Canada helps feed Afghanistan's hungry with Canadian food aid

from Canadian International Development Agency
Published on 07 Dec 2001
(2001-85) News Release

December 7, 2001, Ottawa - International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna today oversaw the loading of Canadian food aid in Montréal that will be shipped to Afghanistan. Some 1,200 metric tonnes of Canadian lentils will be shipped to the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran, where the Red Crescent Society will take delivery and distribute the food to Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons along the Iranian/Afghan border.

"This shipment will help feed some 400,000 men, women and children over the next six months," Minister Minna said. "Along with Canada's other humanitarian initiatives, this shipment demonstrates Canada's commitment to stability and long-term recovery in the region."

Today's shipment is part of the 5,000 tonnes of wheat and lentils that will be sent to Afghanistan by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, with the financial support of the people of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Jim Cornelius, executive-director of the Foodgrains Bank, accompanied Minister Minna on her visit to Montréal.

"It is humbling to see the hard work and dedication of so many grassroots Canadians as they work together through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to make a difference in lives of others. The Federal Government's matching funds are greatly appreciated as they really enhance the efforts of our supporters," Mr. Cornelius said.

CIDA provided $2.56 million for this initiative through a funding arrangement that sees the federal government match donations raised by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank by a ratio of 4-to-1. The donations raised by the Foodgrains Bank come in the form of product donated by Canadian farmers or cash gifts from the public.

In the last 10 years, CIDA has provided approximately $160 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, including $16 million since September 11.

Approximately 5 million people are vulnerable to famine in Afghanistan and the region, while 3.5 million are living as refugees in surrounding countries and 1 million people are internally displaced. Afghanistan has the fourth highest child mortality rate in the world - one in four children dies before the age of five.


Anne Van Dusen
Office of the Minister for International Cooperation
Telephone: (819) 997-6919

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: (819) 953-6534

For more information, please consult the following backgrounder:

Canadian aid in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Humanitarian aid since September 11:

Canada has so far provided $16 million since September 11, to help provide food, shelter and basic health care to vulnerable Afghans, including refugees and internally displaced persons. The funds are being used in the following manner:

  • $5 million for food aid initiatives with the World Food Programme and other organizations;

  • $3 million for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for the immediate needs of new Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries;

  • $2.5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross for food, basic health care, water and sanitation and relief supplies in Afghanistan;

  • $1 million for longer-term peacebuilding initiatives;

  • $900,000 for CARE Canada to provide shelter, blankets, winter clothing and other household items for vulnerable Afghans;

  • $700,000 for UNICEF to provide emergency health and nutrition services, as well as winter clothing, to Afghan children;

  • $500,000 for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to coordinate the activities of aid agencies, as well as mine clearance and awareness;

  • $420,000 to Oxfam Canada to provide clean water and sanitation to an estimated 20,000 refugees in two new refugee camps in Baluchistan, Pakistan.

  • $400,000 for the International Federation of the Red Cross for basic health, water and sanitation, shelter and other relief items for Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries.

  • $400,000 to World Vision Canada to provide emergency tents, ground sheets, blankets for the winterization of IDP camps in western Afghanistan near the town of Herat. This would provide material for 11,500 people.

  • $345,000 to the International Development and Relief Foundation to provide essential household items such as cooking utensils, soap, blankets and heating/cooking fuel to about 27,000 internally displaced people.

  • $185,000 to Development and Peace to distribute essential household items such as kitchen sets, sleeping mats, hygiene kits, soap and blankets to refugee families in the Jalozai Refugee Camp in Pakistan.

  • $165,000 to Médecins du Monde to provide medical assistance for up to 10,000 displaced or vulnerable people in Nimroz Province.

  • $85,000 to Save the Children - Canada to provide food aid to almost 12,000 people in the drought-ridden provinces of Faryab and Sar-i-Pul in northern Afghanistan.

  • $400,000 for the International Federation of the Red Cross for basic health, water and sanitation, shelter and other relief items for Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries.
Also, Canada will convert up to $447 million of debt owed by Pakistan to CIDA into new development programs. The outstanding loans were incurred before CIDA became an all-grant giving organization in 1986. Under the conversion scheme, Pakistan will direct approximately $16 million per year-the equivalent of the debt payments-into social programs. CIDA and the Government of Pakistan will jointly manage the funds and the implementation of the social programming will be monitored by CIDA. Continued Canadian support for the debt conversion will depend on the success of the new projects.

In the last 10 years, CIDA has provided almost $160 million to help alleviate the suffering of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons affected by two decades of conflict and three years of devastating drought. Current ongoing projects include CARE Canada and CARE Afghanistan's Widows Feeding Program in Kabul and a food distribution project carried out by Aga Khan Foundation of Canada in Badakhshan province of Northern Afghanistan.

Long term aid in Afghanistan:

Canada provides an average of $12 million per year for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The funds support the work of several non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Here are some projects managed by CIDA partners:

  • CARE Canada/CARE Afghanistan provide food to impoverished widows and their children in Kabul. CIDA contribution: $3 million.

