Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

international.gc.ca

Five-year Review of Rights Democracy (Programs and Activities)

(August 2008)

(PDF Version, 799 KB) *


Executive Summary

Rights Democracy (R D) is a non-partisan Canadian organization with an international mandate. It was created by an Act of Canada's Parliament on September 30, 1988. R D's work is based on the International Bill of Human Rights and its objectives are to encourage and support the universal values of human rights and the promotion of democratic institutions and practices in Canada and around the world.

Active in thirteen key countries, R D focuses its activities on four themes: Democratic Development (DD), Economic and Social Rights, Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Women's Rights.

The Five-Year Review is conducted in line with the requirements of Article 31, Paragraph 2 of the Act establishing the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (IHRDD), now called Rights and Democracy, which stipulates that: "Within one year after the fourth anniversary of the coming into force of this Act, and every five years thereafter, the Minister shall cause a review and report to be made of the Centre's activities and organization."

This Review covers the period from FY 2002-03 to FY 2007-08, and was managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

Objectives and Methodology

Through a detailed analysis of six R D programs, the evaluation examined the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of R D as well as the progress accomplished in implementing the recommendations of the previous Five-Year Review covering the period 1997-2002.

Data gathering involved 206 interviews with R D employees and representatives from DFAIT, the Canadian International Development Agency and members of Canada's Parliament. Four observer missions were also organized (Haiti, Morocco, Winnipeg and Toronto) and 480 documents analyzed.

Summary of Findings from the R D Five-Year Review

The overall results of this Review / Organizational Evaluation are positive. The data gathered and interviews held with various stakeholders in Canada and in partner countries have confirmed the effectiveness and relevance of R D's activities in the field, as well as their compliance with R D's mission.

The R D five-year review generated observations that were categorized under the following themes: relevance, strategy and governance, program implementation and management approaches, program effectiveness and results, and program efficiency. The major findings are as follows:

  • R D's programming has evolved and its quality has improved over the 2003-2008 period while remaining aligned with the primary mission of R D as stated in the original Act.
  • The R D niche consists of the interface between human rights and democratic development. This interface is sometimes misunderstood or poorly accepted within R D and by some stakeholders.
  • Projects and activities led by R D generally address the overall issues and needs identified by partner countries. Without straying from its non-partisan approach, R D's programming has made a positive contribution to Canada's role in the area of human rights and democratic development on the international stage.
  • R D has developed a coherent multi-year strategy; however work climate sensitivities within the organization during the past five years have detracted efforts from the implementation of this strategy.
  • R D's programming is managed according to accountability principles and best management practices for the sector. R D is becoming increasingly focused on the principles of results-based management. The application of these principles varies by theme and activity. Unfortunatly, R D's thematic areas are still managed in silos, which limits the projects' scope and influence.
  • R D's programs have produced tangible results for groups of individuals and sometimes for entire organizations. However, despite the increased funding, less results have been noted in the area of democratic development(DD) where the spinoffs of the various DD projects remain uneven.
  • Despite increased budgets over the past five years, the percentage of administrative costs in relation to the program budget has varied little and remains within the standards for this type of organziations. The current financial system allows for sound financial monitoring of program budgets and broader thematic areas, but not of the specific activities and projects within them.
  • Lastly, R D has made a considerable effort to implement the recommendations of the previous Five-Year Review; however, implementation of some recommendations started only in early 2008, and this Review could not analyze the effectivness of the process.

Relevance and Appropriateness of R D

R D has changed its programming to make it more relevant to current world issues in the areas of human rights and democratic development and to the specific needs of its partners. Through additional funding, R D has developed a coherent DD strategy, and launched the R D Network in 2004 to stimulate and support research on DD, human rights and public education in Canada and abroad.

Over the past five years, following the recommendations of the 2003 Review, R D has tried to narrow down its thematic niche, which is now being defined as the interface between DD and human rights. Without sacrificing its non-partisan approach, R D has maintained a productive dialogue with all political groups in Canada and aligned its major priorities with those of the Canadian government.

Strategy and Governance

In 2005, R D developed a coherent multi-year strategy but its implementation, unfortunately, was slowed by its corporate climate. This strategy, developed collaboratively and presented in the document "Programme 2005-2010," was welcomed by all R D constituents. Some of the most positive advances incorporated in this strategy include: clarification of the organization's niche, a gradual reduction in the number of partner countries, diversification of institutional alliances and funding sources in Canada and internationally, projects geared to medium-term results and lastly, a gradual transition to results-based management.

Rights and Democracy has responded to the recommendations of the 2003 Review; however, the implementation of two of these recommendations, namely the development of an exit strategy and the creation of a Director of Communications position, did not begin until 2008.

Program Implementation and Management Approaches

R D's programs are managed according to best practices in the areas of human rights and democratic development. To the extent that its resources allow (both human and financial), R D has been supporting its partners on a long-term basis while demonstrating a good understanding of the local realities and attention to local needs, mainly due to the rich experience and skills of its experts and program managers.

R D has changed its programming management approaches to make them more accountable at each step of the project cycle. It has, therefore developed a results-based approach for most of its projects and programs, and has gradually developed an organizational culture of evaluation despite some initial resistance to the creation of an evaluator's position within R D. Project monitoring and financial management at R D have become more rigorous; however, despite this positive progress, R D's programs still operate in silos, reflecting the remnants of an organizational culture ill-disposed to dialogue.

Program Effectiveness and Results

The review reached a positive conclusion concerning the overall results attained by the six programs reviewed in this report. These results appear at three levels:

  • Individual change (or changes in groups of individuals): Most of the results achieved can be situated at this level, especially in terms of capacity building in the areas of advocacy, public awareness of DD themes and changes in the mentalities and behaviour of R D's partners.
  • Organizational change: Various important changes occurred, including the strengthened capacities of civil society organizations in networking, strategic thinking and engaging in dialogues with government structures.
  • Institutional change: Less frequently observed because of the low-profile of R D's activities, some institutional changes nevertheless occurred, especially in Africa, where action by the R D Coalition led to certain legislative bills on violence against women.

More specifically, R D's programs produced the following results:

R D's programming in China:

The choice of China as a country of intervention is relevant given China's strategic role and controversial track record on human rights and democratic development issues. R D's projects in China have led to some interesting results despite the limited resources invested in a country of such magnitude. For example, through the China Labour Bulletin, many imprisoned workers were defended and subsequently released. R D's programming in China is based on a two-pronged approach, one geared towards working with the centre of power, and the other with grassroots organizations. This dual approach is still perceived as controversial by R D's staff and some external stakeholders.

R D's programming in Haiti:

With its new office in Port-au-Prince, R D can now implement various programs with one of Canada's major partners. R D's programming in Haiti is particularly relevant to the country and its activities, and R D's advocacy training is increasingly in demand. However, the evaluation of R D's programming in Haiti pointed to a few weaknesses: the initial investment should have been more sustained, the time frames - more generous, and the training facilitation model should have been less ambitious given the resources invested. CIDA's slowness in renewing R D's funding for Haiti has put at risk the outcome of many years of persistent work and networking.

R D's programming in Morocco:

A geographic portal to the Arabic-speaking world, Morocco has been a wise choice. However, the results of R D's activities in this country have been mixed. On the one hand, R D was able to achieve tangible results (awareness training, publications and sharing best practices related to certain electoral processes used in Quebec). On the other hand, the annual R D conference on democratic development that took place in Casablanca, failed to produce the anticipated results. The pilot program, currently implemented in Morocco and geared towards small-scale projects for marginalized youth needs careful monitoring since its benefits are still unproven. Generally, the overall programming approach to Morocco seems to lack coherency and a strategic vision.

R D Network:

After five years in operation, the R D Network remains a relevant tool for raising awareness among the Canadian public about human rights. The Network's activities are well-organized and innovative; they foster networking and reach thousands of young Canadian university students every year. Nevertheless, the Network's vision remains confined to a somewhat elitist academic environment and endures major competition from better established organizations, such as Amnesty International. In addition, the decentralization of the Network across Canada demands a different management approach than the one currently used.

Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations:

This unique structure, funded by R D but managed by women volunteers, responds to a growing need for solutions to violence against African women (often forgotten) in war zones. The Coalition has been offering high quality services for over ten years, highly praised for the dedication and perseverance of its members. Many success stories were brought to the attention of the evaluation team, including the use of amicus curiae, training for Rwandan judges, cooperation with the United Nations Special Rapporteur, etc. Despite its success record, the Coalition could face a major problem due to the lack of a succession policy, both among its members or within R D.

Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund (UAIO):

As the name suggests, this Fund has been established to ensure a proactive response to crisis situations through funds amounting to approximately 10% of R D's program budgets. While a number of relevant projects have successfully been implemented through the UAIO Fund and have met the expectations of international partners, this organizational structure continues to provoke strong criticism within R D, since its project selection and decision-making mechanisms are often perceived as discretionary, if not discriminatory.

Program Efficiency

Financial data show that R D remains an efficient organization even though it now manages a budget twice the size of its 2002 budget. The percentage of the administrative costs compared to the total budget has varied a little over the past five years and remains below the fifteen percent (15%) mark, which is reasonable. Financial monitoring data for programs have revealed no abnormalities, and submitted reports are in compliance with the accounting requirements. At the project level, however, monitoring is still problematic due to the absence of more detailed financial data. Furthermore, the cost-benefit ratio for some activities is disparate but R D currently pays too little attention to this variable in its project selection procedures.

Lastly, during the 2003-2008 period, financial contributions apart from core funding increased from $565,647 in 2003 to $1,492,939 in 2007. This additional funding was provided by the government of Canada, private sources and Foundations.

Recommendations

The recommendations arising from this review do not suggest any major changes in R D's programming direction, rather adjustments to and improvements of its current activities.

Recommendation for the Government of Canada

Recommendation 1:
In light of the observations arising from this review, it is recommended that the Government of Canada consolidate the core funding mechanisms for R D to facilitate the planning and implementation of its activities on a multi-year basis.

The 2003 Five-Year Review recommended that the Government of Canada increase R D funding. This recommendation was approved by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in December 2004 and resulted in increased R D budget through funding granted by CIDA. Despite the increased funding, CIDA's grant disbursement procedures, based on an annual allocation, considerably limit R D's ability to perform its strategic planning over a multi-year horizon. The Government of Canada should consider replacing the current funding system, which involves two departmental entities, with a consolidated, single-source funding system administered by DFAIT.

Recommendations for Rights Democracy

Recommendation 2:
While the current program orientation can be maintained, the program management approaches and strategies will need special attention and adjustments in the coming months.

The findings arising from this review indicate improved coherency of R D's programming activity, largely stemming from the recommendations of the 2003 Five-Year Review, as well as the use of management mechanisms based on the principles of accountability. Nevertheless, R D's management is strongly encouraged to take into consideration the specific findings of this Review and, in particular, the findings and the conclusions of the six case studies, such as the need for:

  • A more precise selection or adjustment of management strategies and approaches to the specific types of projects (pilot project, short- or longer-term projects, etc.);
  • Sound justification, better clarity and understanding across R D of decisions concerning the balance between democratic development and the remaining program activities;
  • Implementation of the exit strategy approved by the Board in March 2008;
  • Rigorous analysis and reflection on the findings of the six case studies, and development of action plans for each program in consultation with the respective program officers.
Recommendation 3:
R D needs to review its organizational chart and methods of work to enable cross-cutting initiatives and exchange of information across program areas to improve the synergy and coherency of its programs.

Interviews with R D employees have indicated that the organizational structure was amended in 2008 and four new positions were created to support the development of an overarching vision and cross-cutting strategy to program management. This is an encouraging sign and a definite step forward towards sharing of results and lessons learned among the various R D programs and initiatives.

In reality, R D will have to grow beyond this structural change and gradually create a culture of sharing which, in any organization, demands a climate of trust. The evaluation team cannot claim that such a climate has already been established within R D. Interviews with R D staff indicated that program officers continue to be protective of their programs and reluctant to share information and best practices. This seems to be a long-standing culture at R D that has not changed despite the comments and recommendations made in the two previous five-year reviews.

Recommendation 4:
R D needs to establish a system allowing the collection of more accurate financial and operational data for each program and project to enable a decision-making process based on a better cost-benefit analysis.

While R D's financial reports meet all accounting requirements and the need to report on activities to various sponsors and stakeholders, the Finance Division is encouraged to gather and monitor financial data that are currently not gathered and monitored on a regular basis for all programs and individual projects. R D is strongly encouraged to start the collection of such data for all programs. This will enable program managers to better understand the scope of their initiatives, and will support a more transparent decision-making and program approval process.

Recommendation 5:
Rights Democracy needs to strengthen its public relations and improve its image among the Canadian public, in order to remedy the negative press publicity received during the past year.

