Minister Bibeau concludes visit to Bangladesh by announcing health initiative to empower women and girls
November 23, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
Canada champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women and girls globally, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable ones, to ensure they have access to the services and information they need to have control of their own bodies, lives and futures.
Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced a $35 million initiative to improve awareness of and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for 1.75 million women and girls in Bangladesh. The five-year project will also provide expectant mothers, newborns and children with essential health services and is expected to save more than 15,500 lives.
Canada also continues to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, mainly women and children, who have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar. So far in 2017, Canada has committed over $25 million in humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
While visiting refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the Minister met with survivors of gender-based violence, unaccompanied children and new mothers—all of whom are benefiting from Canada’s assistance. She also engaged with key humanitarian and civil society actors to identify how Canada and the international community can better coordinate their efforts.
In Dhaka, Minister Bibeau met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, to discuss her government’s efforts to address the Rohingya crisis and longer-term development needs, particularly as they relate to the empowerment of women and girls in Bangladesh. The Minister also engaged with local women’s organizations to learn about some of the key issues women face in Bangladesh.
“Canada is proud to support the Government of Bangladesh in its efforts to improve maternal, sexual and reproductive health. Empowering 1.75 million women and girls by providing them with information that can transform their lives is no small feat. It is ultimately this kind of initiative that will change our world for the better.
Canada shares with Bangladesh over 40 years of cooperation, which has brought real development benefits to the country and lifted millions out of poverty. We will continue to build on this partnership in addition to helping Bangladesh and refugee host communities cope with the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.”
- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie
Since August 25, 2017, more than 620,000 Rohingya, mainly women and children, have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar. This is in addition to an estimated 300,000 Rohingya who had previously sought refuge in Bangladesh.
The Rohingya refugee situation has become the world’s fastest-growing refugee and humanitarian crisis.
On October 31, Canada launched the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund. For every eligible donation made by individuals to registered Canadian charities between August 25 and November 28, 2017, the Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund.
Canada has had a long-standing development program in Bangladesh, which includes support to health and education.
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