Creative Associates International, Inc.

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Creative Associates International, Inc. (CAII) is "a minority women-owned professional services firm incepted in 1977. Participation, diversity, and equity have driven projects seeking to improve the lives of underserved populations in more than 68 countries to date."[1].

Initially, CAII (a private for-profit corporation) was was known as Creative Associates, Inc. when it was founded in 1979 by four women, Maria Charito Kruvant, Ilda Cheryl Jones, Diane Trister Dodge, and Mimi Tse. Sometime between April 1983 and April 1984, Ilda Jones left Creative and in 1986, Kruvant and her remaining co-founders changed the company's name to Creative Associates International Inc. By 1985, CAII was a multimillion-dollar business, with both government and private-sector contracts. Since then it has received more than 400 contracts from around the world with offices in 11 countries, has more than 300 employees, and annual revenue as high as $50 million. [2]

One example of one of the prominent projects CAII has worked on, involved them providing support to "the Contra guerillas in Nicaragua" in 1989 which highlight(s) continuities in the role of education in aggressive U.S. foreign policy interventions in ways favorable to U.S.-based transnational capital" (Saltman, 2006: 28). Since the start of the ‘‘Reagan revolution’’ in ‘‘democracy promotion’’ ((see the National Endowment for Democracy)) CAII has been involved in "projects that merged development work with political, military, and economic influence strategies on the part of the U.S." (Saltman, 2006: 26). In 1991, CAII was also involved with the coup against democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Saltman, 2006: 40). Since September 2001, Creative has been working on a USAID-funded Haitian media assistance and civic education program. [3] [4]

Following the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (in 2001 and 2003 respectively):

"...the United States, through the Agency for International Development (USAID), contracted with... Creative Associates International, Incorporated (CAII) to lead the rebuilding of education. School buildings, textbooks, teacher preparation, curriculum planning, administration—all would be implemented by CAII directly or by firms subcontracted by CAII. In 2003, the company came under close scrutiny by congress and the press for receiving its Iraq contracts without competitively bidding for them.[5] The no-bid contract with CAII was one of a number of no-bid contracts benefiting U.S. corporations including Bechtel (which has been subcontracted by CAII to build schools), Halliburton, and others that profited from rebuilding in Iraq.[6]" (Saltman, 2006: 25)
"CAII’s 2003 takeover of educational development in Afghanistan signifies a break with the longstanding role that the public and non-profit University of Nebraska played since the 1970s in making fundamentalist Islamic schools and texts to participate in creating the Mujahedeen that would serve the U.S. ‘‘market fundamentalist’’ project of driving out the Soviets. These Mujahedeen ‘‘good pupils’’ of Nebraskan texts would then become the nemesis of the United States in the form of the Taliban and Al-Quaeda." (Saltman, 2006: 28)
"By denying politics and fostering privatization programs such as RAMAK, CAII diminishes the capacity of educative institutions to be a public sphere where such genuine civic engagement is possible. Of course, CAII’s way of ‘‘promoting democracy,’’ though it may not foster genuine democratic politics through engaged political debate and deliberation, does forge allegiances to the sponsor of the gifts and unite dissenting views under the umbrage of USAID money. The emphasis on shifting media control away from the state and towards a private for profit system stands to encourage a reliance on foreign provided expensive equipment, a depoliticized media system in which the market and concerns with profit largely becomes the ‘‘neutral’’ fabric of the new media." (Saltman, 2006: 46)


Ninety percent of its funds come from USAID. On July 14, 2004, USAID awarded a second Iraqi education contract to Creative Associates International. The contract is worth $56.4 million over the next 24 months and will focus on technical assistance to the Iraqi Ministry of Education.[7]

“...the U.S. government’s support for education reconstruction in Iraq is provided primarily through a USAID contract with Creative Associates. That contract, which Education Week received through a Freedom of Information Act request, estimates payment of $56.5 million to the firm for two years of work, with an additional payment of $52 million also possible for that time period. The firm also stands to earn $82.6 million more from the USAID if the contract is extended beyond two years.” (Mary Ann Zehr cited in Saltman, 2006: 35)

Countries they have worked in

It works or has worked in Angola, El Salvador, Haiti, Afghanistan, Jordan, Benin, Guatemala, Lebanon, Liberia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, South Africa, Peru, Serbia and Montenegro. For further details.

