Launch of Resilient Societies

Launch of Resilient Societies

November 29, 2023, Ottawa – At a time when human rights and democracy are under threat in many parts of the world, Cooperation Canada is proud to participate in the launch of Resilient Societies, a new activist-led hub that provides support and creates spaces for human rights and democracy defenders, civil society activists and practitioners worldwide to unite, innovate and advocate. The launch will take place on November 30, 2023, at the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa.

The launch event will raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing human rights defenders and civil society activists in countries with closed and repressive civic spaces, highlight strategic opportunities for collaboration and engagement between diaspora activists from closed and repressive spaces now based in Canada with others around the world, and present the vision, ambitions and priorities of Resilient Societies.

The launch will bring together leading figures in the field of human rights and democracy, including Maiwand Rahyab, a civic space expert from Afghanistan and the founder and CEO of Resilient Societies, and Muzna Dureid, a leading human rights activist from Syria. They are both now based in Canada.

“By fostering the resilience, agency and collaboration of democracy and human rights activists from closed and repressive spaces, including those now based in Canada, Resilient Societies ultimately seeks to contribute to creating open, resilient and vibrant civic spaces free of fear and repression”, said Maiwand Rahyab, Resilient Societies’ Founder and CEO.

Other guest speakers at the launch include Anita Vandenbeld, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General at the Global Centre for Pluralism, Julie Delahanty, President of the International Development Research Centre, Tara Denham, Director-General of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion at Global Affairs Canada, Chris Eaton, Executive Director of World University Service of Canada, and Kate Higgins, CEO at Cooperation Canada.

“At a time when human rights and civic space are threatened in so many parts of the world, Cooperation Canada is humbled to be playing a small role in the launch of this ambitious initiative”, said Kate Higgins, CEO of Cooperation Canada. “As a coalition of civil society organizations, we believe in the importance of supporting human rights, civic space and democracy, and are excited to support the important work of courageous activists in Canada and around the world”.


About Resilient Societies

Resilient Societies (RS) is an activist-led hub providing support and creating spaces for grassroots networks of human rights defenders and democracy and civil society activists and practitioners to unite, innovate, and advocate to address closing civic space. RS builds on Canada’s culture of embracing diversity and pluralism and its generosity in supporting and welcoming at-risk activists and translates it into organic, innovative, and activist-centered programs and projects that supports the work of activists-in-exile, and activists in repressed civic spaces. By building resilience, enhancing voice and agency, and raising the credibility and relevance of civil society activists and human rights defenders from closed and closing spaces, RS contributes to reversing the backsliding of democracy and shrinking civic space.

Resilient Societies is hosted by Cooperation Canada for its incubation period.


About Cooperation Canada

Cooperation Canada brings together Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations and advocates for them by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, we work with partners both inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe and sustainable for all.


Press contact

Gabriel Karasz-Perriau

Communications Manager

Cooperation Canada

(514) 945-0309

[email protected]


Launch of the Global Humanitarian Context: A Landscape Analysis

Launch of the Global Humanitarian Context: A Landscape Analysis

The Humanitarian Response Network of Canada (HRN), Nexus Cooperation and Cooperation Canada are proud to launch The Global Humanitarian Context, a new report providing a landscape analysis to better understand the dynamic humanitarian context shaping the operations of Canadian organizations. 

As humanitarian needs around the world have been increasing significantly over the past years, this landscape analysis seeks to offer vital insights into the challenges and opportunities facing Canadian humanitarian organizations, highlighting the importance of adaptation, innovation, sustainable financing, and a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice in responding to evolving global crises and making a meaningful impact on those in need. To facilitate Canadian humanitarian organizations’ initiatives and strategic programming, this analysis concludes by presenting a comprehensive roster of humanitarian networks they can actively engage with and learn from. 

Community Conflict Management in Southern Somalia

Community Conflict Management in Southern Somalia

This story is part of Cooperation Canada’s Triple Nexus Spotlight Series  


In 2020 Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, in partnership with Trócaire, initiated a three-year project to support vulnerable communities, particularly women, in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities. The project, titled ‘Improving Food Security for Vulnerable IDP and Host Communities,’ aimed to establish sustainable food systems through agroecology. It focused on empowering women by equipping them with farm input, including access to land, and promoting resilient alternative livelihood opportunities, as well as community-based natural resource management. Over 2,118 (1,066 females and 1,052 males) from Luuq District in Gedo Region of Southern Somalia were reached through the intervention. 

