FAQ

    What is development aid?

    According to Cordaid, development aid is fighting poverty and exclusion in such a way that it structurally improves the living conditions of the poorest and most marginalized groups – the bottom billion. The development process aims at changing power balances. Its central concept is collaboration.


    Does development aid serve a purpose?

    Yes, development aid most certainly does serve a purpose. However, proper development aid must meet certain criteria laid out by Cordaid. We will work together with local people and parties who want to improve their own living conditions or those of the people around them. Development aid requires working toward a structural and sustainable solution of problems, since aid should not be considered charity but rather a collaboration. In doing so, we have to set realistic goals for ourselves.


    Is there a possibility that people become too dependent on development aid?

    No, proper development aid does not make people dependent. Cordaid leaves the initiative to local organizations and people since development aid’s ultimate goal is that people in developing countries can continue their lives without aid.

    It therefore supports the achievement of a solution by offering financial support, providing networks and advice, and calling in local expertise. Additionally, support can also consist of the improvement of local organizational and/or financial structures, the facilitation of staff training, and, finally, the funding of actual projects. Cordaid’s approach is demand-oriented: we only help people or organizations upon their own request.


    How do I become a development aid worker?

    People who end up working as development aid workers have very often studied subjects such as anthropology, non-western sociology, sociology or geography. Those who are working in the field of entrepreneurship (microfinance) have either studied economy or business management. In the Netherlands, you can also study the subject of International Development Studies. All in all, a career as a development aid worker very often starts when choosing a study subject.

    Nowadays, positions at foreign international organizations and at Cordaid often require work experience. Many development aid workers acquire such experience either while still in university through internships or by volunteering in countries such as India or Malawi.


    What is Cordaid?

    Cordaid is a Roman Catholic development organization that fights poverty and exclusion in disaster or conflict areas or where extreme inequality exists. We raise money both in and outside of the Netherlands in order to make a stand for the world’s poorest people and most marginalized communities.

    Cordaid does its very best to successfully complete over a thousand development projects worldwide, something we do together with 634 professional partners in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Our activities make a substantial difference; to women in the Congo and Afghanistan, to miners in Guatemala, to human rights activists in Sri Lanka and to vulnerable communities in 34 countries. Working toward structural development is both far-reaching and complex. This requires professional knowledge and perseverance, the ability to work together with others, commitment, pride and modesty. These are all characteristics of Cordaid.


    What does the abbreviation Cordaid stand for?

    Cordaid is an abbreviation of Catholic Organization for Relief and Development AID.


    How many people work at Cordaid?

    Cordaid has a staff of approximately 230 people.


    Why does Cordaid employ so many people?

    Cordaid’s activities focus on several topical issues such as healthcare (including HIV/AIDS programs), entrepreneurship (microfinance), emergency aid, rehabilitation, conflict settlement, etc. We annually spend a total amount of € 129,3 million. We need all of our staff to ensure that this money reaches its goals.


    How much does Cordaid pay its management?

    Cordaid’s CEO’s gross monthly salary amounted to € 8.488. Cordaid has endorsed the Code Goed Bestuur voor Goede Doelen (Code of Good Management for Charities), which is also known as the Code Wijffels. The Code maximizes the gross monthly salary of the management of a philantropic organization at €9.098.

    According to the Code, management salaries of charities such as Cordaid should consist of a mixture of both idealism and professionalism. Cordaid’s Supervisory Board has to be notified of any additional positions of the management and decides on the acceptability in terms of workload and conflict of interests.


    Does Cordaid post staff abroad?

    Yes, Cordaid posts approximately 30 people abroad annually. We post people abroad upon our partners’ requests and only if there is no staff with the required expertise available in that country or region.


    What is Cordaid’s budget?

    Cordaid supports yearly approximately 1,100 civil-society organizations in 34 countries, which we did by spending roughly € 129,3 million in 2012. Our annual report contains information on Cordaid’s budget.


    Why is Cordaid’s transparency so limited?

