Quinte, On. real estate agent: The Muskoka Initiative.

The Muskoka Initiative.

Women in developing nations are 100 times more likely to die in childbirth than Canadian women. The child mortality rate in these developing nations is also vastly higher than it is in Canada, an alien would be hard pressed to believe that we share the same planet as these people and care as little as we do. The reasons for this disparity is surprisingly uncomplicated and as Canadians we can do something about this. In fact, we already are.

In June 2010, the leaders of the G8 nations pledged $7.3 billion ($1.1b from Canada) over the next five years towards this goal. Canada will also provide another $1.75 billion  in ongoing spending on maternal and child health programming. This is called the Muskoka initiative. You can click the link to see exactly how this money will be spent (hopefully).

Over the next five years, the World Health Organization and the World Bank estimate that the Muskoka Initiative will;

  • prevent the deaths of 1.3 million children under five years of age
  • prevent the deaths of 64,000 mothers
  • give access to modern methods of family planning for 12 million couples

Canada's focus will be in the following 10 countries where we have taken a leadership role;

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania


Committing funding to programs like these is all very well and good, but often times there is very little accountability in the countries where the money is supposed to be spent. Unfortunately, the health of women and children are sometimes not a very high priority in these nations. There is often very little transparency in developing nations where graft and corruption are often normal business practices.

As Canadians we should demand that our money is being spent properly.

As such, World Vision Canada has developed a simple petition which they plan to present to Stephen Harper. The petition is called Petition for Muskoka Initiative Accountability

and the wording is very simple;

Dear Right Honourable Stephen Harper,


I am proud that the Canadian government created the Muskoka Initiative to help ensure that children and women living in poverty experience good health. It is important to me that my government is openly accountable to its promises. I want the Canadian government to report regularly on how much money has been spent on the Muskoka Initiative and what this money has achieved between now and 2015.



I also know that to track the results of Canadian investment in the 10 Muskoka Initiative countries, those countries will need support to strengthen their accountability frameworks and improve health governance.  I am asking the Canadian government to help these 10 countries better monitor and evaluate the impact of investments in child and maternal health in their country.

This is not an unrealistic request, and the Canadian government should really make the effort to report to us how and where the money is going, and how effective the funding has been to date.

If you are Canadian, and agree with this petition, please go here to add your name to it.

Together we can take action to change the world for children. With our voices, we can make a difference.



Comment balloon 15 commentsMalcolm Johnston • September 12 2011 01:41PM


Hhi Malcom...its great to see that some countries are getting involved...thanks for sharing.

Posted by Ronald DiLalla, No. Orange Cty Real Estate (Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, what a great initiative, I hope it gets passed.  Unfortunately, I can't sign the petition since I am not Canadian.  Look forward to an update once it gets passed.  --Krystal

Posted by Krystal Knott, Breckenridge CO Real Estate & All Summit County CO (LIV Sotheby's International Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Malcolm. Accountability, particularly with tax spending, is parmount to good governence. This initiative, should it succeed, takes accountability full circle. Hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Posted by E H (None) over 8 years ago
Thanks Malcolm for posting this.
Posted by Wendy Tomm, CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors (Beyond the Walls) over 8 years ago

Hi Malcolm,

Done, as you say the disparity in the world remains so unbelievable one can only wonder.

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, it's this type of issue that makes it harder to give. One worries that their funds are being used as they were intended. Did my money go to food or medicine? Did my money go to administration costs instead? Did that official in the other country get a fat bonus? Accountability is good.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) over 8 years ago


Thanks for the information. And, particularly thatnks for the link which made it so easy to sign the petition.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

Malcolm, I echo Brians sentiments, thanks for making it easy to add my name.  I will forward this information (a link to your post) to friends who will also be interested

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Thanks Ronald, yes it's good to see that the G-8 are trying to do something.

Krystal, it is a great initiative, and it has been passed, we are just trying to ask our government to assist those 10 nations in setting up transparent systems so that we as Canadians can make sure that the money does not get diverted from its original purposes.

Thanks Evan, yes, we do need more of this. canadians will be reluctant to support initiatives unless they are confident that the money is doing what it is supposed to do.

Thank you for stopping by Wendy.

Peter and Linda, yes, there is such a disparity and an unfortunate lack of political will to change anything.

Yes Janice, accountability is necessary in this day and age, otherwise people may not feel that they trust the organizations they are donating to.

Brian, thank you for signing, it's an important issue.

Thank you Chris, and please do pass this along if you know people who are concerned about such issues.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

The problems of accountability are not in the developed nations as much as in the country recieving the goods and services.  Once you give over the goods or services to another sovereign nation you have very little control over how it gets distributed.  We see that all over the world.  Where there is generousity and good intentions there are devious and underhanded people waiting to take advantage.  I don't think the answer is to not give, the answer is to continue to give the best we can, IMHO

Posted by Larry Lawfer, "I listen for a living." It's all about you. (YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles UnlimitedĀ®) over 8 years ago

wonderfully informative post.. thanks so much for all the info.

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) over 8 years ago

Malcolm - One way to ensure the money is put to good use is to go to the front lines where it is being used ..... back in 2000 I was part of a group that saw the benefit of our tax dollars at work first hand. We went to Ghana and took part in the building of a food storage building.

Every dollar we raised was matched by funding from the federal government ..... by going there (we raised our own travel expenses) we saw the benefit of that funding being put to use. Since then a group of volunteers has continued to go back to Ghana year after year.

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 8 years ago

I think the best thing that people could learn is how NOT to have children. The Earth is approaching 7 billion in population. It's not pretty, and it's not going to get better.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 8 years ago

Congratulations on taking on the responsibility to get the word out.  Hopefully, something can be done to alleviate the suffering.

Posted by Ron Marshall, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire (Marshall Enterprises) over 8 years ago

Good Evening Malcolm

I am impressed to with your insight on this issue.  You giving a voice to the issue on this forum may get others to get engaged.

BTW, Thanks for your support on FB Fridays

Posted by C. Lloyd McKenzie, Living Albuquerque over 8 years ago