top of page

“If wealth was the
inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire

~ George Monbiot

CPAR was born from HOPE

It was the hope that the unimaginable suffering of the Ethiopian people during the famine of the early 1980s could be relieved in some small part by the work of a small group of Canadian doctors.

It was sustained by a commitment to do the work to ensure that history would not be repeated in Ethiopia and other African countries.

It continues because while much has been accomplished, still more must be done. Working alongside the people we serve, and with the expertise of African professionals, we invest in and empower communities to put health and hope in their hands.

The Full Story

About Us

About Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief

Founded in 1984 in response to the famine in Ethiopia, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) is a non-profit organization working in partnership with health professionals, vulnerable communities, governments and diverse organizations to build healthy communities in Africa.

Through our programming, CPAR supports the achievement of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development through programming that:

  • Improves health systems capacity

  • Addresses the determinants of health that may also impact the health of the communities in which we are working (food security and nutrition, clean water, sanitation and hygiene, sustainable livelihoods). 

CPAR has field offices and programs in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania.


Mission and Vision

Our Mission
Building health system capacity and supporting healthy lives in low resourced regions.

Our Vision
Stronger health systems in Africa.

Commitment to Change

For the past 40 years, CPAR has made a commitment to long-term change in rural East Africa. CPAR employs a community-centered development approach, working in partnership with African community members to develop initiatives that best address their needs, where they live. We work to improve the quality of their lives, and that of future generations.


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 improve the health of community members, and ensure that they can build resilience against the impact of future crises. Our geographic presence expanded from Ethiopia to Malawi (1991), Uganda (1992), and Tanzania (2001) in East Africa. 

Over that time, significant gains have been made in improving the health of communities and combatting major health problems in each country, and CPAR has been proud to have played a role in that progress. Our programs are designed to support the knowledge, training and inputs that a community most needs, and 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.

Much of CPAR’s work has addressed the social and environmental determinants of health - so that families have enough nutritious food to eat or access to clean water -  which impacts the well-being of these populations, but improving weak health systems is also instrumental to improved health. Moving forward, as we seek to make even more impact on the health of communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, we are focusing more purposefully in the improvement of health systems. 

Weak health systems are a barrier to even greater progress in Sub-Saharan Africa. Strengthening the health system directly addresses not only the quality of service and therefore health outcomes, but also discrimination by improving equitable access to care. By working to improve the capacity, sustainability and outcomes of health systems in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania, we improve emergency care. We help mothers have healthier babies. We connect educators, front-line professionals, health centers and technology in better ways, so healthcare resources make a greater impact. 

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.   


Board of Directors & Senior Staff

CPAR’s dedicated Board members bring a diversified skill set and wide-ranging expertise in health care, community development, law, government relations and communications. Recruited from both Canada and from each of CPAR’s program countries, the Board of Directors’ role is to lead the organization towards achieving our vision, mission

Kathrina Loeffler

Executive Director

Kathrina Loeffler has been the Executive Director of CPAR since 2019. Kathrina’s interest in international development started at a young age, when she lived in Papua New Guinea and then in Lesotho. Those experiences sparked in her a passion to learn about other cultures and a drive to contribute to ending poverty.After graduating from high school in Papua New Guinea, Kathrina returned to Canada where she obtained a degree in cultural anthropology from Western University. She then worked in international development for many years while pursuing her Bachelor of Education and Masters of Education in Organizational Studies from the University of Ottawa. Those studies honed her expertise in program evaluation and knowledge transfer that she put to good use as an adult educator and professional facilitator. Her specific areas of expertise include cross-cultural communication, health systems strengthening, continuous quality improvement, and leadership effectiveness.Throughout her career, Kathrina has had a particular focus on understanding and improving health systems. To that end, she became a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders in 2018.Kathrina brings her unique combination of skills and expertise to advance CPAR’s vital work in Africa. She supports the board of directors, oversees staff operations in Canada and Africa, and represents CPAR with partners and other stakeholders. 

Judith Dyck


Judith is a communications professional with a Masters in Communications and Technology from the University of Alberta. A long time independent consultant, much of her practice has been public sector and health-related, including public engagement and policy work in primary care, health human resources, patient safety, and legislation.

Dr. Graeme McKillop


Dr. Graeme is a Family Physician working in Almonte, Ontario. He started out as a Crop Scientist working with an NGO in West Africa before returning to Canada and training in medicine. He holds a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and he is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of Family Medicine.

Claire Huxtable


Claire Huxtable is a research analyst from Vancouver, British Columbia with extensive knowledge in the financial and forestry sectors. She holds a Masters of Business Administration with concentrations in Strategic Management and Finance from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management from Laval and the University of British Columbia. A long- time supporter of CPAR, Claire brings valuable skills and perspectives to the Board in key areas for CPAR’s future: ensuring financial sustainability and understanding the impacts of climate change.