Despite the overall positive data gathered during the review process, the review team also encountered respondents concerned with the negative publicity in Canada and the ability of R D to rise above it and improve its image. While this publicity and the tense organizational climate have tarnished R D's image over the past year, recent management changes, as well as the introduction of more effective and transparent decision-making and planning practices could eventually quell the criticism directed at R D. These factors will also enable R D to position itself as a credible, non-partisan organization capable of fulfilling its mission - a mission whose relevance no one would challenge.

This public relations role designed to improve R D's image should be incorporated in each thematic area in order to revitalize all programs and ensure that the Canadian public clearly understands their purpose and expected results. In this regard, the creation of a new position - Director of Communications - is seen as an excellent opportunity for R D to include a specific thrust in its communication strategy that will attract positive public attention and re-instate R D's positive image.

Top of Page


Acronyms

CIDA
Canadian International Development Agency
BD
Board of Directors
CCIC
Canadian Council for International Cooperation
CCPA
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
HRC
Human Rights Council
CONAP
Coordination nationale pour le plaidoyer pour les droits des femmes
IDRC
International Development Research Centre
ID
Rights Democracy
DD
Democratic Development
HR
Human Rights
FAC
Africa-Canada Forum
UAIOF
Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund
MBR
Management by results
GARR
Groupe d'appui aux rapatriés et réfugiés
APG
Americas Policy Group
DFAIT
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
NDI
National Democratic Institute
NEPAD
New Partnership for Africa's Development
OAS
Organization of American States
NGO
Non-governmental organization
DRC
Democratic Republic of the Congo
ToR
Terms of reference

Top of Page


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Overview and Objectives

This Five-Year Review of Rights Democracy has been conducted inline with the requirements of Section 31, Sub-section 2 of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development Act (currently called R D or the "Centre") and examines R D's activities from March 2003 to March 2008. Where relevant, it also reflects some of the changes that have occurred in the Center by June 2008 and might have already been addressed in some of the recommendations.

This Review essentially pertains to R D's program performance and refers to organizational issues only to the extent to which they influence the management and implementation of R D's programs.

The overall objectives of the Review are:

  1. To provide the Parliament with an independent evaluation of R D's activities; and
  2. To enable R D to maintain, improve and enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of its work in promoting Human Rights (HR) and support for Democratic Development (DD).

Following a thorough analysis of six R D programs(1) and other programming documentation, this Review has assessed the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of R D's programs and activities, as well as the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2002 Five-Year Review.(2) The following specific objectives have guided this review process:

  • Determine the extent to which R D's programmes and policies are congruent with its mandate, correspond to its partners' needs, and are relevant to Canada's international priorities in the area of human rights and democratic development, and more specifically:
    • assess the efficiency of the approach taken by R D in "linking" democratic development to human rights;
    • assess the relationship between "thematic work" and "geographic focus" in R D programmes;
    • review the appropriateness of the newly adopted project and country selection criteria, as well as their consistent application to new projects;
  • Determine the role of R D in supporting Canada's democratic development (DD) agenda;
  • Evaluate R D's effectiveness, including achievements and success in the area of democratic development;
  • Assess the efficiency and the value for money of R D's programs based on a sample of six priority programs and case studies;
  • Identify lessons learned from the implementation of R D programs to date and to provide recommendations for further improvements.

To meet the requirements of this mandate, the review team has organized this report as follows: following this introduction, section 2 describes the methodology used to perform the review; section 3 explains the findings generated by the data analyzed and is organized under the following categories: relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. The next section describes the progress accomplished to date in implementing the recommendations of the 2002 five-year review. Lastly, the final section contains the findings, lessons learned and recommendations for the future.

1.2 R D Description

Rights Democracy, formerly known as the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, is a non-partisan Canadian organization with an international mandate. The organization was created by an Act of Canada's Parliament on September 30, 1988. R D's work is based on the International Bill of Human Rights and its objectives are to encourage and support the universal values of human rights and promote democratic institutions and practices around the world. In general, R D strives to promote human rights and democratic development as well as collaboration with individuals, organizations and governments in Canada and abroad.

R D has organized its efforts around four major themes:

  1. Democratic development: pursues objectives that foster the establishment of democratic practices, institutions and culture by supporting civil society participation and strengthening mechanisms designed to protect human rights.
  2. Economic and social rights: aims to narrow the gap between the actual practices of states and their formal adhesion to international human rights agreements, as well as to promote a human rights approach to development issues.
  3. Indigenous peoples' rights: a theme designed to enhance the recognition and enforcement of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national, regional and international levels.
  4. Women's rights: strives to foster leadership by women and their involvement in civil society based on a number of approaches.

In addition, six special initiatives complement R D's thematic work, in particular:

  1. The Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund
  2. The Solidarity Fund
  3. The John Humphrey Freedom Award
  4. The Rights Democracy Network
  5. Human Rights and Security
  6. The Annual Rights Democracy Conference

R D's work focuses on thirteen key countries, selected by a number of criteria, including their geographic location, to ensure adequate representation of every hemisphere, as follows:

  • Africa: Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan and Zimbabwe
  • Americas: Bolivia, Colombia and Haiti
  • Asia: Afghanistan, Burma, China and Indonesia
  • Middle East/North Africa: Jordan and Morocco

R D also works at the regional and international levels with the Organization of American States (OAS), the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and the Human Rights Council.

R D works in cooperation with various partners including civil society organizations, government institutions and international organizations. The Centre enjoys a unique status and fulfills the role of a facilitator of the dialogue between governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Canada and abroad.

R D currently employs 42 people. It also has one employee in the Geneva office, six in the Port-au-Prince office and eighteen in its office in Afghanistan. R D is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Directors (Board), including three international members. R D's funding is primarily supplied by DFAIT and CIDA through the international development assistance budget.

1.3 Rights Democracy

The R D internal situation has undergone various changes since the last Five-Year Review. The following sections summarise these changes.

Leadership Change and Increased Financial Resources

The start of this Five-Year Review period (2003) coincides with the end of the mandate of the President of R D appointed in 1997. At the time, the organization's budget was approximately $4.9 million per year advanced through Parliamentary credits. In 2002, a new President was appointed and remained in the position until 2007. In December 2007, an Acting President was leading the organization with the cooperation of the Chairperson of the Board until the current President's appointment in June 2008. In 2006-2007, the Parliamentary credit amounted to $8.6 million. As Table 1.1 shows, the budget allocated to R D projects has increased steadily since 2003 and currently stands at slightly more than $10 million per year. This increased funding is partly due to core funding allocated to R D by CIDA since 2005 in addition to DFAIT's core funding.

Table 1.1 Overview of R D Projects and 2002-2007 Budget*
YearExpenditures - Programs and ActivitiesGeneral AdministrationAdministrative ExpensesTotal Operating Costs
2002–
2003
$4,857,654 $599,374 11 %$5,457,028 
2003–
2004
$5,692,919$622,874 10 %$6,315,793 
2004–
2005
$6,071,653 $637,551 10 %$6,709,204 
2005–
2006
$7,844,098 $766,086 9 %$8,610,184 
2006–
2007
$9,449,510 $1,240,60512 %$10,690,15 

* Source: Annual Reports

New Programming Approaches

Over the last five years, R D has explored various programming approaches, choosing specific aspects for its interventions and adjusting them to the particular issues, regions and countries in question. R D often combines its efforts with other organizations pursuing similar objectives through joint interventions. Some of the more significant changes and those most frequently mentioned by R D staff and external observers include but are not limited to: a more focused programming, more careful country selection, a new strategic framework of the Democratic Development theme, and the opening of regional offices.

Results-Based Management (RBM)

In a development context, RBM fosters interventions based on a logical model of inputs, activities, outputs and impacts at various levels: macro, meso and micro. Since the last Five-Year Review, R D has endeavoured to use RBM in a number of projects and interventions, especially in monitoring and reviewing expected results.

Top of Page


2.0 Methodology

The starting point for the review was an evaluation matrix allowing the review team to develop a methodology suited to the evaluation questions and sub-questions.

Programs Reviewed

Six programs were identified as case studies for this Five-Year Review. These programs were selected based on their local, national and international scope. They also had to adequately represent R D's thematic areas.(3) To avoid duplication, the selection process examined all internal and external reviews completed since 2003. Three programs were explored as case studies including two field missions, while three others involved a detailed documentary review along with interviews by telephone or in person. The selected programs were:

  • Case study on the R D Network;
  • Documentary review of the Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund;
  • Documentary review of support for R D within the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations (Women's Program);
  • Case study on R D activities and programs in Morocco;
  • Case study on democratic development projects in Haiti; and
  • Documentary review of R D programs and activities in China.

These case studies by no means comprise an exhaustive review of the various programs since only a few projects for each program could be examined in depth. However, the concrete examples of these studies greatly contribute to the objectivity of this report's findings.

Data Sources

Data gathering for this five-year review took place from January to April 2008.

Reviews and in-depth analysis were performed of documents provided by program officers and R D documents available on line. The publications reviewed and analyzed included, among others, the Annual R D Reports, project plans, draft reports and final project reports. Additional research and documentation on human rights and democratic development was also used to developing performance indicators.

Interviews were held with key persons referred by R D and DFAIT. The contacts interviewed represented various R D programs, the R D Board of Directors, DFAIT and CIDA. Other persons working for NGOs, research institutes, universities and students were also interviewed.

Two field missions were also organised: one in Haiti from February 18 to 22, 2008, and one in Morocco from March 9 to 17, 2008.

Trips to Winnipeg and Toronto allowed the review team to attend activities organized by the R D Network. The first visit was to Glendon College in Toronto from February 27 to March 2, 2008. A second visit took place from March 7 to 9, 2008 in Winnipeg to various campuses in the region.

Data Collection

Data collection relied on semi-structured in-person or telephone interviews.

Group interviews were also organized with R D's project recipients and beneficiaries. Group interviews were held in Haiti with managers and grassroots organizations who had received the R D advocacy training and with student members of the R D Network. Lastly, field information was gathered during the missions to Haiti, Morocco, and within Canada.

Data Analysis

Information was first analyzed by triangulation of all compiled data. The triangulation process helped consolidate the findings by checking the validity of information collected from several sources.

The data analysis and major findings were also reviewed by a human rights and democratic development expert who joined the team and could offer comparisons with other organizations pursuing the same mission as R D.

Finally, other methods, such as the incorporation of research and best practices, specifically on the issues of democratic development and human rights programs, were also used. Research and findings from various publications, such as "Taking the Pulse of Evaluation on International Democracy Assistance: Evaluation Approaches and Choices" by Ging Wong.(4)

The Democratic Development program review required a specific approach due to the challenges of establishing the cause and effect relationship for certain results, as well as the fact that evidence of democratic development changes requires a longer time period to materialize. Therefore, for the purposes of this Review, a combination of methodological approaches was used, such as comparing participatory and retroactive feedback on results with existing quantitative performance indicators.

Following the data analysis and the conclusion for each case study, the review team developed respective recommendations.

Limitations

In performing this Review, the team encountered a number of limitations. Fore example, due to the considerable level of effort and time that a comprehensive review of all countries and programs would have required, the evaluation focused on a sample of only six programs, identified either as challenging or not recently evaluated. Despite the small sample of projects reviewed, most of the results are overarching and representative of R D's overall program planning, management and implementation practices.

The nature of R D's work presented another limitation to the review process, making it somewhat difficult to assess the contribution to themes as far-reaching as human rights and democratic development. Furthermore, attributing results and changes to a single program or activity in this area was also a challenging task. For that reason, the data analysis required the use of methodologies specific to R D's field of work. The analytical approach used in this Review and in the case studies considered primarily the democratic development perspective, as required by the terms of reference.

The review process faced additional challenges due to the fact that not all project-related documents were readily available. In some cases, documents that should normally be completed and compiled in the course of each project apparently did not exist.

Finally, in some cases, it was impossible to speak with the players involved in certain R D projects, due to sensitivities and the need to protect persons involved in human rights advocacy.

Top of Page


3.0 The Relevance and Usefulness of R D

The review of the relevance of R D's programs required a more focused analysis of the extent to which the various programs and policies, especially those included in the case studies, are congruent with R D's mandate, correspond to its partners' needs, and reflect Canada's international priorities in the area of human rights and democratic development.

Interview results and the analysis of a considerable number of R D's programs and activities confirmed the relevance of these programs but also highlighted the unique nature of the organization's mandate. Further observations, however, indicated that this uniqueness is not always clearly conveyed or communicated. As a result, awareness of R D's mandate remains fragmented, especially in Canada.

Finding 1:
R D's programming has evolved and its quality has improved over the 2003-2008 period while remaining aligned with the primary mission of R D as stated in the original Act.

According to Section 4 of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development Act (1988), "The objects of the Centre are to initiate, encourage and support cooperation between Canada and other countries in the promotion, development and strengthening of democratic and human rights institutions and programs that give effect to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights, including, among those rights (…)."