Previous clients

Include the U.S. Marine Corps and the World Bank. [8]


"Creative Associates,.. has 82 employees in Washington and about 200 elsewhere in the world. Ms. Kruvant is the majority owner, at 69%, with the remainder owned by a partner at Creative, Mimi Tse."[9]

Creative Times Newsletter, September 2003



Headquarters 5301 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20015
Telephone: + 1 202 966 5804
Fax: +1 202 363 4771

Iraq Education Sector:


March 27, 2003: "On the eve of the new school year in Afghanistan, 50 metric tons of new primary textbooks were revised, printed and are being delivered to schools across Afghanistan.

"Under the USAID-funded $16.5 million Afghanistan Primary Education Program (APEP) and in close collaboration with the Afghanistan Ministry of Education, a consortium led by Creative Associates International completed the job. Requiring complex logistics, books were airlifted from Indonesia to meet the March 22, 2003 school season deadline."

April 14, 2003: Creative Associates to Help Rebuild Iraq Education Sector

Washington, DC (April 14, 2003) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded Creative Associates International, Inc. (CAII) the Revitalization of Iraqi Schools and Stabilization of Education (RISE) Project, which will seek to mend more than a decade of neglect to Iraq's education sector.

Creative Associates will lead an alliance of partners on the RISE Project which aims to provide rapid distribution of school materials, equipment, and supplies in Iraq. Education reform efforts will underscore accelerated learning and enhanced teacher and school capacity, breathing life into an education system that was once among the strongest in the Middle East.

Rapid assessment processes will be initiated immediately to meet the educational system's most pressing needs. Iraqi NGO partners will be trained to guide local data collectors that will help establish targets for rapid distribution of materials. The American Manufacturers Export Group (AMEG), will lead procurement efforts.

Accelerated learning pilot projects will be launched in five counties to address girls education, the needs of overage pupils, and out-of-school youth. US-based Iraqi NGO partners bring a wealth of local knowledge and will help provide basic services, with an eye to reaching especially needy rural areas.

The CAII team has responsibility for primary and secondary teacher training efforts that aim to allow local teachers- as mentors and trainers- to assume the leadership of the teacher training process in Iraq.

Locally-driven democracy and education projects in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, and Afghanistan, provide Creative Associates with a broad understanding of educational reform and of the challenges of post-conflict development.

More than 390,000 citizens in 143 villages in Lebanon and Jordan have benefited from BRIDGES, a community reconstruction and revitalization approach that places citizens at the helm in realizing priority infrastructural, economic and environmental needs. No project is carried out if community consensus is not attainable. Working through community clusters in both countries, projects focus unequivocally on the processes that build effective self-governance at the local level.

In Morocco, the USAID-funded Morocco Education for Girls (MEG) Project is impacting the access, enrollment, and retention of girls in rural primary schools. Creative Associates is working with the Ministry of Education to promote education system reform in pilot provinces and at the national level.

Through its Basic Education Policy Support (BEPS) Activity, in Sierra Leone, Burundi, Sudan and Kenya, CAII has helped post-conflict societies examine education's role in the demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers and in addressing the education needs of refugee communities.

Under the USAID-funded Afghanistan Primary Education Program (APEP), by late May, more than 10 million new text books will have been produced and transported to Afghanistan by Creative Associates International. In collaboration with its partners, it is designing and implementing an accelerated learning program for overage students in Afghanistan and using radio as a tool to enhance the skills of teachers. CAII has also been closely involved in the development of a new curriculum framework.

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