Development funding is under attack, so 50 private corporations are joining together to establish a new mechanism for development advocacy, called the Coalition of International Development Companies (CIDC), which launches today.
"50 firms in development got together to see if there was any way as a coalition to make a case to have a dialogue with decision makers on issues of development," Charito Kruvant, president and CEO of Creative Associates International and chairman of the CIDC executive committee, said in a Wednesday interview with The Cable. "We found ourselves without a public voice and we found that the debate was divisive in the community and we just felt it was time for us to be part of the conversation and to have a unified message that would be helpful to speak with the administration and the Hill."
The firms involved are also members of other large coalitions of development advocacy organizations, but the CIDC is meant to focus on for-profit businesses that have a stake in development but until now haven't felt the need to establish their own advocacy in a public and organized manner.
"When policy decisions are being made at State Department or USAID, we want to have the opportunity to give them our insights," Kruvant said. "We found ourselves being left to the side. We were not at the dialogue table, because we thought naively that results count. But we now need to be sure that the results are shown and communicated."
Over the next few weeks, the CIDC is planning an extensive outreach to lawmakers and administration officials to make the argument that development is a crucial element of national security and economic prosperity. The member companies have so far committed about $300,000 to the effort and are also using their in house legislative staffs and communications staffs to help.
In another recognition of the need to be more public and do more outreach, the CIDC has hired the Podesta group to aid its public relations and media outreach effort.
"This is the critical time for development and it needs to be taken seriously. And the development companies have the experience to be a part of that goal," said Kruvant. She said that the ethos of the organization is to "Get it done, keep it simple, keep it humble, do the work, and increase the resources for the development."
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.