  • The World Food Programme provides food aid, as well as rehabilitation and relief efforts. The project will help more than 2.5 million people. CIDA contribution: $1.7 million.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross provides prosthetic/orthotic services for the disabled (usually landmine victims) and helps maintain livelihoods by improving agricultural production. CIDA contribution: $1.5 million.

  • The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan raises awareness of landmines, surveys mined areas and initiates mine clearance. CIDA contribution: $1 million.

  • MEDAIR helps fight the spread of tuberculosis in the region. CIDA contribution: $1 million.

  • The United Nations High Commission for Refugees provides protection and assistance to 2.7 million refugees in Pakistan and Iran. Before September 11, UNHCR also provided repatriation and reintegration assistance to refugees returning to Afghanistan. CIDA contribution: $600,000.

  • CARE Canada/CARE Afghanistan provide primary education in community-managed schools to more than 25,000 students, 40% of whom are girls. CIDA contribution: $400,000.

  • The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) improves post-conflict living conditions by helping communities provide basic social services in health, education, income-generation and small scale repairs in urban communities. CIDA contribution: $300,000.

  • The United Nations Development Programme trains local field workers in basic rehabilitation skills, provides rehabilitation services, promotes local community involvement, advocates the rights of the disabled, is building a stronger disabled agency network and addresses the socio-economic integration of vulnerable groups. CIDA contribution: $300,000.

  • Médecins sans frontières provides community-based primary health care, emergency health services and maternal and child health care. The project reaches some 60,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children. CIDA contribution: $237,000.

  • The United Nations Development Programme/Food and Agriculture Organization help UN Agencies and non-governmental organizations to plan operational and emergency activities, and help finance programming for Afghan development activities. CIDA contribution: $200,000.

  • McMaster University's Centre for Peace Studies runs a peace education programme for children using storybooks and popular media. It is also training local Afghan media on peace journalism and is producing a model for peace education and conflict transformation. CIDA Contribution: $117,000.

  • CARE Afghanistan provides plastic sheeting, jerry cans and soap for interim support in Pakistan's Jalozai Refugee Camp. CIDA Contribution: $95,000.

  • The International Development and Relief Foundation helps increase the income of more than 100 vulnerable, predominantly female-headed households by re-establishing such traditional activities as beekeeping and raising silkworms in Kabul. It will also create eight informal schools for 100 children. CIDA contribution: $58,600.
Long term aid in Pakistan:

Canada provides approximately $21 million per year in Pakistan. Poverty reduction is the focus of current programming and more than half of the current budget is devoted to initiatives that support the social sector and civil society. Here are some projects managed by CIDA partners:

  • Price Waterhouse Coopers and Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources help Pakistani firms and institutions increase their ability to conduct oil and gas development in an environmentally and economically responsive manner. CIDA contribution: $32 million.

  • The Aga Khan Foundation helps civil society organizations and institutions to respond to local needs, particularly in the area of gender equality. CIDA contribution: $24.8 million.

  • School of Nursing at McMaster University and Pakistan's Aga Khan University help Pakistan's Federal and Provincial Governments to develop nursing and health systems, particularly to increase the role of women. CIDA contribution: $17 million.

  • Cowater International, the Government of Pakistan and the World Conservation Union help governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions to design and carry out environmental sustainable policies and programs. CIDA contribution: $14.6 million.

  • The Democratic Governance Program promotes local democracy by increasing the participation of citizens in local government, with a focus on the effective participation of women. CIDA contribution: up to $12 million.

  • Cowater International and Pakistan's Social Policy and Development Centre help public and private sector institutions and non-governmental organizations deliver social programs to the poor. CIDA contribution: $10 million.

  • Cowater International and the Pakistan Federal Planning Commission improve the quality and access to basic social services, particularly for women and girls. CIDA contribution: $7.1 million.

  • Lahore University of Management Sciences and McGill University help Pakistan's governmental and non-governmental organizations manage their social service operations. CIDA contribution: $5 million.

  • Aga Khan Rural Support Program creates and supports village-based organizations to help people establish local development priorities. CIDA contribution: $5 million.

  • South Asia Partnership helps participating communities plan and carry out sustainable development initiatives. CIDA contribution: $4.9 million.

  • Women's Development Program, through the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad, supports women's organizations advance gender equality through the promotion of human rights, as well as through health, education and economic initiatives. CIDA contribution: $4 million.

  • Various rural poor and women's organizations respond to development needs. CIDA contribution: $3.6 million.

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and the Family Planning Association of Pakistan increase understanding of reproductive and sexual health issues, reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies and improve access to reproductive health services for unmarried women. CIDA contribution: $3.6 million.

  • Canadian Executive Services Overseas helps improve levels of health for mothers and children. CIDA contribution: $1.9 million.

  • SUNGI Development Foundation is developing a reproductive health and sanitation program to improve health practices in rural communities. CIDA contribution: $1.2 million.

  • Selected teacher training institutes in Pakistan help teach human rights in schools. CIDA contribution: $1 million.

  • Canadian Bureau of International Education and Agahi, a local non-governmental organization, increase access to primary education, especially for girls. CIDA contribution: $500,000.