Section 4 further states that: "A major object of the Centre is to help reduce the wide gap that sometimes exists between the formal adherence of states to international human rights agreements and the actual human rights practices of those states." (5)

The same section adds that R D responsibilities fall into three categories:

  1. support developmental programs and activities for the benefit of developing countries;
  2. support programs and activities for the benefit of countries other than developing countries; and
  3. foster and support research and education, discourse, the exchange of information and collaboration among people and institutions in Canada and other countries.

The centre's activities can be broadly summarized as follows: support training programs, stimulate and subsidize research, support or organize seminars, workshops or other meetings, conduct activities through external agencies and support information centres or institutions for activities related to R D's mission.

Some changes occurred between 2003 and 2008, which allowed R D to more effectively meet its mission and legislated objectives. Since its inception, R D has pursued a fairly broad mandate based on four major themes: democratic development, economic and social rights,(6) indigenous people's rights and women's rights. The Center also pursues a number of special initiatives mentioned earlier. While the four major themes remain relevant, following the recommendations of previous reviews, R D has made the decision to reduce the number of countries where its programs and activities are implemented to thirteen. The selection of these thirteen countries has been based on a number of criteria, including geographic coverage, e.g. at least three countries on each continent. In terms of programming, R D has also developed its strategic objectives for 2005-2010, now incorporated into a document of fundamental importance in R D programming.

The review and analysis of R D's programming indicates that throughout the years, R D has been adapting and bringing its strategy in compliance with the Act that established the Centre. In fact, a special strategy was developed to allow R D to meet its democratic development mission. The development of this DD strategy has allowed R D to review and reallocate resources where necessary between the democratic development theme and the rest of the themes. At present, the DD budget is considerably higher than that allocated to the other themes. (See Table 6.1 on comparative budget changes per theme, Section 6 - Effectiveness and Programming Results.) These greater resources have also led to the creation of a 10-member team working on the DD theme.

In June 2006, specific strategies were developed for each country and are currently being implemented in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

According to the third responsibility enshrined in the Act, R D must stimulate and support research and education in Canada and abroad. This requirement has led to the creation in 2004 of the R D Network, designed to initiate and promote activities in Canadian universities in support of human rights and democracy.

Also, the Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund (UAIOF) was created by the Board of Directors in 2000 to ensure resources for quick response to humanitarian crises or major political events, outside R D's regular budget.

All of these programming changes, designed to improve program alignment, were largely made possible through the increased funding allocated to the Centre, which almost doubled from $4.8 million in 2002-2003 to $10 million in 2005-2006. The number of R D employees also increased almost twice, from 27 to 42, not including local employees in the Port-au-Prince, Kabul and Geneva offices.

Finding 2:
R D projects and activities generally address the global issues and needs identified by partner countries.

Overall, democratic development and human rights are two main areas on which international donors and developing countries are focusing their efforts. In fact, there is a wide recognition that a transparent democracy contributes to human rights protection and, at the same time, to a lasting reduction of poverty. In this regard, some developing countries have taken the initiative to consolidate their efforts. For example, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) aims to achieve sustainable growth and development in Africa by focusing on a few areas, such as governance, peace and security. Along the same lines, the Organization of American States (OAS) has also instituted an Inter-American Democratic Charter which stipulates that representative democracy is vital to the stability, peace and development of the region.(7)

The decision to focus its work primarily on thirteen developing countries has obliged R D to select these countries based on strict criteria, including their human rights issues and democratic development needs. According to many interviewees, R D has conducted an effective selection process. China, Morocco and Haiti are good examples of how some major issues were taken into consideration, e.g., the rise of China, the need to remain attuned to the Arabic-speaking world and the need to work with the poorest countries in the Americas.

All partners in Haiti, interviewed for the purposes of this Review, expressed the strong belief that advocacy training activities, the work on personal identification and the Vague du futur project are all central to national concerns and respond to a real need. In support of this claim was also the finding that the current demand for this type of activity in Haiti exceeds the supply. Interviews with local beneficiaries of R D's programs attested to the positive impact of all related initiatives.

Numerous interviews with R D staff and external stakeholders, along with document reviews, provided sufficient evidence of the relevance of R D's work in China. Despite its size and geopolitical influence, China is still not inclined to promote democratic development and human rights. For that reason, strengthening the capacity of NGOs or institutions working in the human rights field is deemed completely reasonable.

Interviewees also indicated that R D's decision to intervene in Morocco was strategic and warranted. Partners in Morocco also confirmed that there was a genuine need for R D's initiatives; however, they also voiced concerns about insufficient resources with which these initiatives are implemented.

The main objective of the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations is to ensure that perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence are adequately prosecuted by transitional justice systems based in Africa in order to create precedents that recognize violence against women in conflict situations, and to help women survivors of sexual violence obtain justice.

The last case study found that many projects funded by UAIOF originated upon a request for assistance from a partner or organization outside R D. These projects were designed to respond to a real need expressed by countries or organisation and therefore were deemed relevant.

Finding 3:
R D's niche can be described as the interface between human rights and democratic development. However, this interface is often either misunderstood or poorly accepted.

Many Canadian and international stakeholders pointed to the unique nature of R D. Among other things, some interviewees were able to clarify the specific role of R D and its contribution not only in Canada but also on the international scene through the blend of democratic development and human rights approaches. The DD literature is sufficiently clear in this regard, and confirms the importance of connecting these two important components of good governance.

During the 2003-2008 period, R D reoriented its DD programming by injecting additional resources to increase the number of staff working in this area, to strengthen its analytical process and to develop a strategy for its DD activities. This new direction (see Finding 15) created some tension within R D. Some employees questioned the usefulness of these investments, while others feared that resources for their programs would diminish, even though no program budgets were reduced.

While the uniqueness of R D' programming and approaches seems less clear in Canada, it is well recognized by R D's international partners. The interviews conducted in Canada, especially with representatives from the two government entities that fund R D (DFAIT and CIDA) suggest that R D's activities and their unique features are not always properly understood. Some of the stakeholders had a very partial knowledge of R D, and the important role it plays in area of DD and human rights. Although the R D mandate does not include promotional activities within Canada, the Centre would gain from becoming better known.

Finding 4:
While remaining non-partisan, R D's programming is making a positive contribution to Canada's role in the area of human rights and support for democratic development on the international scene.

One of the fundamental principles guiding R D's work is unquestionably the fact that the organization is completely non-partisan and maintains a dialogue with representatives from all political parties. Over the past five years, R D has maintained ongoing ties with four different governments.

Two of the major collaborators of Rights and Democracy within the federal government are DFAIT and CIDA. Other departments also collaborate with R D occasionally, such as the Department of Justice, Canadian Heritage and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

This collaboration is also strengthened through the resources provided to R D. For example, DFAIT ensures R D's core funding along with CIDA. However, R D has to apply every year for funding renewal from CIDA, which is also subject to ministerial approval. This situation can be a stumbling block for R D since it impedes long-term planning and demands considerable preparation. The collaboration of R D with governments and institutions is also evident through the multiple special events and R D's participation in certain Parliamentary committees, (e.g., R D's participation in 2006 in the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Parliamentary Committee in relation to Canada's role in Haiti).

The working priorities of R D are in compliance with Canada's international priorities. R D's programming and activities are aligned with DFAIT's 2007-2008 priorities, and in particular to Priority #3, stipulating: "Greater international support for freedom and security, democracy, rule of law, human rights and environmental stewardship."(8) Major R D projects in the area of human rights and democratic development are implemented in two of Canada's priority countries, namely Afghanistan and Haiti. In both places, R D has opened offices that significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its activities.

Although R D works in close collaboration with the government, it also enjoys considerable autonomy and relative independence. As an arm's length organization, R D is able to engage in activities that may sometimes diverge from the vision of the Canadian government. This non-partisan element, gives R D certain flexibility and the maneuvering room it needs to intervene effectively in the fields of democratic development and human rights. Although this independence has caused certain frictions in the past, many interviewees believed that, R D and the Canadian government should not be critical of each other.

Strategy and Governance

The previous Five-Year Review recommended major changes in R D's strategy, and in particular pointed to the fact that the Centre should not continue to spread its efforts geographically or thematically given its limited resources. Between 2002 and 2007, following this recommendation, R D has undertaken major steps towards reducing the number of priority countries, and introducing extensive changes to its policy.

3.1 Implementation of 2003 Five-year Review Recommendations

Finding 5:
R D has made notable progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2003 Five-Year Review.

The 2003 Five-Year Review made eight recommendations to R D along with certain recommendations intended for the Canadian government. The Chairperson of R D and his team, along with the Board of Directors, committed to address these recommendations. Generally, R D has made important advances, especially on the following items:

  • Clarify R D's niche: The recommendations of the 2003 Review asked R D to clarify its niche in order to determine what sets it apart from other organizations working in the same sector, and what are some of its comparative advantages. As shown in the insert above, the non-partisan nature and DD/human rights interface are the characteristics that distinguish R D from other Canadian organizations. Similar descriptions and assessments were also made by partners in the field.
  • Narrow R D's focus of work: This is unquestionably the area where R D has made its greatest strides since it had to institute a highly participatory process to identify its countries of intervention, in an organizational climate where everyone is extremely motivated and deeply attached to their own projects and certainly averse to any rationalization of countries of intervention. In the words of R D respondents, the process was slow but thoughtful, as it should be, and inclusive. Everyone was allowed to speak their mind -- partner countries and organizations, R D employees -- and the thirteen priority countries were indicated in the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan. Most of these thirteen countries received a general approval by staff members; however, countries such as Morocco and Mauritania provoked controversial opinions and overall disagreement. R D staff perceived these two countries as the "management preference," and this attitude is still persistent. Nevertheless, as R D is now required to manage a portfolio of less than twenty countries, the Centre has better opportunities to play a more prominent role on the international scene and generate more lasting results in each country.
  • Promote networking: As it was highly recommended that R D expand its networks to allow for inter-institutional synergy, the Centre has actively worked to form closer ties with comparable organizations, coalitions or associations. While, in the 1998-2002 review period,(9) R D had only three firmly established network partners, this Review identified at least ten solid partners, including various working groups with the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) such as: the Americas Policy Group (APG); Africa-Canada Forum (ACF); Food Security Policy Group; Asia Pacific Working Group; the Halifax Initiative; the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA); Common Frontiers; the Canadian NGO Committee for Burma; the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group; and, the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China. By joining these coalitions, which belong to organizations working in the same sector or for comparable causes,(10) R D has strengthened its presence and enhanced its visibility in Canada. By building on its collaboration with regional organizations, R D has also strengthened its image internationally. A few examples include but are not limited to the partnerships with the North-South Institute, Equitas and the Danish Institute. Rights and Democracy is also a founder and active participant in the Democracy Council. The Women's Program has also developed partnerships with the Gender and Peace Building Working Group (Canada), the Support to Women Living under Muslim Laws Network (international), the Great Lakes Round Table and the Coalition for Children in Conflict Situations (Canada).
  • Strengthen its culture and evaluation systems: See discussion of this item under Finding 10.
  • Diversify its funding sources: Following the recommendation for expanding R D's funding base and lower financial vulnerability, the actions of the former President allowed the Centre to diversify its fundraising base and make it less dependent on conventional sources. (See Table 6.3: Non-core funding contributions, in section 6 of this report.)
Finding 6:
Work on implementing some of the recommendations of the previous five-year review did not begin until 2008.

Some of the recommendations from the 2003 Review were, however, not implemented over the past few years. The current Review confirmed that R D has neither identified an optimal approach to pull out of certain countries, nor has it found a way to explain any changes in the programming approach to its partners. For example, in the case in Morocco, partners who had worked with R D on the democratic development study expressed concerns about R D's long silence and abrupt change in the programming approach without further explanations or notification of the partners.

Provided the limited financial resources that often confine R D to very short-term commitments, an exit strategy becomes even more important.(11) The Review team was informed that R D had submitted an exit strategy to the Board, which was approved in March 2008, and was ready for implementation. The exit strategy includes two components: the first deals with the decision to discontinue a program and the second, contains the actual exit strategies and procedures.(12)

Another recommendation of the 2003 Review was related to the need for R D to be better equipped to communicate with its Canadian and foreign partners in order to increase its visibility. Observations made during this Review indicated several communication weaknesses, all attributable to the lack of sufficient resources allocated to this activity. Although R D relies heavily on its Web site and the positive spinoffs of the John Humphrey Freedom Award(13) to boost its profile, this widely publicized event is not sufficient to reach the general public, government partners and association partners on an ongoing basis. Following this observation, a Director of Communications position has just been confirmed (June 2008) and an R D communication strategy is expected soon.

Finding 7:
R D has developed a coherent multi-year strategy; however the tense work climate has considerably hindered the application of this strategy.

