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February 05, 2013

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UVic and International Development in Africa

"Women for Change" crafts co-operative (UVic case study), Zambia

 It is International Development Week (Feb. 3-9), but longer-term funding sources are drying up all over the world. What are the implications for people in developing countries?

University of Victoria women’s studies professor and political scientist Dr. Laura Parisi, in partnership with the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA), a non-profit organization with project committees in southern Africa, is questioning how new funding models for development aid are affecting programs, specifically for women in Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania.

The two-year partnership research project, Responding to New International Development Aid Modalities: Identifying New Best Practices for Building Long-Term Sustainability in Human and Gender Rights International Development Organizations, received nearly $200,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) last year and will involve travel to Africa this spring to connect with key southern African stakeholders.

Human-rights non-governmental organizations continue to focus on long-term societal change such as education about violence against women. New funding models involve short-term, easily measurable goals such as an increase in vaccines administered or number of new wells in a community. “The new modalities are having a huge ripple effect in developing countries on funding they’re reliant upon from the global north,” says Parisi. She wants to produce a practical toolkit for effective and creative response to these challenges.

Parisi, VIDEA Executive Director Lynn Thornton and African gender organizations who are long-time VIDEA partners are working together to explore the implications of funding and policy shifts and to highlight effective solutions. UVic’s Centre for Co-operative and Community-Based Economy is supporting Parisi through a fellowship this fall. Other UVic collaborators include: Dr. Marlea Clarke (Political Science); Dr. Bill Carroll (Sociology); and Dr. Budd Hall (Public Administration).

SSHRC provided $198,000 in funding for a two-year period for this project. UVic’s Faculty of Humanities received two SSHRC partnership development grants last year; the other was awarded to the Modernist Versions Project in the Dept. of English.

International Development Week is held every year in the first full week of February.



The following images capture the types of gender- and human-rights projects under threat of reduced funding; both projects below involve women empowered to work together as equal partners with men. UVic is doing a case study on the crafts co-operative; the baskets are imported by VIDEA for sale in Global Village, Victoria, BC.

Small-scale agricultural project. Lundazi District, Zambia. Photo credit: VIDEA (2009)
Green beans agricultural product. Lundazi District, Zambia. Photo credit: VIDEA (2009)
Crafts producers co-operative. Senanga District, Zambia. Photo credit: VIDEA (2009)

  Media Contacts:

Dr. Laura Parisi (Dept. of Women’s Studies) at lparisi@uvic.ca
Lynn Thornton (Executive Director, VIDEA) at 250-704-9090 or lthornton@videa.ca
Tara Sharpe (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6248 or tksharpe@uvic.ca

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UVic is celebrating its 50th anniversary from Sept. 2012 to June 2013. Visit www.uvic.ca/anniversary for more info.

VIDEA is celebrating its 35th anniversary from Jan. 2013 to Dec. 2013. Visit www.videa.ca for more info

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(image: fern)