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For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)

JANUARY 20, 2017

An evaluation of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives

During 2016, Circum Network has supported the Evaluation Division of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in evaluating the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). The CFLI is a contribution program in over 100 countries that is delivered by Canada’s missions abroad. Through the CFLI, Canadian missions fund local projects that are modest, local, and short-term, which are aligned with the Government of Canada’s foreign policy objectives. The CFLI also provides immediate assistance in disasters or emergencies. The CFLI, previously administered by the former Canadian International Development Agency, is also required to be aligned with at least one of five International Assistance Envelope themes.

The CFLI evaluation adopted a mixed-methods approach combining primarily qualitative information from various sources with some qualitative and quantitative data obtained from project files and surveys of Heads of Missions, CFLI program managers, and CFLI recipients.

The CFLI was found to be useful for missions to further the foreign policy objectives of Canada, especially in the absence of bilateral programs. It is further seen as effective for developing networks, especially within civil society. The CFLI is unique because it responds to local needs while also supporting Canada’s foreign policy priorities. However, some key informants expressed a desire for the time when the CFLI was solely oriented towards development. Almost all informants were concerned over the sustainability of the program and its impact on relationships with civil society in the face of diminishing funding.

More information is offered in the report that is available on the departmental website.

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