years that membership fees have been prohibitive to student groups, but that their involvement in ACIC activities and events has added great value to our work.  With a reduced rate and a solid plan for engaging new groups, we anticipate that over the next year we will increase our membership and be more inclusive of youth and student-led groups.

Governance:

We were delighted to welcome three new board members this June.  Valeri Pilgrim joins us from Memorial University as Director-at-Large, Scott Smith was elected as a Director-at-Large representing Latin America Mission Program (LAMP), and Madalyn Nielson from Dal Agricultural College, joins as our Director-at-Large. ACIC’s new Board Executive is as follows: ACIC Board Chair, Freddy Wangabo Mwenengabo; Treasurer, John Cameron and Secretary, Valeri Pilgrim. 

Governance responsibilities also include chairing one of ACIC’s committees. Our committees are open to ACIC member organizations, so please contact us at ACIC if you have an interest in engaging in any of our committee work. 

ACIC Committee Chairs:

  • Governance Committee: Nick Scott

  • Membership Committee: Madalyn Nielson

  • Finance Committee: John Cameron

  • Risk Management Committee: Laura Hunter

  • Ad hoc Symposium Committee: Valeri Pilgrim

We have just finished a very successful board and staff retreat, where we came together to discuss important governance and operation issues, and to build our capacity as a team.  I am thrilled to have such a strong board and staff team to support ACIC’s work, and feel confident that the collective skills and experience we have will undoubtedly result in excellence. 

Youth Programs:

International Internships for Indigenous Youth (IIIY)

On October 1, our 20 indigenous youth interns departed from Pearson International after ten days of pre-departure training.  Through a partnership with the Northern Council for Global Cooperation (NCGC), GPI Atlantic, the Native Council of PEI, and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, we successfully recruited a diverse group of interns, primarily from Atlantic and Northern Canada.   Teams of four interns will be working with our southern partners in Nepal, Cambodia, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Guyana.  Upon their return in early February, they will work with us during International Development Week (IDW) to share information about their experiences abroad.

ACT 4 Global Change Youth Conference

We have just finished the selection process for our upcoming youth conference, to be held this year in Nova Scotia at the Tatamagouche Centre.  Approximately 50 youth (between the ages of 15 and 17) will come together from November 9-12 to learn about global issues.  Through interactive activities, discussion, games, reflection and more, the conference will explore topics such as:

  • peace & conflict

  • human rights

  • Indigenous realities

  • the Sustainable Development Goals

  • refugee experiences

  • poverty & food sovereignty

  • gender equity

  • environment & sustainability 

  • international trade (fair trade) & food security

  • global migration

  • 2SLGBTQ+ realities

  • water and sanitation

The conference is an opportunity for youth to get informed, get inspired and take action on local and global issues in a safe and welcoming space. Participants will meet and engage with a diversity of youth from a variety of communities and cultures from all four Atlantic provinces. 

Youth Gender Equality Program

ACIC continues to work with Plan Canada and the Canadian Teacher’s Foundation on the Youth for Gender Equality program. 

Over the Fall ACIC will host six dialogues (one in NB, two in PE, two in NL, one in NS), with the possibly of adding one to this list (one in NL and one in NS). The NB dialogue with is with MP Matt Decourcey’s office and two possible dialogues to be added are with MP Andy Fillmore and MP Seamus O’Regan. 

ACIC is working with various member organizations, partners and community contacts to help recruit youth leads for these dialogues and youth participants. We also continue to be actively involved with the YGE steering committee and the media working group. 

Our Membership:

ACIC has organized a number of capacity building and networking activities this fall, which we hope will enable our membership to come together to collaboratively learn and develop relationships. 

We are very excited to be partnering with the Alberta Council and other councils across Canada to host Together 2018 in Halifax and Charlottetown on November 5th. We will be also hosting one-day workshops on Peace-building Conflict Resolution in Fredericton and St. John’s in November (stay tuned for details), networking events in Charlottetown, Sackville and Halifax in October, and a two-day Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) workshop in Nova Scotia in February.  As always, travel subsides for members are available to support your participation, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to us if there are any ways in which we can further enhance your involvement in our programs and activities.