Khadijo Hassan Duur Host Community

Project beneficiary harvesting on a farm provided to her to farm. Photo: CeRID

Fadhumo a 32-year-old mother of eight children, was provided with agricultural training based on sustainable farming practices, seeds, farming tools and a piece of land to grow crops. On average, Fadumo earned an income of USD 300 after every harvest that allowed her to pay USD 16 per month in school fees for her four sons who attend a local madrasa, and look after 14 members of her extended family. She saved enough money to access a loan and opened a shop. The saving groups also improved women’s confidence, engagement in decision making, and the building of a social network that they can rely upon 

Somalia, a fragile nation, has endured prolonged conflicts, climatic challenges like droughts and floods, food insecurity, inter-clan conflicts, and limited access to essential services. By mid-2023, over 1.4 million Somalis had been internally displaced due to these factors, with more than 8.25 million people urgently needing humanitarian aid. Furthermore, over 3.7 million people in Somalia are currently experiencing high acute food insecurity.

A-three-day old group of the newly IDP at the Kahare camp; they had hopes of receiving humanitarian assistance. Photo: Trócaire

A-three-day old group of the newly IDP at the Kahare camp; they had hopes of receiving humanitarian assistance. Photo: Trócaire

This number is expected to rise to 4.3 million people between October and December 2023, including 1.5 million malnourished children, with 330,630 of them being severely malnourished from August 2023 to July. Insecurity and inter-clan clashes disrupt peace, economic development, access to basic services, and psychosocial well-being. This disproportionately affects women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and minority groups. The lack of livelihood resources has compromised household food consumption, compelling these populations to relocate from their homes to internally displaced persons (IDP) camps over 20 km away, seeking basic needs and services.  

“The loud sounds of gunfire were deeply traumatic; some of our neighbours lost family members. Our land was taken away. We were overwhelmed by fear and left with no means of survival. So, we gathered whatever we could and left our home of over 10 years to Dollow. After a twelve-day journey on a donkey cart, non-stop, we arrived safely. Upon our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the camp leaders, who provided us with shelter,” recounted Hawa.  

Hawa and her family are among the many people who had to relocate to Gedo in search of a better and more secure life after their livelihoods were disrupted by an inter-group conflict. In this context, the triple nexus approach is crucial to tackling systemic inequalities. This approach not only connects short-term relief to lasting social progress but also fosters peaceful environments, enabling the full realization of human rights. 

A community member from Boyle community participating in the DRR mapping exercise in Luuq District. Photo: CeRID

A community member from Boyle community participating in the DRR mapping exercise in Luuq District. Photo: CeRID

Trócaire uses a conflict-sensitive approach that engages with communities for feedback and information sharing around local interventions. Its programmes are integrated not only from a thematic point of view, but also jointly targets both host communities and IDPs to promote social cohesion. Trócaire works alongside communities to establish committees that play critical roles in conflict resolution. For instance, within the resilience programme, farmers established committees to aid in managing the farm and resolving farm conflicts. Collectively, they’ve set farm rules and plans, for example, through the establishment of watering schedules for each group as well as penalties for those who don’t respect these guidelines. This has promoted clear expectations for each farmer, equitable sharing of resources, and smooth running of the shared farm. In parallel, Water Management Committees (WMC), Community Education Committees (CEC), and Village Health Committees (VHCs) have played an active role in addressing resource-based conflicts. For example, locally led and formed WMC oversees the management of scarce water resources by ensuring local water systems are functional and promoting sustainable and fair access to water. These committees have coexisted and supported each other, where the WMC’s management of water resources has been supported by the CEC’s efforts to engage with both local and IDP communities to raise funds for school development.  

Trócaire has supported the formation of other community-based committees (named, ‘community peace champions’), including Natural Resource Management and Disaster Risk Reduction committees. These work on promoting peaceful coexistence among their communities, disaster risk reduction and natural resource management to protect the environment, sustainable exploitation of resources and reduction of climate related shocks and conflict. The committee members are comprised of people from different socioeconomic strata of the community who have received training. In turn, these individuals represent the voices of the community they serve, identifying priorities through consultations that are partly supported by Trócaire.  

These committees collaborate closely with community members, institutions, and local leaders that fully recognize and acknowledge their presence and work in fostering peaceful coexistence. They work within their respective communities and are the first point of contact when conflicts arise. For example, at the negotiation stage between the conflicting parties, a delegation of community elders and local leaders is convened.  

The elders have not only recognized but also commended efforts made to promote peace. Following a sensitization session, community leaders expressed their sentiments, emphasizing the paramount importance of peace.  

 “Without peace, nothing can be achieved, blacksmiths cannot forge metals, people dare not light fire for fear of attack, access to water sources becomes impossible and life itself becomes unstable,” one leader remarked. 

Another leader added, “In times of violence, no son is born, but instead we lose many young and productive men.”  

A peace building session in Gedo; aimed to sensitize community leaders on the importance of fostering peace. Photo: Mohamed, Trócaire

A peace building session in Gedo; aimed to sensitize community leaders on the importance of fostering peace. Photo: Mohamed, Trócaire

Trócaire recognizes that gains made through community-level peacebuilding are only sustainable if these are hinged upon community ownership. As such, collaboration and coordination with local institutions, District Health Boards, IDP leaders, local authorities, and government officials are central to the design of Trócaire’s action and programmes. These collaborations not only ensure conflict management in communities, but also provide a conducive environment for the implementation of the Humanitarian Development Plan (HDP) and ensure communities, both host and IDPs, can enjoy a broad range of rights. 

