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Led by Dr. Mark Doidge, Henry Gold and Simcha Jacobovici, CPAR was founded in 1984 in response to the extreme famine and critical health crisis faced by Ethiopian refugees in Sudan. At this time, CPAR’s work took the form of emergency relief – providing food aid and medical relief to those in need. 

These initial actions were the catalyst for CPAR’s evolution and transformation into a development organization that not only responds to the immediate needs of a community, but also takes a long-term sustainable approach to ensure that community will have continued access to life’s most basic needs and can build resilience against the impact of future crises

CPAR's geographic presence has since expanded from Ethiopia to Malawi (1991), Uganda (1992), and Tanzania (2001) in East Africa. CPAR’s work has also continued to evolve and now revolves around the integrated pillars of providing access to clean water, adequate food, Primary Health Care, secure livelihoods, and establishing a healthy environment to support the needs of vulnerable communities in Africa. 

CPAR’s programs are designed to support the knowledge, training and inputs that a community most needs. We strive to build capacity and ensure that the benefits of our programs continue long after we’re gone. CPAR is committed to this model, whether in a community or in a country, as demonstrated by CPAR Uganda, which in 2008 incorporated as an independent non-profit organization locally registered in that country.

Physicians continue to be an integral part of CPAR’s base of supporters, which has grown rapidly to include more than 10,000 Canadians from coast to coast. CPAR’s work has also attracted the attention of major international funders like UNICEF, Global Affairs Canada (GAC, formerly CIDA and DFATD), USAID, UNDP and the World Food Programme.  

CPAR not only asks the question of how its current programs will address the problems of today – it also asks the question of how these programs will continue to address future challenges for generations to come.