R D had committed to develop a more coherent strategy to address the recommendations of the previous five-year review. As a result, a strategic plan entitled "Program 2005-2010" was developed in a participatory manner and, as requested by the Board of Directors, was reviewed in March 2008. The main characteristics of this strategic document are the geographic focus, the emphasis on the DD theme, the changes to be introduced in R D's programming (especially the reduced number of countries of intervention), the development of longer-term projects based on RBM, incorporation of local and municipal considerations in DD, and a field presence in Afghanistan, Haiti and Geneva.

Each component of the Strategic Plan was assessed as relevant, and interviews with Board members indicated that there was wide support for the new policy directions laid out in the Plan. It was evident from the Plan that the reduced number of countries would enable R D to invest more heavily in the countries where it intervenes; application of an RBM approach would help facilitate the identification, monitoring and evaluation of expected results, and the sensitivity to local and municipal factors would make the Plan consistent with certain Millennium Goals. Lastly, the decision to create a presence in certain countries usually addressed specific circumstances. For example, the establishment of a strategic observer in Afghanistan was based on the fact that Canada is deploying immense resources in a country where human rights violations remain a frequent occurrence. In Haiti, the goal was to resume contact with a partner country of R D and Canada, where the Government of Canada had invested a large portion of its cooperation funds aiming to help Haiti restore its path to democracy. Lastly, in 2007, R D opened an office in Geneva to follow and support the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), to maintain and strengthen its partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to facilitate and coordinate Canada's contributions to HRC, and to directly work with the major international non-governmental organizations (NGO) present in Switzerland.(14) The evaluation team assessed the opening of the Geneva office as consistent with R D's mission, given that the HRCis the main inter-governmental mouthpiece for the United Nations since 2006 on all human rights issues. The Geneva office is expected to provide opportunities in future years "to share information with Canadian NGOs, raise issues of general interest within the Council, and build closer ties with our partners at the regional and national levels in developing countries in order to strengthen international support for human rights."(15)

Finding 8:
R D manages various kinds of programs and projects (pilot projects, activities with leveraged funding, etc.) but does not sufficiently distinguish among the management methods each one requires.

Based on the analyses of the various programs, R D appears to have organized its strategy around at least four types of interventions, which represent an appropriate range of interventions for an organization with such a specific mandate and limited resources.

For example, through the Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund, R D has the capacity to respond to urgent situations or crises with resources specifically earmarked for this type of intervention. The budget available for this type of projects represents approximately 5% of the total R D program budget. This percentage, according to Board members and R D Management, is adequate and should remain the same. Despite the issues and the need for changes in the management of the Fund identified by this Review, the UAIO is deemed as an effective mechanism for quick response to special situations. Another means of intervention used by R D are the "leveraged activities," i.e., projects and activities for which R D leverages its resources (human and financial) with those of other organizations. A particular example is R D's collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on a project related to the visit of Moroccan political party leaders to Quebec during the provincial election campaign. R D has invested a small amount (approximately $10,000) in this project by offsetting part of the travel costs and assigning one R D employee to help manage and coordinate the program for the Moroccan delegation upon arrival in Canada. NDI representatives described this project as "a good example of cooperation." The review team had the opportunity to hear about similar examples of cooperation in Haiti, where the OAS acknowledged the "tangible support of R D for their OAS's initiatives to support the right to citizenship."

R D also implements pilot projects, i.e., smaller projects developed to test the feasibility of expected results and based on the assumption that future funding will be provided if there is sufficient evidence of success and results achieved. A recently developed project in Morocco aimed to support young marginalized people. This project, which contrasts the approaches previously used in Morocco, (e.g., the DD study), is still in its early stages of implementation. Upon its completion, R D has to determine whether the selected approach, activities and targets will produce sufficient benefits and results for the effort to be deemed cost-effective.

Based on their duration, R D's activities can also be categorized as short-, medium- and long-term projects. For example, the activities of the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations are long-term, and are administered and coordinated by R D's central office. Activities such as advocacy training can be defined as medium-term and are usually coordinated from R D's office in the country of implementation (e.g., Haiti). Last but not least, R D implements numerous short-term projects, e.g. visits by members of the Chinese Party, by representative of other partner countries, etc.

This differentiation between the activities is important since the different nature and duration of each project requires a different planning, management and implementation approach and accountability mechanisms. For example, given their suddenness, emergency interventions or special opportunities demand a more transparent and participative decision-making structure to avoid any potential complaints for nepotism or management preferences. Joint projects, based on leveraged funding, require special attention to the selection of the partner organization, the timing and coordination of the project activities to ensure maximum impact. Longer-term projects, such as those developed in Haiti demand a sustained effort to ensure the continuity of resources, ongoing corporate investment (unlike the case-by-case project approach) and a sound monitoring and evaluation system. Lastly, in addition to project resources, pilot projects demand initial resources to identify any development assumptions that require verification, additional resources during implementation to ensure effective operations, and post-project resources to verify the accuracy of assumptions. The Review team found that R D does not always apply a differentiated approach to the design, management, implementation and accountability for its various activities and types of projects.

Top of Page


4.0 Program Implementation and Management Approaches

In the 2003- 2008 period, R D's programming underwent a number of changes, such as the geographic targeting and expansion of the DD project portfolio, the introduction of additional mechanisms for reporting of project and program results, etc. One of the objectives of the Review team was to determine whether these approaches have been effective and to assess the extent to which R D's project management has been consistent with best practices for projects in the highly specific area of democratic development.

Document reviews and data gathered from interviews within R D and in the field revealed the generally positive programming steps made by R D. However, not all programs specifically analyzed for this review demonstrated the same rigor and consistency in the application of sound management principles and practices.

Finding 9:
R D's program- and project management follows accountability requirements; however, these principles are not always used rigorously and consistently.

Almost all R D programs(16) follow the process specified in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1 R D Project/Program Management Cycle

Program/Project Cycles diagram

Program and Project Design

Generally, each program has an annual plan specifying its objectives, schedule, roles and responsibilities and financial details. Based on this information and the available budget, R D's management reviews the annual plans for all programs and their alignment with the priorities of the Centre and the needs of the recipient country or organization. Some R D employees expressed concerns with the review process, and in particular the lack of consistency and transparency in the program and project approval process. The review of some program documents and annual plans, showed that in most of the cases the program documents were of good quality, however, the level of detail with regard to anticipated results, performance measures and indicators, varied considerably. In some cases, program descriptions were limited to a description of activities only and did not contain any strategic planning elements.

Within the programs, every project, is supposed to have a "Project Plan," which includes not only project identification information, but also the project objectives and the criteria used to establish them, the project partners and/beneficiaries, as well as performance indicators and baseline data for measuring results. This document also specifies whether the project will include a gender dimension, result in a publication, or be disseminated or publicized to the general public. Lastly, each project plan should specify the end-of-project strategy, identify potential problems and risks involved, and specify the funding mechanisms. A review of the basic data provided to the reviewers showed that with a few exceptions, the project data sheets were comprehensive and sufficiently detailed.

However, some concerns regarding the quality and systematization of indicators, and the articulation of expected results, must be noted. While the expected results are usually detailed, they can sometimes be difficult to measure in quantitative or qualitative terms. For example, the following description of results is typical of many of the project plans reviewed: "At the end of the project, the organizations will have a better understanding of the role of civil society, democratic governance and development."(17) This statement is too vague to allow for any evaluation of the progress achieved at the end of the project. The lack of baseline data is another problem confronting most of the projects, along with the lack of indicators for the anticipated changes (how will a better understanding of the role of civil society be evident?). The Review Team learned that R D has recently taken a few steps to improve this aspect of program and project management.

Compared to other development agencies active in the development field and evaluated in recent years (Commonwealth, Francophonie, etc.), R D's program planning can be described as solid and well-managed.

Project Implementation

Monitoring of project implementation primarily relies on mission reports by project managers and regular reports from the partner country or organization. The analysis of the mission reports for the programs reviewed under the case studies, indicated some discrepancies among the various programs: some were referring to the "project plan" when reporting on progress towards achieving objectives, others were sometimes diverging from the project plan and instead presenting the manager's impressions of the project quality with no systematic reference to commitments and achieved results. However, it is worth noting that the financial project monitoring in the six programs reviewed was performed with sufficient rigor applying a robust system budget reporting system.

Project and Program Evaluation

Evaluation of an organization's activities is often the weak link in projects and programs given the desire to invest resources in the proposed activities. In this regard, R D is no exception. However, being aware of the need to strengthen this aspect of its programming, R D has undertaken noteworthy steps in this direction.

Project and program evaluation at R D currently occurs through various mechanisms. First, with respect to projects, even though the final report is not an evaluation report, it is expected that this report should describe with sufficient detail the results achieved by the project. While exploring the R D database, the evaluation team found that final project reports had not been completed for all of the projects reviewed and those that had been completed, did not include sufficient information to identify the results achieved. In terms of programs, the approaches reviewed were uneven, with some performing self-evaluations of their performance more systematically than others. While some projects and programs were already being evaluated by outside resources at the request and discretion of the Board of Directors, or as project or program needs required, a few internal evaluations had been performed (see next finding) more recently.

Partner and Project Selection

The Review Team came to the conclusion that, overall, R D has carefully selected its partners for the various types of projects; however, in some cases, the selection process had stirred up controversy, both within and outside R D. For example, in Canada, the decision to work with young university students seemed unusual and somewhat elitist; in China, the decision to work with members of the Party and at the same time with grassroots organizations raised some eyebrows and caused tension within R D.

In terms of project selection, the process was generally supported at R D, although there was considerable uneasiness over certain project choices made by management decision and involving a selection process that some described as discretionary. For example, the 2006 Annual R D Conference held in Morocco, which, although not a "project" in the strict sense, was nevertheless an important and expensive R D activity.

Finding 10:
R D is increasingly moving towards results-based management; however the use of this approach still varies by theme and activity.

The last five-year review (2003) mentioned a need for R D to place greater emphasis on the evaluation component of its programming to better equip itself to report on results and outcomes from its projects and activities.

Discussions with project managers drew attention to the fact that a reflection on the importance of evaluation had already begun during the previous five-year review. However, this trend towards a more consistent planning for and reporting on results encountered some resistance internally, sometimes due to misunderstanding of the process or its impact on programs. Instituting RBM can be a long-term process that may generate reluctance and questions in any organization, especially in the democratic development and human rights sector where results are often intangible.

Between 2003 and 2008, R D pursued three strategies designed to foster the transition to evaluation practices and procedures.

  • The creation of a permanently staffed monitoring and evaluation position, fostered the integration of monitoring and evaluation from project initiation to the completion stage. Hiring an evaluation expert, to manage the internal evaluations has given a positive impetus towards instilling a culture of accountability for results.
  • In order to strengthen the capacity of staff members for monitoring and evaluation, R D organized formal training sessions and also encouraged the involvement of the monitoring and evaluation officer in the planning and implementation stages of most R D projects. Although these efforts had varying degrees of success depending on the receptivity of R D staff members to these new approaches, they nevertheless provided a basis for a culture that perceives evaluation as a learning process as much as a control mechanism.
  • The development of a three-year work plan was approved by R D's Board of Directors. One of its underlying objectives was to stimulate periodic evaluations of R D's work and respective recommendations to strengthen the quality of the programming interventions, to deepen the ties between DD and human rights; to promote dialogue and information sharing within R D; to foster decision-making by R D Management ensuring a better management by results, and to enable R D partners to evaluate R D's activities, the quality and nature of their partnerships.

Although this plan was developed late in the actual review process and pertains to future years only, it was nevertheless the outcome of the collaboration and reflection that started in the years covered by this review.

The evaluation culture was also strengthened by a few internal evaluations conducted at R D, e.g.: Internal evaluation of China Civil Society project; Chirapaq and the Taller Permanente; Advocacy in Favour of the Indigenous Peoples Evaluation of a 6-year process.

It is also worth noting that all programs initiated during this period included a results-based framework or the equivalent, making it possible to measure progress toward achieving results on an interim basis, or at least to allow for informed reflection in case the expected results had not materialized.

Finding 11:
R D's program management is based on best management practices for the sector.

Characteristics of good intervention in the good governance, DD and human rights sector:  (18)

  • Have modest expectations
  • Encourage ownership of the initiative by partners and involve them in the activity
  • Ensure a realistic commitment of time and resources by both the donor and recipient of the assistance
  • Maintain the initiative's responsiveness to emerging needs
  • Involve competent and credible Canadian resources
  • Maintain an ongoing understanding of the context
  • Have key people in key places at the right time and engaged in the right intervention
  • Ensure compatibility between partners
  • Foster exchange and mentoring

The most recent trends in Canada and internationally indicate a consensus on a number of management principles for good governance in general, and for democratic development and human rights in particular. Based on the premise that any technical and financial aid, regardless of the extent, must form part of a larger change process, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has commented that the success of activities in the more intangible sectors depends on the approach used. This observation underscores the importance of combining DD and human rights initiatives with special attention to the requirements presented in the text box.