    Cordaid won the Transparantprijs (Transparency Award) for its annual report 2010. PWC and the Stichting Civil Society (Civil Society Foundation) bestow this award annually. Cordaid’s annual report contains all information on its organization, both on its programs and on its finances.


    Wouldn’t it be much more efficient to financially support a small and manageable organization?

    Large and well-known organizations have the advantage of being able to exert more influence in developing countries which leads to more results. Such organizations have the capacity to reach and hold on to more people and parties through their network in order to create lasting solutions. Smaller organizations usually have a smaller scope.


    What are the conditions that Cordaid stipulates for its projects?

    Cordaid exercises due care before teaming up with potential partners. We audit the accounts, request information from other organizations and review its expenses thoroughly. Partners have to annually render accounts for the spending of received funding. Not only does each project have its own financial specialist but also, in the event spending exceeds a certain threshold, an external audit will be carried out. Additionally, assessments are being carried out of the results of the partner’s activities.


    Does Cordaid also work on fighting deprivation in the Netherlands?

    Yes, we do. Cordaid’s fund, Cordaid Bond zonder Naam (Cordaid Association with No Name) strives for further assistance and solidarity within the Dutch community. In order to achieve our goal, Cordaid provides financial support to projects that focus on vulnerable people such as the homeless (both young and old), asylum seekers, (former) addicts and families living on a minimum income. Cordaid Bond Zonder Naam also provides one-off financial support to individuals who have run into problems through no fault of their own and who do not know how to overcome these problems.


    Would it be possible for me to visit any of Cordaid’s projects?

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit any of our projects. The relationship between Cordaid and its partners in developing countries is based on trust. As a result, we do not want to send unsolicited tourists or visitors to them or their projects.


    Why should I donate money through Cordaid and not directly to a project or a local organization?

    We see more and more initiatives of people who want to provide practical help, such as with building a school or hospital. Cordaid does support private initiatives wholeheartedly and is willing to support such initiatives financially, subject to certain conditions.

    However, Cordaid’s approach is focused on strengthening local communities, which are complicated processes that involve more than just building a school or hospital. The only way to conclude such processes is to enable multiple parties to work together.


    Does something go wrong occasionally?

    Yes, occasionally something does go wrong. Usually Cordaid supports the activities of local partners as opposed to posting its own staff abroad in developing countries. We do ask many questions and audit the accounts before teaming up with an organization. However, sometimes things go wrong with a partner despite all our screening and preparations. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, the relationship might be ended. Cordaid informs the outside world about what has gone wrong; examples of such incidents will be included in our annual report.


    How does Cordaid deal with corrupt governments?

    Cordaid never supports a government financially. We only work together with local partners, whose projects and spending we are able to inspect in all sorts of ways.


    Are funds ever misappropriated?

    There is no misappropriation at all. It speaks for itself that Cordaid’s operations do cost money since you need people, materials, etc. to raise funds. In order to manage projects properly, activities in developing countries have to be adequately monitored, proposals need to be investigated thoroughly and the results have to be surveyed clearly.

    Cordaid is very much aware of its obligation to render extensive and transparent accounts to all donors. However, these activities do cost money. Cordaid has stipulated stringent target values for all of its activities that are well below the market average. Cordaid’s marketing department’s target value amounts of 16-17%, which is well below the CBF-limit (Central Fundraising Bureau-limit) of 25%. We apply a standard of 8% at the most for the management of all our projects. The management and administration costs may amount to only 2.5% of the fundraising income. We try to limit our costs as much as possible in order to provide as much money as possible to the projects we support.


    How much of every euro that Cordaid spends is actually received by the people in developing countries?

    Of Cordaid’s total spending amount, 88% actually benefits the people living in developing countries.


    What is the reason that development organizations do not work together more often?

    Cordaid does work together with other organizations frequently. We work together with other Dutch NGOs in the Netherlands. Not only do we lobby together but we also conduct campaigns together if a disaster occurs — account number 555 is a well-known example in the Netherlands, which stands for a joint account the public can donate money to when a disaster has occurred.

