Live from Ottawa

I'm coming to you live from the Ottawa Congress Center, where I am participating in the International Cooperation Days 2004, organized by CIDA. Today I've heard lectures about the UN Millenium Development Goals, which is the main focus of the conference, both in general, and focused on education and international health.

In education, WUSC presented an interesting project in Ghana, where they first developed and funded a project to increase participation of girls in primary education. The project, funded by CIDA, proved very successful, and but because of a change of priorities at CIDA, the project lost funding. WUSC subsequently tried to get the government of Ghana interested in taking over the project, and had at first received a very positive response, although run into a lot of practical difficulties, from which the speaker drew some "lessons" presented to us. However, I found the concept of going to a third world country, starting a project, and then having it integrated into the state sector, with the government paying for it, was a very interesting case of first world (NGO) influence on third world policy.

It reminds me of the Rockefeller Foundation's work in Mexico, and other countries, where they would only finance 10-20% of a programme's cost, but still remain in control of the policy - thus gaining strong leverage on a developing country's agenda, with a relatively small financial outlay. (See Anne Emanuelle-Birn, The Rockefeller Foundation: Public Health or Public Menace. Abstract.) (I am not at all critizing WUSC's project, I want to read more about it, but it sounds very interesting - however, I find it an interesting and important topic to be aware of.)

(I will probably write about other interesting points from the conference later.)

Stian

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