The review of R D's programs from 2003 to 2008 highlights the quality and variety of implementation approaches used by R D, which ultimately foster the achievement of positive results.

Partner Ownership and Involvement

The programs reviewed under the case studies show that R D has encouraged active partner involvement in its activities. An example of partner ownership and involvement is the advocacy training in Haiti, which was preceded by a careful analysis and systematization of the actual needs for such training, with input from local activists and networks, such as the Coordination nationale pour le plaidoyer pour les droits des femmes (CONAP), university students, and the Groupe d'appui aux rapatriées et réfugiées (GAAR). In Morocco, the Democratic Development Study was also corroborated by a series of workshops held in different parts of the country to clarify the nature of the observations and findings, and to strengthen the quality of the needs analysis. The Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations is undoubtedly the most incisive example since all programs and initiatives are developed by Coalition members,(19) with subsequent approval of funding from R D. Similarly, the R D Network works closely with the delegations to choose and organize appropriate events. The delegations visited in Winnipeg and Toronto indicated that by moving to a decentralized decision-making and selection of activities, the Network has managed to implement innovative activities that distinguish the R D delegations from other human rights advocacy groups active on campus. Apart from these specific examples, interviews held within R D and with institutional partners in Canada and in the field highlight how R D, unlike other government organizations, shows special attention to its partners and encourages their input in all programs and activities to maximize the impact.

The only disagreement expressed by partners was related to the Annual R D Conference held in Morocco in 2006. The conference did not appear to have followed the principle of local partner involvement. While the Moroccan partners felt honoured that the conference took place in Casablanca, they were not consulted ahead of time. They felt that the extensive resources committed to the conference by R D could have been spent more effectively towards more lasting results.

Realistic Investment in Time and Resources

There is an overall recognition of the fact that changes in the democratic development and human rights sectors are slow to materialize, hence the importance of sustained involvement over time and within the limits of available resources. In this regard, R D programming deserves another high mark for some of the programs reviewed, with only a few exceptions described below.

The Coalition, for example, demonstrates the importance of involvement over a longer period of time. According to the interviewed African women members of the Coalition, the ongoing support for women's rights over the past decade has been the decisive factor for the success of all related activities conducted by R D. It has also been the factor that sustained determination to carry on the fight, even when success was slow, without concerns that R D support would stop.

The Review identified two cases, in which R D's failure to confirm its ongoing commitment, has resulted in the loss of some of the gains already achieved. For example, after more than a decade of commitment, and after overcoming the complex political and economic environment in Haiti, R D has finally managed to initiate advocacy training in this country, an activity considered extremely relevant by R D's partners. The establishment of a local office and the launch of the initiative required efforts that have already started to produce results, as confirmed by local partners and CIDA representatives interviewed in Canada. However, the uncertainty caused by the delay in the approval of funding allocated by CIDA for the subsequent phase, has led some to wonder whether the R D project in Haiti might turn out like other Canadian projects, harshly described as a "cemetery" of projects obliterated by sudden interruptions or poorly planned phases. Another example of interrupted consistency in R D's activities is the sudden change in the approach used in Morocco, where R D went from a more strategic support by funding a study on democratic development in Morocco, highly praised by local partners, to a narrow, project-based approach in the city of Sidi Yahia. Failure of R D to articulate the rationale for this change in direction, has caused uncertainty among local partners, and has damaged R D's credibility.

The realistic allocation of resources is another factor that contributes to the success of activities in the area of democratic development. The current Review tried to compare the results of certain R D programs with the actual changes that have occurred. The fundamental issue for R D is to determine whether sufficient resources have been allocated for each specific type of program or project (which is rarely the case because needs are so great). Whether in Haiti, China or Morocco, R D like the other stakeholders could have achieved more with the available resources. It has not become clear, however, whether R D allocates its resources based on expected impact, on existing challenges, or based on other less clearly articulated factors.

Understanding the Local Reality

All programs reviewed during the data gathering process displayed an excellent understanding of the local realities gained through various mechanisms: a) using the knowledge of some members of the R D's Board of Directors in program development, specifically in the case of the China program; b) long-time presence in the field and experience in working with grassroots groups (e.g., in Haiti), or by working with more activist-oriented groups ( e.g., the China Labour Bulletin in China); c) through studies completed prior to implementing a program or activity (e.g., the advocacy training in Haiti or the vast study on democratic development in Morocco); or as shown by the work of the Coalition, by leaving decisions about the thrust of activities to the people most directly concerned and well aware of local issues.

Partner Compatibility and Identification

Overall, R D has tried to choose influential partners for all of its programs; however, in some cases, the selection had generated controversy within R D or among local partners. Partners in Haiti and members of the Coalition, for example, indicated that they share the same values, work ethics and principles of mutual respect as R D. Similarly, the R D Network delegations underscored their appreciation for the relations with R D, which reflect a respect for the differences, and are a source of encouragement. In the case of Morocco, comments were divided. For some, the choice of Espace Associatif as a partner was self-evident and matched the type of organization that R D was committed to work with, while the decision to working with less known partners and individuals left some wondering about the strategy underlying this choice.

Credibility and Competence of Resources

One of the fundamental points of agreement among all respondents, both in Canada and in partner countries, was the unquestionably high quality of the human resources that R D uses for all its projects. Over the 2003-2008 period, R D has hired many new recruits who, in addition to sharing the motivation of their longer-standing colleagues, have demonstrated sound program management skills. Respondents in the field noticed, however, that although the various experts assigned to their programs were sharing the same commitment, the transition between two individuals was not always smooth, as a result of which the ties between R D and the respective partner organization tended to weaken considerably. This suggests that relationships may sometimes be more personalized than institutionalized. So far, this situation does not create a major concern; however, it deserves the attention of the program officers and requires efforts on their behalf to avoid affecting the sustainability of the results achieved by previous officers or initiatives.

Finding 12:
R D programs still operate in silos, which limits the scope of projects.

For many organizations, especially those interested in optimizing all resources allocated to their activities, internal information sharing is a major challenge. Despite the goodwill of everyone involved, the priorities of partners usually take precedence and prevent the horizontal exchange of information.

In R D, however, this situation is even more acute despite the relatively small number of employees, and has been the subject of complaints by both partners and employees on several occasions. Some blame the workload, although most employees see this partitioning as a reflection of an organizational culture averse to sharing. The interviews indicated that this situation has prevented project officers from applying lessons learned from one program to another. Some regretted they were not consulted during the development of certain country programs, particularly in China and Morocco. With regard to local partners, a few complained that they were unable to gain from the many lessons learned and the tools developed, especially in the Women's Program.

Aware of the consequences of this kind of structural division, R D had recommended to the Board of Directors a review of its organizational chart, which now includes new positions designed to facilitate the horizontal integration of the new programming structures. Although this suggestion was made only in 2008, action should be taken to correct the lack of horizontal links and exchange between the programs, so that R D can start using the lessons learned from its various interventions.

Top of Page


5.0 Program Effectiveness and Results

In a context increasingly guided by the need to prove the effectiveness of development assistance and to report on the results achieved with the resources invested in programs, evidence regarding the nature, scope and quality of R D's programming results becomes extremely important. Given the specific sector in which R D works, the review identified results through the chain of results, i.e. outputs (short term) and effects (medium term).

The capacity to influence or change democratic structures or improve human rights conditions demands an investment of time and money that exceeds R D's contributions. The review team, therefore, approached the evaluation of results with modest expectations, verifying whether the expected results had been achieved but also examining the contribution (not the allocation) of R D projects to a broader social undertaking.

Based on these observations, the analyses of the findings produced a positive judgement on the results achieved, described in more detail and by program as follows.

Finding 13:
R D programs have achieved tangible results for groups of individuals and sometimes at the organizational level. Institutional-level results were less frequent.

Interviews with beneficiaries of R D's initiatives indicated a tri-partite typology of the results. Indeed, the results achieved by the projects under review could be grouped according to the type of their impact, (e.g. was it felt at the individual, organizational, or at the level of democratic institutions and practices). It is important, however, to note that a clear delineation among these levels of results is not always possible since some initiatives target more than one level of intervention.

Individual-level Results

Generally, a significant portion of R D's initiatives aim at improving people's awareness of democracy and human rights. Activities of this type include the visit of Moroccan journalists to Canada to understand how the Canadian media process election information. Along the same lines, the "Vague du futur" project in Haiti has allowed nine Haitian students to experience Canadian democracy by visiting Canadian institutions. Awareness among the Canadian public about human rights is raised through the activities of the R D Network with projects such as "On the Refugees' Path," designed to raise public awareness of the living conditions in refugee camps. Although the reach of this activity did not extend beyond the campus, it was still considered one of the Network's successes.

Other interventions have aimed at capacity building and awareness in democratic development and human rights for groups of individuals (training the trainers). Examples include the advocacy training for managers and grassroots organizations in Haiti, the partnership with the Human Rights Centre of the Party School in China, the judge training in Sierra Leone by the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations, etc.

Another type of intervention has resulted in improved living conditions for certain persons, such as the advocacy activities by the Coalition for Women's Rights which helped victims obtain justice from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In Haiti, certain advocacy campaigns were implemented by participants in the R D training that also produced concrete results, such as waste collection initiatives and access to drinking water.

Organizational-level Results

A second sub-group of projects implemented by R D extends beyond the individual level. It consists of larger-scale interventions, generally over a longer period of time, designed to strengthen an organizational unit. For example, the Democratic Development study performed in Morocco has allowed Espace associatif to fuel its strategic thinking in years to come. Similarly, the R D Network has instigated twinning activities among Canadian and foreign universities. Twinning between the University of Moncton and University of Ouagadougou has created constructive and productive exchanges. However, the attempt for twinning activities between the University of Sherbrooke and the Mohamed V University in Morocco did not allow a genuine transfer of capacities.

Similar intervention models, aiming to strengthen the capacity of organizations, include the NGO training activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the Coalition for Women's Rights. Fifteen Congolese NGOs were made aware through this training of the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal in fighting atrocities and working for lasting peace in DRC. A training project for environmental civil society organizations was implemented in China in support of management capacity for these organizations.

Some R D interventions also include approaches to network building and increased inter-organizational capacities. In this regard, the organization of special regional events by the Network, combining several different delegations, has provided an opportunity for sharing knowledge and networking. The annual meetings for all Canadian delegations pursue the same objective. The opening of an R D office in Port-au-Prince has allowed R D to develop inter-organizational ties with civil society organizations in Haiti.

Institutional-level Results

The relatively small scale of R D's interventions makes it difficult for the Centre to support projects that encourage the development of institutional capacities. This is one the reasons for R D's projects to primarily focus on individuals and civil society organizations.

Despite these limitations, R D has also undertaken activities, which have strengthened the interface between governments and representatives of the civil society. An example is R D's work with the Office de la protection du citoyen in Haiti. To facilitate access to identity papers, such as the national identity card or birth certificate, R D is working with the Groupe d'appui aux rapatriés et réfugiés (GARR). GARR has completed a study on the status of national identification to be used as an advocacy tool. This project has not yet produced tangible results since it only began recently; however, the impact will be at the institutional level.

The partnership with the Party School in China is also expected to generate important results. For example, some Party School teachers have already publicly expressed the opinion that the Chinese Communist Party should not place itself above the law, and that the law should guide governance of the country. Through intervention of the China Labour Bulletin, many workers who had been convicted and imprisoned for protesting were defended and subsequently released.

R D has consulted some of its activities directly with national governments. For example, the government of Rwanda had approached the Coalition for Women's Rights to obtain training for its national judges. Although there is evidence of positive results, it remains a challenge to institutionalize gender-specific issues. Training for Rwandan judges can be considered a major step forward; however persuading these judges to initiate specific action is an even greater challenge.

Finding 14:
Increased funding for DD programming has made it possible to strengthen the structure and management of this thematic area. However, the benefits of the various DD projects remain uneven.

As shown in Table 6.1, between 2003 and 2008, R D's budget allocation to DD roughly tripled, and evaluators were asked to examine the extent to which the benefits of the DD programming are commensurate with this increased funding. The Review found that this significant budget increase has fostered: a) a staffing process (introducing an employee profile different than the traditional R D profile); b) the development of a coherent DD strategy with objectives, performance measures, self-evaluation mechanisms and specific country strategies; c) deeper reflection by R D on what DD should involve and its connection to human rights; and d) the implementation of different DD programs.

As might have been expected, providing a DD program with more personnel and greater financial resources has resulted in better planned, monitored and/or evaluated programs than the less endowed programs. Apart from management, the increase in DD program funding has allowed for interesting, although still uneven results in the various countries where R D is implementing these programs. While the Haiti program, for example, is a resounding success, activities in China, albeit positive, are sometimes controversial. The activities in Morocco, which started on a positive note with the Democratic Development Study, must eventually regain their relevance to the country's needs, after having dissipated over the years.