    Together with other Dutch NGOs, we coordinate who will operate in which area as well as the nature of its operation in order to avoid overlap, which may lead to another area not receiving any support at all.


    What can I do to help?

    You can support Cordaid in various ways. To find out more, please go to our webpage link ‘Get Involved’.


    Why does Cordaid send letters asking for donations?

    Cordaid is grateful for all the people who support us without our having to ask for it. However, we need more money to enable us to continue our work, which makes sending letters necessary.


    Would it be possible for Cordaid to support my project?

    Yes, Cordaid does support private projects. Upon request by you, on behalf of your association or foundation, Cordaid provides advice and sometimes even financial support and shares its expertise in order to help get your project off the ground.

    Cordaid assesses an application by applying several clear criteria, a maximum amount and a list of countries in which Cordaid operates. An important criterion is that projects must focus on poverty reduction as well as the prevention of social exclusion of vulnerable groups, both in developing countries and in the Netherlands.

    Cordaid particularly focuses on initiatives by migrant organizations in the Netherlands, by which we commit ourselves to look after people in their country of origin as well as on religious initiatives.

    You can find more information on reporting a project here.


    What is the location of Cordaid’s activities?

    Cordaid operates in 34 countries across the entire world. Although we have a strong focus on Africa, we also operate in Latin America and Asia.


    What are Cordaid’s fields of expertise?

    Cordaid operates in the following areas: Peace & Safety, Healthcare & Welfare, Microfinance, Disaster Reduction & Emergency Aid as well as projects in the Netherlands.


    What are Cordaid’s activities regarding healthcare?

    Cordaid supports local institutions in order to provide proper healthcare. Our approach is to work toward a sound staff policy, training of healthcare staff, improved financing structure and more advocacy for patients. We pay specific attention to women, obstetrics and sexual healthcare.


    Does Cordaid provide microfinance?

    Microfinance is by now a well-known way to fight poverty effectively. Cordaid has a good reputation as an entrepreneur in this area for the poorest in the financial world.


    How does Cordaid respond to climate change?

    Cordaid works on making people independent and resilient through our Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR)-projects, which stands for disaster prevention and disaster reduction. We also campaign to raise awareness alongside the authors of the new Copenhagen climate convention for the message that we all have to dedicate ourselves to improving the environment.


    Does Cordaid provide emergency aid if a disaster occurs?

    Yes, an important part of our work is providing emergency aid and rehabilitation. Cordaid provided emergency aid after the tsunami in 2005, the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005, the flooding in Indonesia in 2006 and after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.


    How many people does Cordaid reach with its activities?

    Cordaid reaches a substantial part of the Dutch population through its campaigns as well as over 400,000 students in both primary and secondary education who use our teaching materials, Dutch politicians and policymakers through our lobbying, the business community through the use of partnerships, and many millions of people in developing countries.


    What does Cordaid do to tackle corruption?

    Cordaid never supports a government financially. We only work together with local partners, whose projects and spending we are able to inspect in all sorts of ways. Cordaid’s staff also must comply with a code of conduct which stipulates, amongst others, that no gifts from third parties are to be accepted.


    What is Cordaid’s approach to avoid aid-dependence?

    Cordaid stimulates people to improve their own situation by means of local partners. It is for this reason that finding good, quality partners is essential, as they must set to work for people in need and involve them in the process of rehabilitation. This approach requires perseverance. In order to achieve this, a thorough understanding of the local context and problems is very important.


    Is there an opportunity for me to be posted abroad by Cordaid?

    Cordaid’s approach to development aid is supporting people and organizations in developing countries to bring out the power they have within themselves. We therefore only post people abroad upon our partners’ requests and only if there is no staff with the required expertise available in that country or region.

    Where can I find the articles of association?

    You can request a copy of the articles of association by sending an email to: info@cordaid.nl