Finally, ACIC staff will be travelling this fall to meet with members, participate in sector events and to host networking meetings.  We hosted a successful networking event in Nova Scotia in October, and in November, there will be networking events in NB (Sackville)  PEI (Charlottetown) and NF (St. John’s)

Peace Fellowship:

After having completed my three-month studies at the Rotary Peace Center, Chulalongkorn University, I can only be grateful for the support of my family, my colleagues and my friends. It was at times challenging to be away from home and work, but the reflection of my personal, spiritual, academic and professional growth, and with the joy of having met wonderful people from 17 countries, the experience was nothing but positive. I have heard stories from colleagues, including those that have been directly impacted by conflict and inequality, that we should never forget, and have strengthened my conviction that dialogue and non-confrontation are the main tools for the construction of peace.

I return, more than ever, with the commitment to continue supporting opportunities for partnership and collaboration. The importance of learning more about what other organizations and individuals are doing cannot be overstated, and the relationships that have been developed with instructors and colleagues will undoubtedly influence this work moving forward. 

The program has also reinforced my belief that it is essential that we recognize that youth play an integral role in the peacebuilding process, and that in order for them to be agents of change, they must have the knowledge, skills and understanding of the global context to be able to do so.  I feel strongly that we must continue to work to build leadership so that youth can address systemic change through their work in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, which sometimes is the root of issues, and sometimes is an indicator of other factors shaping human conflict. 

Finally, I am excited to be able to reconnect with ACIC member organizations and to have conversations about peacebuilding as it relates to gender, human rights and engaging youth.  I hope to organize opportunities for us to have dialogues about peacebuilding efforts, within our networking meetings, through webinars and within our training activities. Please reach out to me to share stories about how your work is progressing, and how ACIC can better support you. 

Jennifer heads to Thailand

What program are you involved with this summer?

I will be going to Thailand on a Rotary Peace Fellowship from June to August. It’s a 3-month professional development certificate program awarded to experienced professionals from around the world. You can find out more about the program here: www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/peace-fellowships

How many people will be there?

I will be joining a cohort of 24 practitioners from around the globe. Participants come from diverse backgrounds, representing CSOs, UN, private sector and public sector institutions. I’m very proud to have been selected from applicants representing more than 50 countries.

How many from Canada will be attending?

 I won’t know how many other Canadians until I am there. In past cohorts, there have been one or two Canadians represented. A few years ago, Susan Hartley from Canadian Women 4 Women in Afghanistan in PEI was selected.

What will you be doing while you’re there?

I will be involved in an intensive 3-month study with a combination of classroom work, self-directed research and domestic and international field work. My focus areas will be human rights, gender, sustainable development and peace education.

My self-directed research/ framework will be centered around reconciliation/ decolonization. I’m also very interested in a feminist analysis of conflict and peace building, and hope to learn more about this area.

The domestic fieldwork involves visiting an area of Thailand close to the Myanmar boarder. This field trip will give us an opportunity to investigate migrant labor and refugees, natural resources, ethno-politics, development, and/or transboundary conflicts.

For the international field work study, we will be going to Sri Lanka to examine post conflict reconstruction and the roles of various actors.

What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about having the opportunity to meet scholars and practitioners from diverse fields from around the world. It will be an opportunity to build new relationships, learn new ways of thinking and build my skills in conflict prevention and resolution.

I’m also very excited because I had my first international experience in Thailand when I was 18 and made some big career and life decisions based on that experience. This was 25 years ago and it resulted in a big transformation for me! It feels a little bit like a full circle to head back there after I’m well established in my career. I’ll be visiting past friends, practising the language and enjoying the food.

Jennifer Thailand past1.jpg

Another thing I’m excited about is that my children will be joining me in Bangkok for part of the time I’m there. I know that this will also be a life-changing time for them. They will get to experience a new culture AND experience urban living since we currently live in a small community.

