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Plenert appeals to feds to reconsider KAIROS funding withdrawal

   

December 18, 2009
- Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — Janet Plenert, Executive Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, has learned that the federal government has abruptly ended its Canadian International Development Agency funding to KAIROS, an ecumenical peace and justice organization.

Mennonite Central Committee is a member of the ecumenical peace and justice organization. Plenert felt it was important to add the voice of Mennonite Church Canada to the many denominational and organizational partners already voicing concern over the funding withdrawal.

In a letter to Bev Oda, International Cooperation Minister, Plenert says, “By working via various proven partnerships around the world, KAIROS is able to multiply the benefit of the funding it generates and receives from the Canadian government. Full text of the letter can be found at www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1231.

Notice to KAIROS was given on Nov. 30. A project funding proposal spanning 2009-2013 had been approved at every level before being declined by CIDA, reports the KAIROS web site. The move effectively cuts in half KAIROS budget plans. KAIROS had been anticipating $7 million in funding from CIDA for international work in human rights work overseas.

In July, CIDA had informed KAIROS Executive Director Mary Corkery that the proposal was essentially approved and only needed the signature of Bev Oda, International Cooperation Minister. An official from Oda’s office told Corkery that KAIROS no longer fits CIDA priorities of food security, children and youth, and sustainable economic growth focused in 20 countries. CIDA has had a 35-year relationship with KAIROS.

KAIROS is inviting supporters to sign a petition at kairoscanada.org/en/.

Some of the organizations Kairos represents include the United, Anglican, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, and the Quakers.