The additional investment allocated to the DD theme remains misunderstood and still unwelcome by some members of R D staff, especially those who were unable to obtain similar funding increases over the years for their programming activities.

Table 5.1 Comparative Growth in Budgets by Theme

Graph depicting comparative growth in Budgets

5.1 Programming Analysis - Case Study Illustrations

Following the Terms of Reference for this Review, an in-depth analysis was performed for six R D programs to determine trends that would contextualize the overall findings of the Review. Some of the main findings of the case studies are summarized as follows.

5.1.1 R D Programming in China

The actual R D programming in China started in 2003. Previously, only a few sporadic activities since the mid-1990s have been accounted for. R D's current activities in China cover two major themes: 1) governance globalization and human rights; and 2) democratic development. The following paragraphs describe the strengths and weaknesses of R D activities in China, as well as a few opportunities that can be explored in the future.

Strengths of R D's Programming in China

According to most interviews and the documents reviewed, R D's program in China is considered relevant, given the country's strategic role on the international scene on one hand, and its controversial human rights and democratic development record on the other. R D's intervention in China has received support from a vast majority of internal and external R D stakeholders who considered China a major international player. Although controversial, the decision to work with the Communist Party School was considered relevant given the possibility of investing relatively few resources and channelling them to a key institution that seems best positioned to generate changes in the higher spheres of Chinese politics over the next few years.

Moreover, the projects implemented by R D in China are consistent with the Centre's strategy and the various thematic-based strategies guiding its activities. Some interesting results were noted despite the modest resources invested in such a large country. Most of the outputs planned were accomplished through activities with grassroots groups and the Party School. Also, some effects are already noticeable. For example, through an intervention by the China Labour Bulletin, many imprisoned workers were defended and subsequently released. This reversal of sentence is a turning point in the modern history of labour rights in China. Also, through R D's funding example, a number of other financial sponsors have been encouraged to partner with the China Labour Bulletin.

Among other identifiable effects, it is worth mentioning the motion passed by the Senate and the Human Rights Sub-Committee asking Canada to use its friendly relations with China, to begin negotiations, without pre-conditions, with representatives of the Dalai Lama to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Tibet. Activities conducted with the Party have produced some immediate results; however, it is too soon to determine the overall impact of these activities.

Weaknesses of the China Program

R D's programming in China is based on a two-fold approach, i.e., working with the power centre and with grassroots organizations. This approach has provoked controversial reactions within R D and among external stakeholders. On the one hand, long-standing activists insisted on support for organizations advocating human rights at the grassroots level and could not fathom the idea of working with the Chinese Communist Party. On the other hand, university students saw an opportunity for improving the situation in China by targeting the decision-making and ideological centre of power. In their view, this was the most hopeful means of achieving tangible change with resources as limited as those of R D. Some of the interviewed experts commented on the lack of clarity and relevance of this dual approach, which seemed to create strong internal uneasiness, additionally aggravated by the amount of resources allocated to this aspect of the program compared to R D's work with grassroots groups. This organizational uneasiness should be addressed more openly at R D than it is as present.

Some respondents also complained about the lack of communication or information about objectives for partners before the start of start of each projects, and the lack of sufficient preliminary analysis which prevents optimization of resources.

Future Opportunities

The decision to place greater emphasis on China by R D is assessed as a relevant choice which, despite the limited resources available to the Centre in comparison to the gigantic size of the country, reaches to the very heart of the global human rights issue.

The combination of activities with the Party and grassroots organizations has been extremely delicate, in terms of the sensitivities in China, as well as given the diverging opinions of R D employees on the strategic approaches to China. Based on the comments gathered from those directly involved, the China Program is an example of R D's matrix structure that divides projects by theme and geographic region and isolates R D employees along theme-based lines to the detriment of sustained collaboration by country or region.

5.1.2 R D Programming in Haiti

Despite its involvement in Haiti for almost a decade, R D launched its major activities following the emergence of the democratic movement in this country at the turn of the millennium. One of the major R D activities is training provided to managers and grassroots civil society groups to strengthen their advocacy capacities. This training required the opening of an R D office in Port-au-Prince, which marked the first step in a longer-term program designed to open a dialogue between the civil society and the Haitian government.

Strengths of the Haiti Program

R D's program in Haiti, according to all interviewed partners and stakeholders, is particularly relevant to the country's situation. The strong demand for R D activities also attests to their appropriateness. These activities are conducted in a transitional context characterized by a process of slow movement toward democracy in a civil society eager to learn and develop new advocacy skills.

Moreover, activities offered by R D are unique in Haiti, in particular the advocacy training, provided by no other organization. The training uses a unique approach, based on a systematization of existing realities, delivered through detailed and comprehensive sessions, using a specifically developed training model.

By using an approach consistent with the accepted principles of assistance to countries in unstable conditions, R D is already witnessing the satisfaction of major players and beneficiaries with the quality of the activities, the approaches, and the noticeable success in achieving expected results. The latter gain even more importance when other factors are taken into consideration, such as the initial delays resulting from the uncertainties facing the country, the challenges related to establishing an office and the necessary networks.

The opening of an office in Port-au-Prince has made it possible to achieve a vast number of individual results (nearly 350 young people have been trained and made aware of advocacy mechanism for democratic development), has increased R D's visibility, and has facilitated the creation of networks and work relations with prominent partners. Moreover, the R D's office in Haiti shows no apparent signs of inefficiency.

Weaknesses of the Haiti Program

Despite its multiple strengths, R D's programming in Haiti is not deprived of some weaknesses. One of them is the initially underestimated funding for the planned activities in Haiti. The training and supervision models to be used were more demanding than anticipated, and could not be implemented as planned since they required more resources than were made available to the Haiti office.

The Haiti program was exposed to a major risk of being discontinued due to the uncertainty caused by delays in CIDA funding for the second phase. Although a failure of the program in this case would not have been R D's fault, the delayed funding approval posed a serious threat to R D's credibility and the continuation of its projects n the country. Losing a valuable, well-trained and established team of local resources could have affected not only R D's but also Canada's reputation in planning and sustaining longer-term commitments.

Future Opportunities

To make R D programming in Haiti more efficient, certain aspects, such as the re-design of the training model and of the monitoring and follow-up procedures need to be reviewed. Also, to generate promising results, R D's activities in Haiti need to be strengthened through long-term funding, while taking into account the fact that the current model (local office and ongoing investment) is a safe asset. R D Management also has to analyse the potential created in Haiti and the feasibility of using the Haiti office and staff for other R D projects, particularly those related to the Women's Rights theme.

5.1.3 R D Programming in Morocco

Most R D activities initiated in Morocco have occurred in the past five years. It is since that time, that Morocco, under its new King, has taken a new stride towards democratization of its institutions. The following paragraphs describe the strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for possible future R D programming in Morocco.

Strengths of R D's Programming in Morocco

Almost no one from the interviewed partners and stakeholders had questioned the relevance of R D's intervention in Morocco. The country is seen as a portal to the Arab-speaking world with the capacity to exert a positive influence over other countries in the region.

R D's activities in Morocco relate to national priorities that foster and strengthen the capacities of associative and local movements to promote human rights through a participatory approach. Despite some internal to R D questioning of the rationale to pursue programs and projects in Morocco, the program remains strategic and displays results. The Review team found sufficient evidence that almost all planned results have been achieved within the allocated budget and only with minor delays arising from the specifics of the participatory approach used. Examples include but are not limited to, results at the individual and institutional level (# of persons trained, awareness raised, etc.) , as well as a few results at the institutional level, e.g. the use of the Democratic Development study by other associations, the application of certain approaches (acquired in Canada) to the election process, etc.

Apart from the 2006 Annual R D Conference, which had obviously provoked some discontent both among R D staff and among Moroccan participants, they are generally satisfied or very satisfied with R D activities. Also, some projects strengthened the organization's image in the country and heighted the visibility and recognition of the Canadian approach to democratic development and human rights.

Weaknesses of R D's Programming in Morocco

A major weakness of R D's activities in Morocco is the inconsistency in the vision and the strategic approaches used in this country, the effects of which were commented by almost all interviewed partners. The sudden transition from a macro approach (The Democratic Development Study) to a project approach (work with young marginalized people in a small town), without any follow-up with the previous partners, has generated confusion among the Moroccan players.

Other stakeholders and partners, including international representatives (e.g. the USAID) expressed certain concerns regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of R D's project-based approach. So far, R D's presence in Morocco has been based on three projects and initiatives; each valued at approximately $200,000, but with different objectives and expected outcomes. The different cost-benefit ratios of these activities and their ultimate results are indicative of the different and often inconsistent strategic approaches used in Morocco and their respective outcomes: from the highly praised DD Study, through the controversial feedback on the Annual Conference, to the uncertain success of the latest project in Sidi Yahia.

Future Opportunities

In the future, R D will have to determine the scope of its programming in Morocco and adjust its strategic and program management approaches accordingly. The current programming activity, albeit being quite modest and centred on small projects, has yet a strong potential if properly planned and conducted. By shifting from a macro approach to a small-project approach, R D has set aside established relationships with governing authorities, above and beyond the specific project-based relationships. The Review team believes that the major shift in the approach has resulted in missed opportunities to strengthen ties between Canada and Morocco, and to promote democracy at different levels of the Moroccan society.

R D will also have to consider introducing sound and better coordinated monitoring practices for its current projects. The evaluation team strongly recommends that the current approach to Morocco be reviewed again carefully. At this point, the Moroccan project portfolio envisages small projects as well as projects that may leverage and maximize the potential of other technical partners in the field. Lastly, it remains vital to inform local partners associated with R D about the Centre's plans and programming choices, to avoid the impression that ties have being broken or discontinued with certain members of the Moroccan civil society.

Morocco is a key country with a strong influence in the region and it will therefore be advisable that R D's best practices and lessons learned from other countries are shared in an open dialogue with the project managers working in Morocco and the sub-region.

5.1.4 R D Network

The R D Network is an initiative designed to provide a forum for reflection in Canadian and foreign universities where students get together to suggest and initiate activities that promote human rights and democracy.(20) More specifically, the Network consists of delegations of students from a number of universities, who organize promotional and awareness activities on human rights at their respective campuses and through the community in general. The R D Network was created in 2004 and has since funded several projects with varying degrees of positive feedback.

Network Strengths

After five years of operation, the R D Network remains a relevant tool supporting the R D mandate to raise awareness about human rights among the Canadian public. Most of the students interviewed agreed that the Network's activities are well organized, encourage networking and raise awareness among thousands of young Canadians each year.

The decentralization of the Network and the provision of manoeuvring room for the delegations have enabled them to initiate effective awareness raising activities. This has been identified as one of the main comparative advantages of the Network.

Recognizing that communication is vital to unifying a network that covers all of Canada, the R D Network has developed its own Web site that has become popular among its members.

Weaknesses of the Network

The Review found that the Network's visibility sometimes suffers from the strong competition in the university environment where various human rights organizations are becoming increasingly active on Canadian campuses (Amnesty International, HR Watch, etc.).

Also, twinning programs between Canadian universities and universities in developing countries are more difficult to start and require higher initial investments. The Network seems to have tried to encourage such activities, but its efforts have not always produces the desired results.

Another factor to consider is that the sustainability of the delegations is closely related to the presence or absence of one or more highly motivated individuals. In addition, the human resources allocated to the Network by R D are too centralized to properly cover all delegations Canada-wide.

Finally, there seems to be no formal feedback mechanism imposed on member delegations. For most students, their involvement in the Network ends once they graduate from the university. Along the same lines, monitoring conducted by current delegation members is very informal and no generalized feedback mechanisms have been established.

Future Opportunities

Through the Network and its activities, several hundred students from across Canada have managed to raise awareness about human rights among thousands of Canadians each year. The Network has also increased R D's visibility in Canada. However, despite its potential, the Network still needs certain structural adjustments to be able to contribute more effectively to R D's mission. Some Network interviewees suggested the following courses of action:

  • Target a small number of universities;
  • Give priority to inter-university twinning activities between Canada and countries where R D is active;
  • Over the long term, expand the youth component beyond universities;
  • Integrate the Network programming activities more closely with R D's programming;
  • Improve the monitoring mechanisms;
  • Reflect on ways to improve the sustainability of the delegations beyond the personal initiatives.

5.1.5 The Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations

The Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations was created in the mid 1990s. The Coalition is coordinated and administered by R D as a project under the Women's Rights theme. In addition to the monitoring done for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Coalition monitors the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the International Criminal Court for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also performs research on the rights of women and girls victimized by sexual violence seeking remedy and reparation.