Besides studying what will you be doing there?

Though the course is very intensive, there is some down time. I will take the opportunity to visit with our internship partners in the region (Bangkok, Myanmar, Cambodia and Nepal) as well as to engage in some personal travel around Thailand.

What do you hope to bring back to ACIC?

There are many things! It will strengthen my own capacity for peace and conflict resolution for ACIC, the ICN and our members. I will also be learning more about what other civil society organizations are doing around peace and conflict resolution work.

With our very ambition new strategic plan, we hope ACIC will have more dialogues around decolonization. I feel the work that I’ll be doing this summer will help to create and foster this work.

I hope that I will be able to enhance my skills in research in gender, human rights, sustainable development, which in turn I will be able to bring back to ACIC. I’ll be in a better position to promote leadership in sustainable development, and within our work on Agenda 2030. I will be able to build my expertise with SDG#16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” I would like to be able to provide workshops for members upon return.

Additionally, I look forward to the peer-learning aspect of the work in Thailand and to share the ACIC/ my experience. I look forward to having the opportunity to develop new partnerships and relationships with other CSOs around the world. The facilitators of the course are international thought-leaders so I also hope to create relationships and connections with them.

Anything else you want to mention?

I’ll be missing everyone at the 2018 Symposium and I am very sad to be missing Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s keynote. I read her book a few years ago, and I’m sure that her keynote will be amazing! I highly recommend attending this year’s symposium – it’s sure to be a wonderful experience.

I’m also very confident in our staff team and their continued excellence. I’ve worked directly with the ACIC Board and the personnel committee on a plan for oversight. Through our partnership with the Northern Council, and through some external help, staff members will be fully supported while I am gone. I will be still be available to our board and staff, and can support work if need arises.

I look very forward to being able to share my experiences when I return, and to provide stronger leadership to the network. 

2017 Call for Preliminary Proposals - Development Impact Window - Canadian Small and Medium Organizations for Impact and Innovation

ACIC is delighted to share that Global Affairs has just launched a call for proposals - 2017 Call for Preliminary Proposals - Development Impact Window - Canadian Small and Medium Organizations (SMO) for Impact and Innovation.  This is part of the $100M SMO Fund that Minister Bibeau announced on May 9, 2017. This is the first and largest component of the fund. There will also be an Innovation Fund and a Capacity Building component with details to be announced at a later date.

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Public Engagement Catalyst Forum

The Inter-Council Network hosted an amazing group of public engagement practitioners from across Canada to share knowledge and build connections. Topics ranged from art in social change movements, to applying a feminist approach, to engaging Canadians in mobilizing around the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The ICN's wonderful collection of resources on public engagement can be found on the Global Hive.

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Souther Speakers Symposium Fund Recipient 2017

We are pleased to announce that Alice Mugisho Musimwa from East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights (ECAAIR) is this year’s recipient of ACIC’s Southern Speakers Fund. This Fund provides opportunities for Southern partners to dialogue with Atlantic Canadians on issues and demonstrate impact of efforts in international cooperation. Alice will be joining us for ACIC’s annual symposium in Sackville, NB June 15-17th. We believe that Alice will add valuable perspective and make a significant contribution towards this year’s symposium theme of “Common Concern – Standing Together as Global Citizen”. 

Alice Mugisho Musimwa has worked with the East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights since 2010 as a coordinator of a team of six Human Rights Advocates working to defend the rights of vulnerable women and children particularly girls victims of traumatic events in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This fiscal year alone, Ms. Alice and her team of advocates have provided legal counselling and defended over 500 cases of rape, sexual violence and children’s rights abuses in different courts in the country.

We were impressed by the quality of all of the applications that were received for the fund, making it no easy task for the selection committee to come to a decision. We wish to thank the members of ACIC’s symposium committee and the selection sub-committee for reviewing the applications and making the difficult decision.

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