Thursday, November 12, 2009

More than $1 million in grants for pro-democracy work in Cuba

Money for Cuba

The Office of Transition Initiatives has approved 18 grants worth $1.1 million as part of its Cuba program, according to a report to Congress.
The OTI operates under the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Some $50 million in OTI funds were approved for fiscal 2009 for 11 nations "confronting conflicts" and/or "experiencing a critical transitional period."
The 10 other countries besides Cuba are:
Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The report to Congress says:
OTI provides the U.S. Government with a unique tactical tool that is strategically deployed during critical junctures in a country's political, socio-economic, and development trajectory.
OTI initiates rapid, targeted programs that help bring that country closer to peace, stability, and reconciliation and lay a foundation for longer-term development assistance. OTI programs aim to bring positive momentum to the country's transition and help avert potential crises that threaten internal, regional or international peace and stability. Programs also target the triggers of conflict and, when tentative peace has been reached, recovery and reconstruction.
The U.S. government started its OTI Cuba program in September 2007. Its overall goal is to promote a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba through an expansion of independent civil society. The report said:
The program is specifically designed to reach out to non-traditional groups on the island and bring them together with like-minded international organizations.
The program has two components.
- The first is a pilot activity implemented by Freedom House to help facilitate information flow on the island by expanding access to the internet, developing networks, and providing technical training to activists and civil society. This project ends this summer and will continue in a revised form under USAID's Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau.
- The second element creates "people-to-people" linkages between non-traditional civil society actors on the island with other like-minded regional organizations. OTI focuses on grass-roots participation, organization and networking designed to coalesce citizens to work together on issues ofcommon interest and form citizen associations centered on basic needs and services. Activities have included support for leadership development and youth civic engagement.
OTI has to date approved 18 grants worth $1.1 million. The program is implemented by Creative Associates International, Inc.

Links:
AID Public Affairs
Multimillion-dollar Cuba program not easy to find on the Web

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