The Coalition's Strengths

The Coalition's work is most relevant on the often overlooked African continent. It is a unique, voluntary structure that serves a tremendous demand considering the lack of attention by Western nations to the violence perpetrated against women in conflict situations. Partners and stakeholders interviewed in Canada and Africa praised the quality of work and perseverance of R D in this field, underscoring the fact that the activities of the Coalition greatly enhance R D's reputation.

Over the past five years, the Coalition has succeeded to carry out most of its planned activities included in the annual work plans. Many individual results were achieved (judgements in favour of women or the creation of women's groups), a few organizational results (strengthening of several NGOs active in supporting women) and sometimes institutional inroads. However, given the long-term nature of the Coalition's work, results are not always directly traceable to the specific activity or initiative.

Some of the Coalition's most visible successes are related to the effective use of amicus curiae, to its publications quoted as reference works throughout the world, as well as to its work performed in association with the United Nations Special Rapporteur. After ten years of effort, the Coalition has now gained definite credibility, even among African governments that are usually less receptive to issues of violence against women. A few examples in Sierra Leone indicate that local governments have relied on the Coalition's work for judgments, which also attests to its expertise and reputation.

The Coalition's Weaknesses

One aspect of the Coalition that could be improved is its financial monitoring. The Review Team found it difficult to obtain detailed financial information about the activities of the Coalition. A more diligent financial monitoring of the expenses of the Coalition would provide R D with more up-to-date information and a better planning system to maximize the efficiency of the Coalition's activities, such as training, as well as a better understanding of the cost of certain legal proceedings.

Furthermore, since it can be very difficult to manage a network without the face-to-face contact (similarly to the R D Network), a more active exchange of best practices and additional consultations, both internal and external to R D, would allow R D staff and Coalition members to address the Coalition's issues from a regional perspective, and create an environment of synergy and sharing.

Future Opportunities

A major consideration for the Coalition's future should be the timely planning of the program's succession, especially among members whose energy, physical and mental health is weakening after 10 years. Although the Coalition seeks new members every year and relies on student involvement, many interviewees expressed concerns regarding the Coalition's future. R D should also analyze the capacity of its other programs to work on the Coalition's mandate to explore possible future options and identify training needs as soon as possible.

5.1.6 Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund (UAIO)

The Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund was created by the R D Board of Directors in 2000. The purpose of the Fund is to enable R D to respond promptly and effectively to human rights violations or to situations that demand action but are not included in the budget. R D acknowledges the usefulness of this Fund despite some of the challenges encountered with the decision-making and the resource distribution process.

Strengths of the UAIO Fund

The persons interviewed for this review did not challenge the need for the Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund. They all agreed that the Fund enables R D to act proactively and quickly.

R D partners also confirmed that the projects carried out through the Fund have met their needs and expectations, and that proper management procedures had been followed in ensuring the funding.

Evidence shows that the Fund's existence has enabled R D to improve its programming strategy through an efficient mechanism allowing the Centre to act on important initiatives that could not have been foreseen and included as part of its multi-year programming. For an organization whose activities are mainly related to support of democratic development and human rights, this flexibility is vital, as reiterated by all interviewed staff and partners.

Weakness of the Fund

Regardless of the above mentioned strengths and relevance of the Fund, it is also subject to strong criticism within R D for the lack of transparency in the decision-making and project selection processes, often leading to a perception of a discretionary budget. The Review team has come across some projects the "urgency" of which remains questionable. Despite the existence of criteria and conditions for project approval, some project decisions have come under fire for the lack of transparency and substantiation of their selection.

It was difficult within the framework of this Review to evaluate and monitor the Fund's projects and activities, due to the lack of sufficient information compiled through the various stages of each project.

Lastly, the effectiveness of the Fund is often limited by the fiscal year schedule. Poor budget distribution due to the fact that the allocated funding from the government arrives in the final quarter of the FY prevents an even planning process and often deprives certain projects of funding for administrative reasons.

Future Opportunities

To restore the Fund's credibility, R D's Board of Directors needs to review and revise the Fund's governance. This could be accomplished either by assigning an employee to be responsible for the management of the Fund, or by increasing the Board of Director's accountability and responsibility in disbursing the available funds.

Also, a clearer distinction between urgent intervention projects and important opportunity projects is needed. A possible solution would be a stricter application of the current project eligibility criteria.

Lastly, R D can also encourage its employees to follow all established procedures, especially in preparing the monitoring and evaluation documents, and to more efficiently use the R D database.

Top of Page


6.0 Program Efficiency

R D's programming has undergone major changes during this Review's period, with a program budget that was significantly increased and with more diversified funding sources. The financial data for this period also indicate that the Centre has maintained its efficiency despite these budget variations.

Finding 15
Despite a budget increase, the percentage of the administrative expenditures did not vary significantly and has remained within accepted standards.

For some organizations, increased program budgets oftentimes result in increased administration fees to manage the additional budgets. A review of R D's financial data - Tables 6.1 and 6.2 - shows that this has not been the case in the 2003-2008 period and the ratio between the administration costs and the total budget has changed only slightly, remaining below 14%, which is well within accepted standards for an organization like R D.

Table 6.1 Administrative Costs and Total Budget

Administrative Costs and Total Budget graph

Table 6.2 Administrative Costs: Percentage of Total Budget

Administrative Costs: Percentage of Total Budget graph

Finding 16
While the current financial system enables the monitoring of program and major theme budgets, activity- and project-level financial monitoring is not always possible.

This Five-Year Review does not have a mandate to perform a financial audit - an activity usually performed independently of this review. However, the review team had to assess the extent to which the currently collected financial data consistently allow for financial monitoring of the projects and programs implemented by R D. A review of some financial statements for the 2003-2008 period did not uncover any abnormalities. The financial reports were consistent with accounting requirements and have been submitted on time, according to the Board minutes and the interviews with R D's financial experts.

However, although the overall program-level monitoring system did not seem to need any further improvements, the project and activity-level monitoring system can still not provide the level of detail necessary for program officers to make an informed decision on the best return on investment from the various projects and initiatives. This type of analysis is still not possible at R D, but would greatly support the decision-making and project-selection processes. For example, it was not possible to assess whether the training program for judges or the training provided for Rwandan women.

Lastly, the detailed review of some projects indicated that the cost-benefit ratio of some activities varies widely. This factor did not always seem to have influenced the programming choices, as evident from the various programming activities in Morocco. Despite their similar budgets of approximately $200,000, the three reviewed projects in Morocco have yielded different results. For example, one of them, the DD study, had the potential to reach the entire Moroccan association movement, which still uses this study and its recommendations in the process of their strategic planning. Another project, the annual R D conference, has reached only a limited number of participants, and the spin-off benefits of this activity have been minimal, due to the large number of conferences on comparable themes held in Morocco. Lastly, the third project, still in progress, consists of a targeted activity for a community of young people, and the scope and the reach of this project remain uncertain.

The Review team did not find evidence indicating the degree to which a preliminary cost-benefit analysis is used in the project selection process. Although this is not the only decisive factor, it is important enough for an organization operating with modest resources to pay sustained attention to it.

Finding 17
R D has diversified and expanded its funding sources through the efforts of its former President.

One of the challenges facing any organization is how to reduce its dependence on limited funding sources. This objective, identified in the past reviews, was finally achieved in the 2003-2008 period, when, as shown in Table 6.3, funding for specific projects other than the core funding had almost tripled, climbing from $565,647 in 2003 to $1,492,939 in 2007. Some of this additional funding for R D was provided by the Government of Canada (R D expanded its government financial contribution base by obtaining funding from the Department of Justice), as well as from private sources and foundations.

Comments obtained during the data gathering process attest to the work of the outgoing President in raising funds, and the fact that these efforts had been successful also attests to R D's capacity to absorb additional funds for project implementation.

Table 6.3 Contributions Other than Core Funding

Graph depicting contributions and other core funding

Top of Page


7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

The five-year period between 2003 and 2008 has left profound marks on the world following the events of September 11, 2001, which have created a new type of political upheaval and have raised major challenges in the human rights and democratic development sector. In addition, major internal changes occurred within R D. Yet, the final assessment of the five years in question is a positive one. Data gathered through interviews with R D staff, major partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries, as well as through document and file reviews have provided sufficient evidence of the effectiveness of R D's activities in the field, of the quality and amount of effort invested in achieving its mission and in sustaining its continued relevance.

It is important to not that none of the recommendations arising from this Review involve any major changes in the direction of work, but simply adjustments to the activities in progress.

Recommendation for the Government of Canada

Recommendation 1:
In light of the observations arising from this review, it is recommended that the Government of Canada consolidate the core funding mechanisms for R D to facilitate the planning and implementation of its activities on a multi-year basis.

Canada has clearly enshrined good governance, democratic development and human rights in its national priorities, and an international policy underpinned by the values of democracy. This five-year review has shown that the mandate of R D remains highly relevant, and that the organization, while remaining non-partisan, has been able to widely transmit the democratic values of the Government of Canada and to absorb and utilize its financial resources (which have almost doubled over a relatively short period of time) on complex programs. Furthermore, by achieving more balanced programming covering both the democratic development and human rights themes, R D has demonstrated its uniqueness in Canada and around the world.

The 2003 Five-Year Review recommended that the Government of Canada increase R D funding. This recommendation was approved by the DFAIT Standing Committee and resulted in increased R D budgets through funding granted by CIDA. Despite the increased funding, CIDA grant disbursement procedures based on an annual allocation considerably limit R D's ability to perform its strategic planning over a multi-year horizon. The Government of Canada should consider replacing the current funding system, which involves two departmental entities, with a consolidated single-source funding system administered by DFAIT.

Recommendation for Rights Democracy

Recommendation 2:
While the current program orientation should be maintained, the program management approaches and strategies need special attention and respective adjustments.

Findings 9, 10, 11 and 12 arising from this Review show improved coherency of R D's programming, largely as a results of the implementation of the recommendations of the previous Five-Year Review, as well as the use of management practices based on the principles of accountability.

Nevertheless, R D's management would gain from taking into consideration the findings and recommendations of this Review and in particular those pertaining to the six detailed case studies, such as the need for:

  • A more precise selection or adjustment of management strategies and approaches to the specific types of projects (pilot project, short- or longer-term projects, etc.);
  • Sound justification, better clarity and understanding across R D of decisions concerning the balance between democratic development and the remaining program activities;
  • Implementation of the exit strategy approved the by the Board in March 2008;
  • Rigorous analysis and reflection on the findings of the six case studies, and development of action plans for each program in consultation with the respective program officers.
Recommendation 3:
R D should review its organizational chart and work methods to enable transversal discussion that can improve synergy and coherency among its programs.

This recommendation is based on Finding 11 and the comments made internally and by partners in the field who complained that lessons were not systematically being learned from programs except by the persons directly involved.

Interviews with R D employees have indicated that the organizational structure was amended in 2008 and four new positions were created to support the development of an overarching vision and cross-cutting strategy to program management. This is an encouraging sign and a definite step forward towards sharing of results and lessons learned among the various R D programs and initiatives.

In reality, R D will have to grow beyond this structural change and gradually create a culture of sharing which, in any organization, demands a climate of trust. The evaluation team cannot claim that such a climate has already been established within R D. Interviews with R D staff indicated that program officers continue to be protective of their programs and reluctant to share information and best practices. This seems to be a long-standing culture at R D that has not changed despite the comments and recommendations made in the two previous five-year reviews.

In this regard, the new leadership concept and persons associated with the leadership role in R D cannot only rely on the mere addition of new positions to the organizational chart to elicit the cultural changes required to promote sharing.

Recommendation 4:
R D needs to establish a system allowing the collection of more accurate financial and operational data for each program and project to enable a decision-making process based on a better cost-benefit analysis.

This recommendation is based on observations and findings pertaining to the efficiency of R D's work. (Finding 16).

While R D's financial reports meet all accounting requirements and the need to report on activities to various sponsors and stakeholders, the division is encouraged to gather and monitor financial data that are currently not collected for all programs and individual projects. R D is strongly encouraged to start the collection of such data for all programs. This will enable program managers to better understand the scope of their initiatives, and will support a more transparent decision-making and program approval process.

Recommendation 5:
Rights Democracy needs to strengthen its public relations work and its image, especially among the Canadian public, in order to remedy the negative publicity press received during the past year.

Despite the overall positive data gathered during the review process, the review team also encountered respondents concerned with the negative publicity in Canada and the ability of R D to rise above it and improve its image. While this publicity and the tense organizational climate have tarnished R D's image over the past year, recent management changes, as well as the introduction of more effective and transparent decision-making and planning practices could eventually quell the criticism directed at R D. These factors will also enable R D to position itself as a credible, non-partisan organization capable of fulfilling its mission - a mission whose relevance no one would challenge.

This public-relations role designed to improve R D's image should be incorporated in each thematic area to revitalize all programs and ensure that the Canadian public clearly understands their purpose and expected results. In this regard, the creation of a new Director of Communications position is seen as an excellent opportunity for R D to include a specific thrust in its communication strategy that will once again attract positive public attention and re-instate R D's positive image.