This piece was co-written by Maurine Akinyi, Programme Support Officer, Trócaire Somalia and Dominique Godbout, Humanitarian Program Officer, Development and Peace-Caritas Canada.

A Look Back at Cooperation Canada Leaders’ Forum

A Look Back at Cooperation Canada Leaders’ Forum

On 18 and 19 October 2023, Cooperation Canada hosted its inaugural Leaders’ Forum, an opportunity for more than 70 leaders of Cooperation Canada member organizations to come together, network and strategize on the key priorities, trends and contexts shaping international cooperation and the role of Canadian organizations in it.  

We were honoured that the forum was launched by the inspiring Danika Littlechild, Cree of the Ermineskin Cree Nation and Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University, who spoke with our Board Co-Chair Eileen Alma about leadership and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. 

We were pleased to welcome our new Minister of International Development, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, for a discussion on Canadian leadership in international cooperation, and look forward to deepening our collaboration with him in the coming weeks and months. 

Vinod Rajasekaran, Editor-in-Chief of Future of Good, moderated an engaging and provocative session on the profound changes and challenges facing Canadian non-profit organizations, with fantastic reflections from Jennifer Bond, Founder and CEO of Refugee Hub, Joanna Kerr, CEO of MakeWay, and Karen Milligan, Executive Director 211Ontario. Idee Inyangudor, Vice President of Global Partnerships at Wellington Advocacy, Éric Lamoureux, Managing Partner at PAA Advisory, and Marci Surkes, Strategic Advisor at Compass Rose, joined the forum for a frank and insightful discussion about the Canadian political landscape and its implications for Canada’s global leadership. And we were privileged to be hosted for supper at Thali by chef and owner Joe Thottungal! 

Beyond learning from and being inspired by these guests, there was ample time for leaders to connect, learn from each other, and imagine future collaborations, through the creative and energetic facilitation of Bridge Building Group. 

Many thanks to all who participated for your commitment to collaboration and partnership! 



The Call for Nominations for the 2023 Cooperation Canada Awards is Now Open

The Call for Nominations for the 2023 Cooperation Canada Awards is Now Open

The Cooperation Canada Awards recognizes excellence and merit in the field of international cooperation by awarding prizes to individuals or organizations that have distinguished themselves in the past year.

The Karen Takacs Award is presented annually to an individual who has notably, by virtue of working collaboratively, made a difference in the lives of women globally. The award honours outstanding collaborative leadership and commitment to promoting women’s equality.

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and Cooperation Canada, in collaboration with the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, jointly present the call for nominations for the Innovation and Impact Awards in honour of Lewis Perinbam. These awards recognize Canadian individuals and civil society organizations that are doing impactful and innovative work in the field of global development.

The call for nominations is now open until December 8th.

Second Meeting of the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative’s Strategic Advisory Committee

Second Meeting of the Global Cooperation Futures Initiative’s Strategic Advisory Committee

Our latest gathering of the Strategic Advisory Committee for the Futures Initiative was convened on October 11th, 2023, to deliberate on the project’s progress, discuss challenges and opportunities, as well as provide feedback on the project’s deliverables. This group plays a critical role in guiding Cooperation Canada’s research team and advising on the project’s strategic orientations including project’s process, development, and implementation. The meeting was the opportunity for the project lead, Andy Ouedraogo, to review the project’s goals and methodology, revisit the structure, and present the achievements.

The committee’s structure, mission, and objectives were revisited leading to a major decision to consolidate the two governance bodies into one to maximize efficiency. The Committee agreed to absorb the Core Advisory Group, a subset of the Strategic Advisory Committee which mandate was to provide guidance on projects inputs and outputs. With this mandate now sitting under the Strategic Advisory Committee, the number of meetings will increase from 3 to 5 throughout the lifespan of the Futures Initiative.

The committee members also engaged in discussions around the milestones reached since the inaugural meeting. Accomplishments include research activities such as focus group discussions, an environmental scan report, as well as Canadian and Global workshops. The environmental scan provided a global inventory of events and trends in development cooperation and is informing our foresight processes. A workshop was organized with the Humanitarian Response Network (HRN), a coalition of Canadian organizations working in the Humanitarian sector, to understand growing signals of change and emerging challenges. Similarly, we have rolled out five regional dialogues in Africa, Asia, the Caribbeans, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa regions to survey civil society actors on emerging issues, signals of change, priorities as well as their vision of the future of development cooperation. A reflection piece on the latter will be published in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

The Committee provided constructive feedback on the environmental scan undertaken as part of the project’s research activities, with recommendations on how best to improve its structure and ensure that the report remains both relevant and innovative. The meeting concluded with mentions of what is to come, with action items set forth.