Susan Williams


Susan Williams enjoyed a long and productive career with the Alberta government.  Her last position was Chief Strategy Officer with Alberta Health.  Over her 31 years, she worked in finance, economic development, social services and adult education, health and leadership development.  In retirement, Susan is travelling extensively and she skis and cycles.  Susan lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

George Vilili


George Vilili is the current Executive Director for Farm Radio Trust, the leading organization is the use of ICT based extension services and technologies in Malawi. He has more than 17 years of practical experience in the areas of Program Design and Implementation, Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Strategic management, Social Research and Data Management, in the sectors of Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihood. Before joining Farm Radio Trust, he worked with Farmers Union of Malawi, DanChurchAid, JHPIEGO and Care International. He holds a Masters Degree in Health Geography and Bachelors Degree in Education majoring Demography and Geography.

Dr. Sam Appavoo


Dr. Sam Appavoo is currently practicing at the Riverside Health Care Facility for Emergency and Family Medicine. Dr. Sam Appavoo has achieved a Bachelor of Science (with Honors), a Doctors of Medicine degree, has Fellowship in the College of Family Physicians, and is certified in Emergency Medicine.

Kim Cook


Kim Cook is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Inspiro Healthcare Consulting in Toronto. Kim is a Registered Nurse and has a Master of Sciences in Health Services Administration.

Dr. Avnish Mehta


Dr. Avnish Mehta is the Family and Community Medicine Corporate Chief and Medical Director for Family Medicine at the Scarborough Health Network. Dr. Avnish Mehta has achieved a Bachelor of Science, a Doctors of Medicine degree, and has Fellowship in the College of Family Physicians.

Dr. Paul Mkandawire


Dr. Paul Mkandawire is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies for Human Rights and Social Justice at Carleton University. Dr. Paul Mkandawire has a BA in Economics, Master in Sciences, and PhD. 

Trish Paton


Trish Paton is an Evaluation Consultant and Researcher, and has a Master of Arts degree.

CPAR Policies and Procedures

CPAR's Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Prevention Policy

CPAR believes that all people have a right to live their lives free from sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not tolerate CPAR staff or any other representatives associated with the delivery of CPAR’s work carrying out any form of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
Read the full SEA Policy here.


Whistleblower Policy

CPAR's Whistleblower Policy protects those who convery concern, allegations or information indicating that a prohibited practice has occured or has occured within CPAR's operations or projects. It outlines how to confidentially submit these reports and the investigation process.
Read the full Whistleblower Policy here. 

Donor Bill of Rights

CPAR believes that all donors have the right to know how their donations are used, and we are committed to full transparency about our projects, mission & vision, and our financials. CPAR's Board has adopted the Donor Bill of Rights to help that transparency.
Read the Donor Bill of Rights here.


Q – What is CPAR?

A – CPAR stands for Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. Established by Canadian doctors in 1984 to respond to the drought and famine in Ethiopia, CPAR initially focused on humanitarian and emergency interventions to supply skilled personnel and materials for emergency health services. CPAR has since evolved and is now a responsive long-term community development organization.

Q – Is CPAR a charity?

A - CPAR is a Canadian not-for-profit organization registered with Canada Revenue Agency. Headquartered in Ottawa, CPAR is directed by an independent, volunteer board of directors. Members of the board are elected at annual meetings. The elected board in turn appoints an Executive Committee which executes the duties assigned to it by the board, including recruitment and supervision of the Executive Director.

Q - Where does CPAR work?

A - CPAR has field offices and programs in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania, which are staffed and managed by nationals in those countries.

Q - How does CPAR receive funding for programs?

A – CPAR’s projects are funded by individual donors, foundations, governments and institutions, as well as a number of partner NGOs operating in CPAR program countries.

Q - How can I help?

A - There are many ways for individuals, businesses or groups to become involved with CPAR’s work:

  1. You can offer financial support by becoming a monthly donor. Monthly donors provide CPAR with a dependable source of funds so we can plan our long-term development work and keep administrative costs low. 

  2. You can make a one-time donation.  

  3. You can plan your own fundraising event or support one already taking place.

  4. You can make a planned gift – this won’t cost you anything during your lifetime.

For more information about ways to give, visit: How to help

Q - How will my donation be used?

A - You may direct your gift where you would like it to have the most impact, based on the area that most resonates with your philanthropic interests. You can designate your donation to a specific project or to one of our core program areas such as Clean Water & Sanitation, Primary Health Care, Combating Malaria or to the Fitche Hospital.

bottom of page