D&P keeps a watchful eye on Mideast developments

  • February 23, 2011
With only a few, small projects in the Middle East, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is carefully watching the changing political landscape before it makes any changes to its programming in the region.

“Our current program, which is mainly focused on peacebuilding, is quite small and we are not present in any of the countries experiencing protests,” Development and Peace spokeswoman Kelly Di Domenico told The Catholic Register.

Most of the $935,000 a year Development and Peace designates for the Middle East is in fact spent in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where partner agencies receive $385,000 and $120,000 to run programs that help women earn money.

There are also small programs in Gaza and the West Bank ($190,000), Iraq ($40,000) and Lebanon ($200,000).

Protesters angry over government corruption, power outages and food shortages in the Kurdish north of Iraq have clashed with security forces.

In Ramallah on the West Bank protesters have demanded Fatah, which rules the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza, cease their rivalry and start to work together.

There’s been no unrest in Lebanon.

“It is too soon to assess if the events in the Middle East will have an impact on our Middle East program,” said Di Domenico.

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