CHF's approach to development focuses on partnering with local organizations in the Global South in order to build more sustainable livelihoods and improve organizational capacity. Through Practice-Based Policy engagement, CHF seeks to ensure that its work in the field is closely linked to the objective of shaping Canadian policy and public consciousness on issues related to development and poverty alleviation.
By collating, documenting and disseminating best practices and lessons learned, CHF contributes to building the knowledge base of the broader community of practitioners in the area of sustainable livelihoods development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, mitigation and management, gender equality and women's empowerment, pro-poor market-led development, and institutional capacity building.
In order to contribute to the Canadian and global policy dialogues, strengthen coordination with other civil society actors, and bolster the collective voice of Canadian civil society to advocate for increased support for sustainable livelihoods development and poverty reduction programs in the developing world, CHF actively participates in a variety of policy fora, such as:
- The Canadian Coalition for Climate Change and Development (C4D). C4D's objective is two-fold: to bring international development perspectives to climate change dialogue in Canada, and to develop knowledge and capacity in the international development community to address the global challenges associated with climate change and development in their programming. As a member of the Executive Committee of C4D, CHF is able to contribute to shaping the debate on climate change in Canada, and to advocate for more funding to be allocated for international development initiatives focused on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and mitigation in developing countries.
- The Food Security Policy Group (FSPG), an autonomous working group of Canadian humanitarian and development NGOs and other Canadian organizations with experience in food security in developing countries. The Group carries out joint advocacy on food security-related issues and examines how international trade rules, as well as Canadian policies on agriculture and food security affect the Global South. As an active member of the FSPG, CHF works to effectively engage CIDA, Canadian parliamentarians and the public at large on the important role of sustainable livelihoods development in achieving food security.
- Co-Chair of The Policy Action Group for Emergency Reponses (PAGER) - PAGER is a network of Canadian NGOs and government agencies involved in emergency response and disaster risk management activities in Canada and other countries. For the next two years CHF will be leading PAGER activities jointly with the Mennonite Central Committee of Canada. Currently PAGER has 25 members including CIDA, DFAIT and DND. PAGER is coordinating ER activities of Canadian NGOs in collaboration with CIDA and DFAIT and providing policy advocacy and guidance, coordination, capacity development and knowledge management support to Canadian NGOs and Government Departments.
- The Informal Gender Working Group (IGWG) of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC). The Group aims to strengthen Canadian development approaches to gender equality at the policy level. Through its membership in the IGWG, CHF promotes policy and programming linkages between food security, sustainable livelihoods and gender equality.
- The Africa-Canada Forum (ACF), a working group that brings together more than 40 organizations and groups from across Canada that have a specific interest in development issues and social justice in sub-Saharan Africa. Ongoing engagement with ACF enables CHF to influence the Forum's messages on agriculture and rural development in Africa, generate dialogue on the food crisis and share best practices and lessons learned from its own experience.
- The Zimbabwe Inter-Agency Reference Group (ZimRef) , a forum for Canadian organizations that support the efforts of the Zimbabwean people to achieve a free, open and just society characterized by responsible democratic government and respect for human rights. CHF's experience working in Zimbabwe has enabled it to contribute effectively to the group, providing input for documentation and policy engagement.
- The Sudan Inter-Agency Reference Group (SIARG), a forum for Canadian agencies working in the Sudan. Member programs include research, public education, peacebuilding and conflict resolution, policy dialogue, advocacy, and relief and development. As an active member of SIARG, CHF is able to draw on its own experience working in the Sudan to provide valuable input to the policy dialogue and to research initiatives (ranging from peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and relief and development). Through continuous engagement and advocacy with the Canadian Government, SIARG contributes to shaping Canadian policy-making and engagement in the Sudan.
At the international level, CHF has taken part in the International Forum of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness (AG), an international body that was chaired by Canada in the lead up to the September 2008 High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Accra, Ghana. CHF participated in the "Strategic CSO-Platform Pre-Accra Workshop", and opportunity for CSOs to discuss with the Platform members composed of 29 bilateral government aid agencies, regional development banks, and research institutes. Subsequently, CHF continued to lend support to Canada's leadership role in the AG by participating in consultations between civil society members and the Global Donor Platform on Agriculture and Rural Development.