Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development

Comité catholique contre la faim et pour le développement - Comments

8) The institutional learning

-As far as we know, no independent evaluation of the CCFD programmes was ever published. So one can wonder about the institutional learning of an organisation whose analysis is often simplistic and manichean, opposing the “good poor of the South” against the “bad rich of the North”. Local partners of the CCFD in developing countries seem to be more lucid in this regard. Thus in his annual report for the year 2002, INADES-Formation in Abidjan suggested to throw back into question the qualitative review of programmes and results.
-The main risk of the CCFD is to back programmes and partners which confirm social hierarchies or even reinforce exploitation patterns. In Rwanda, a densely populated country, INADES-Formation, for instance, tries to relieve the agricultural sector not only by promoting other types of income generating activities, but also by grouping peasants into communal villages: such a plan is highly criticised by human rights organisations because it was forcibly imposed by the FPR (Rwandese Patriotic Front) in order to control a scattered population. In a report edited by Michael McClintock, Human Rights Watch informs against NGOs that kept silent but "knew that the housing programs were intertwined with a rural resettlement program that had occasioned multiple human rights abuses".
-Likewise in Burundi, the coffee planters unions that INADES-Formation created are on the verge of being used by the authorities to mobilise the masses. While they were set up at the request of the Government and the World Bank, these grassroots organisations now have a privileged relationship with the administration, especially the directors of the washing factories, who eventually supported after some initial reluctance for fear of competition. Since then, some provincial coffee federations like Shiramazinda in Gitega or Mfashangufashe in Kirundo-Muyinga were officially recognised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Security; the first one has its office within the premises of a parastatal company, SOGESTAL (Société de gestion des stations de lavage). At the village level, the members of coffee planters unions are in charge of security and co-operate with the police during the payment of the harvest, when there is a lot of cash. According to Pascal Baridomo and the 2003 annual review of INADES-Burundi, the managerial staff became an elite “who belongs to community development committees and human rights leagues”, with Elders who “monopolise land and power”. INADES-Formation is aware of this and wants to promote the turnover of local leaders, limit their mandate in the organisations’ status and forbid to hold political and union offices at the same time.