Top of Page


8.0 List of Findings

Finding 1:

R D's programming has evolved and its quality has improved over the 2003-2008 period while remaining aligned with the primary mission of R D as stated in the original Act.

Finding 2:

R D projects and activities generally address the global issues and needs identified by partner countries.

Finding 3:

R D's niche can be described as the interface between human rights and democratic development. However, this interface is often either misunderstood or poorly accepted.

Finding 4:

While remaining non-partisan, R D's programming is making a positive contribution to Canada's role in the area of human rights and support for democratic development on the international scene.

Finding 5:

R D has made notable progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2003 Five-Year Review.

Finding 6:

Work on implementing some of the recommendations of the previous five-year review did not begin until 2008.

Finding 7:

R D has developed a coherent multi-year strategy. However, the tense work climate has considerably hindered the application of this strategy.

Finding 8:

R D manages various kinds of programs and projects (pilot projects, activities with leveraged funding, etc.) but does not sufficiently distinguish among the management methods each one requires.

Finding 9:

R D's program- and project management follows accountability requirements. However, these principles are not always used rigorously and consistently.

Finding 10:

R D is increasingly moving towards results-based management. However the use of this approach still varies by theme and activity.

Finding 11:

R D's program management is based on best management practices for the sector.

Finding 12:

R D programs still operate in silos, which limits the scope of projects.

Finding 13:

R D programs have achieved tangible results for group of individuals and sometimes at the organizational level. Institutional-level results were less frequent.

Finding 14:

Increased funding for DD programming has made it possible to strengthen the structure and management of this thematic area. However, the benefits of the various DD projects remain uneven.

Finding 15:

Despite a budget increase, the percentage of the administrative expenditures did not vary significantly and has remained within accepted standards.

Finding 16:

While the current financial system enables the monitoring of program and major theme budgets, activity- and project-level financial monitoring is not always possible.

Finding 17:

R D has diversified and expanded its funding sources through the efforts of its former President.

 

Top of Page


9.0 List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1:

R D has diversified and expanded its funding sources through the efforts of its former President.

Recommendation 2:

While the current program orientation should be maintained, the program management approaches and strategies need special attention and respective adjustments.

Recommendation 3:

R D should review its organizational chart and work methods to enable transversal discussion that can improve synergy and coherency among its programs.

Recommendation 4:

R D needs to establish a system allowing the collection of more accurate financial and operational data for each program and project to enable a decision-making process based on a better cost-benefit analysis.

Recommendation 5:

Rights Democracy needs to strengthen its public relations work and its image, especially among the Canadian public, in order to remedy the negative press publicity received during the past year.

Top of Page


10.0 R D Management Response

RecommendationsIGX Management Response and Action PlanResponsibility CentreTime Frame
Recommendation 1:

In light of the observations arising from this review, it is recommended that the Government of Canada consolidate the core funding mechanisms for R D to facilitate the planning and implementation of its activities on a multi-year basis.

MFM Response

Consolidating the core funding mechanisms for R D will facilitate the planning and implementation of R D's activities on a multi-year basis. DFAIT will work with CIDA to identify a solution for the new fiscal year.

R D's Response

R D agrees with this recommendation. The consolidation of the Centre's core budget on a multi-annual basis, with one set of clear and streamlined reporting guidelines and longer term budgetary commitment from the Government, will enable the planning, development and delivery of programmes that are medium to long term, and hence more effective.

If the Government chooses to act on this recommendation, R D will enter discussions with the relevant Ministry as soon as possible to quickly finalise the procedure to consolidate its core budget on a long-term basis.

Budget allocations are decided by the Management Committee in consultation with all pertinent staff; financial expenditures are controlled by R D's Directorate of Administration and Resources. The Centre's budget is approved by its Board of Directors at its March Board meeting.If the commitment to consolidate R D's budget on a multi-annual basis is given by the Government for the next fiscal year, R D will adjust its planning and administrative procedures accordingly for FY 2009-10 (i.e. by April 2009).
Recommendation 2:

While the current program orientation can be maintained, the program management approaches and strategies will need special attention and respective adjustments in the coming months.

R D agrees with this recommendation. It appreciates the positive evaluation of the content of its programming. The Centre plans to maintain its current programming orientation until 2010.The Director and Deputy Directors of Programmes, with input from the rest of Management Committee and programme officers.To be developed throughout 2009
R D developed its Strategic Objectives in 2005, for a period of five years. In 2008, as planned, these objectives were reaffirmed with some minor revisions and adjustments. In 2009, R D will begin the process to develop its 2010-2015 Strategic Objectives. As in the past, these would be done in a participatory manner, involving the entire staff, as well as external stakeholders and partners. The new objectives will draw on the successes of programming from the previous five years. The new Strategy will be comprehensive, covering not only the content of the Centre's programming activities but also the process, ensuring that appropriate and rigorous project management procedures are in place and followed.Strategic Objectives to be approved by Board.To be approved by Board in October 2009
More specifically, R D retains from the evaluation the need to classify projects more systematically: pilot, short term, long term. It will also implement its Exit Strategy, as approved by the Board of Directors in March 2008.Director and Deputy Directors of ProgrammesOngoing
Based on the new Strategic Objectives, the country plans will also be revised.All programme staff.Revised Country plans by summer of 2010.
Recommendation 3:

R D needs to review its organizational chart and methods of work to enable cross-cutting initiatives and exchange of information across program areas to improve the synergy and coherency of its programs.

While R D agrees with this recommendation, it would like to point out that it is an issue that has been addressed in mid-2008.The reorganisation was fully supported by the Board of Directors.The new structure is currently in place; the phase-in period will end in June 2009.
In Spring of 2008 the Centre underwent an important reorganisation with the explicit aim of breaking down silos and encouraging ongoing collaboration between the different thematic and geographic experts. The highlights of this reorganisation include:
  • Creation of regional teams (Latin America, Africa, Asia) that encourage collaboration and horizontal links within broad geographic areas.
  • Direct supervision of smaller groups (of 7-9 individuals).
  • The establishment of inter-regional and inter-thematic working groups that are cross-organisational - i.e. they can include members from all directorates within R D.
  • The reorientation of the Policy Team based on the creation of four new positions addressing the four thematic areas of expertise (democratic development, women's rights, economic and social rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples); the two deputy directors and the partnerships and evaluations officers are also part of this transversal team that will inform all aspects of programming.
  • Ongoing linkage between human rights and democratic development in project development.

The results of this reorganisation in terms of enhancing coherence and synergies are already being noticed in programmes in Congo, Colombia, Haiti, the Student Network.

The Management Committee is fully cognisant of the fact that changing organisational culture takes much time and effort, particularly with respect to staff support and accompaniment. Hence, all R D managers will closely monitor the functioning of the new structure, ensuring that programming "silos" do not re-emerge. A leading role will be played by the President, the Directors of Programmes, of Communications, and of Administration (human resources). 
 The development of the 2010-2015 Strategic Objectives will entail all staff within the Centre, not only the Programmes Directorate.The President and the three Directors.Throughout 2009
Recommendation 4:

R D needs to establish a system allowing the collection of more accurate financial and operational data for each program and project to enable a decision-making process based on a better cost-benefit analysis.

R D agrees with this recommendation, and will develop better project budget tracking tools within its programmes.

The Centre has developed, and continues to improve, its project management tools such as project approval forms, budget templates, periodical budget comparisons, reporting directives and processes. Detailed budgets accompany project forms and vigorous accounting procedures are followed. R D commits to enhance these further and use them more widely within programmes (i.e. not just for larger projects).

Director and Deputy Director of Administration and Resources, in collaboration with Director and Deputy Directors of Programmes, and the Evaluation Officer.Within six months
The project management procedures to be developed within the 2010-15 Strategic Objectives will reinforce mechanisms that will link project activities with budget lines, making it easier to link costs with benefits.

Already in June 2008 an additional position within the Directorate of Administration and Resources was created and filled to augment R D's capacity for financial analysis and monitoring of projects.

Director and Deputy Director of AdministrationBy October 2009
Recommendation 5:

Rights Democracy needs to strengthen its public relations and improve its image among the Canadian public, in order to remedy the negative press publicity received during the past year.

R D agrees with this recommendation. While the Centre's visibility has increased substantially in the past five years, there is room for improvement. Some steps have already been taken, which will produce positive results in the next few years. These include:
  • In May 2008 the position of Director of Communications was created; it was filled in June.
  • In June 2008, as part of an internal reorganisation, two new positions were created within the newly constituted communications department: Publication Officer and Special Events Officer. These positions were filled Sept. 2008.
  • The creation of a new position responsible for government relations is envisioned for late 2008-early 2009.
Director of Communications, with input from the rest of the Management Committee.Ongoing process.
The Director of Communications is developing and implementing a thorough communications strategy that will substantially increase the Centre's visibility and enhance R D's capacity to reach out to new audiences. This strategy contains both traditional means such as speaking and press engagements for the President, staff and partners, as well as new means such as web-based technology.The PresidentA draft communications strategy to be submitted to the Board of Directors in October 2008, and a final one adopted in March 2009
A new series of knowledge sharing activities will be organised throughout Canada to engage Canadians on international human rights and democratic development issues, drawing on R D's programmes and expertise. This will be in addition to other ongoing public engagement activities such as the John Humphrey Freedom Award Ceremony and speaking tour.Director of Communications and relevant staff will be involved as per need on an ongoing basisReview of progress within one year - i.e. September 2009
R D commits to having at least one major public engagement activity in each Canadian province and territory during the next five years.

R D's university-based student Network will continue to assure visibility for the Centre with Canadian youth; its engagements will be enhanced within select Canadian universities and cities.

Directors of Communications and of ProgrammesTo start in early 2009
R D will work with its counterparts at CIDA and DFAIT, as well as with various partner organisations, to highlight the work it does in places such as Haiti and Afghanistan. By the end of 2014
The 20th anniversary of the Centre is being celebrated in 2008 through a series of public events. Partner institutions and parliamentarians will be closely associated with these celebrations, showcasing the accomplishments of the Centre over the past 20 years and its current priorities.

Throughout these engagements the focus will be on the positive programming content of R D to counter the unfortunate and unfounded negative press it received on a couple of occasions over the past few months due to internal matters.

Deputy Director of ProgrammesThroughout 2008

Top of Page


1 The six programs considered in this review are: the R D Network, the Urgent Action and Important Opportunities Fund, the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations, activities and programs in Morocco, democratic development projects in Haiti and activities and programs in China.

2 Universalia (2003). "Five Year Review of Rights and Democracy (1998-2002)," Final Report.

3 Rights and Democracy works on the four following themes: Democratic Development, Economic and Social Rights, Indigenous People's Rights and Women's Rights

4 Ging Wong, Taking the Pulse of Evaluation on International Democracy Assistance: Evaluation Approaches and Choices (February 2008).

5 International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development Act (1985, c. 54 (4th supplement)).

6 This theme was formerly known as Globalization, Governance and Human Rights.

7 Democratic development deployment. "Contexte. Développement pour le développement démocratique."

8 /about-a_propos/priorities.aspx?lang=eng

9 At least, this is what the very incomplete file on Canadian networks for the period suggests. The institutional memory of R D is somewhat short on this item.

10 Therefore, R D's presence within these coalitions allowed it to develop contacts with organizations such as: Development and Peace; Oxfam Canada; CCIC; CUSO; North-South Institute; Kairos; the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Canadian Labour Congress; Development Canada; Friends of the Earth Canada; Mining Watch Canada; etc.

11 However, since 2005, R D has become increasingly involved in medium or long term programs.

12 Source: Rights and Democracy, "Rights and Democracy Programmes: Exit Strategy," March 2008.

13 Every year, R D gives out the John Humphrey Freedom Award to honour an organization or a person from any part of the world, including Canada, for making an outstanding contribution to promoting human rights and democratic development. (See: R D Web site: www.dd-rd.ca/site/humphrey_award)

14 Objectives taken from the R D Web site:

http://www.dd-rd.ca/site/who_we_are/index.php?subsection=geneva_office

15 Rights and Democracy, Annual Report, 2006-2007, p.36.

16 The review pertains to R D programs excluding Urgent Intervention and Important Opportunities Fund which is managed by a different entity.

17 R D project plan, June 2006. The names of the organization involved were deliberately omitted from the results.

18 Evaluating Good Governance Programs - Report on a workshop sponsored by IDRC, April 8, 1999.

19 The people in charge of the Women's Rights theme are full members of the Coalition and participate directly in decisions concerning program policy. They are also responsible for coordination; they exercise leadership to ensure that activities proceed as planned.

20 http://www.droitsdemocratie.net/cms/site/en/aboutus

Office of the Inspector General


* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Footer

Date Modified:
2012-10-02