Canada announces support to improve access to quality education for women and girls in fragile, conflict and crisis situations


Canada’s $400-million commitment to women and girls’ education in fragile, conflict and crisis situations, in support of the G7 Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, has resulted in the following initiatives:

Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) - $5 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to address barriers, increase access to quality education and improve learning outcomes and employability for girls and women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. The project will reach vulnerable Indigenous and Bengali girls, female adolescents and women through support to 100 primary and 50 secondary schools and for skills training and community mobilization.

BRAC Afghanistan - $12 million (2019/20 to 2020/21) to ensure that Afghan girls, adolescent girls and young women have access to safe, quality education in rural and remote areas of Afghanistan. By funding community-based education programming in the hardest to reach areas, the project will address barriers to girls’ enrollment and retention in schools and engage communities to support girls attending school.

Canadian Red Cross - $7.5 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to provide menstrual hygiene management support; safe and hygienic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities; and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) awareness and training to 9,000 school-aged girls and young women in 40 schools in West Gogrial state in South Sudan. The project will also provide SGBV awareness and training to boys, male teachers and community members in and around those same schools.

Girls’ Education in South Sudan - $15 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to improve girls’ enrollment, retention and performance in school by providing cash transfers to families and to schools to train teachers and improve infrastructure and by conducting social and behaviour change communication and community mobilization to enhance awareness of the value of girls’ education. This project, led by the U.K. Department for International Development, is the largest project in the country dedicated to improving girls’ access to education and has proven to be effective at increasing girls’ enrolment and retention in school and improving levels of achievement.

Equal Measures 2030 - $1 million (2019/20 to 2020/21) to increase the capacity of women’s rights organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to collect and use quality gender data on barriers to girls’ and women’s education to advocate for their right to education and make their voices heard in decision-making processes. This project will ensure that education ministries, UN agencies and NGOs use quality data to equitably provide this education.

Save the Children Canada - $9.8 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to focus on basic education for vulnerable girls in conflict-affected states of northeastern Nigeria (Yobe and Borno states), where early recovery work is possible to provide equal opportunities for girls’ education.

Together for Girls - $2 million (2019/20 to 2020/21) for this global initiative that seeks to better document the relationship between sexual violence and education outcomes and identify country-specific barriers to education. The project will make the most of the data already collected through Violence Against Children Surveys, analyzing it with an education lens and translating it into useable information (including data visualization). This project will use evidence to drive improved learning outcomes for girls and adolescent girls in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and in humanitarian settings.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - $7 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to enhance access to quality education for 13,925 boys and girls (65% girls) in lagging regions of Pakistan. The project will reconstruct damaged schools, provide gender-appropriate supplies, train teachers, mobilize community members to allow girls to attend schools and support regional government to formulate and implement policy in the education sector.

UNDP - $9.9 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to address barriers that hinder the demand for and access to education for girls, adolescent girls and women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region in Bangladesh, including those with disabilities. This will be done through support to 300 pre-primary and primary schools, serving approximately 20,000 students, and through skills training. The project will help improve the capacity to provide inclusive, gender- and environmentally responsive education at the pre-primary and primary levels; and increase access to gender-sensitive, demand-driven technical and vocational education and training for adolescent girls and women, including those with disabilities.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - $8 million (2019/20 to 2020/21) to work through primary and secondary schools, and with community organizations, to address barriers to girls’ access to and retention in school in the centre of Côte d’Ivoire. The project will aim to combat gender-based violence, strengthen the capacity of girls to exercise their decision-making power, strengthen the capacities of the education system to improve access to and quality of education, and help to change attitudes and behaviours of leaders and communities toward the schooling of girls.

UNICEF - $20 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to support the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage to support programming, policy development, advocacy and research aimed at eliminating child marriage with the goal of bringing to scale efforts to eliminate child marriage in 12 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The global program is working to enable girls at risk of child marriage to choose and direct their own futures, including supporting girls to remain and succeed in school and to reach out-of-school girls with educational and training opportunities. It also supports households and communities to promote positive attitudes toward adolescent girls and strengthens the systems (education, health and child protection) that deliver services to adolescent girls and the laws and policies that protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights.

UNICEF - $15 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to increase the number of vulnerable young and adolescent girls accessing safe learning opportunities in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The project aims to equip them with knowledge and skills to protect themselves from risks and, when needed, to access alternative pathways toward education, training or employability skills. The project, with Save the Children as a key implementing partner, will focus primarily on supporting girls, adolescent girls and women, including those experiencing disabilities, internally displaced people, migrants, refugees, LGBTQI youth and young mothers.

UNICEF - $4 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to increase the school enrolment and completion rates of girls aged 10 to 18, mainly in the Tonkpi region and Abidjan district of Côte d’Ivoire, through increased access to education for girls and by providing gender-sensitive, safe and inclusive education for girls, including those with disabilities. This project will also enable out-of-school adolescent girls to return to the educational system for vocational training in order to ensure a sustainable future for them.

War Child Canada - $3 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to expand a pilot project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that targets out-of-school girls in conflict-affected communities through radio-based learning. The project would develop an alternative model of education, offering radio-based instruction to girls who are unable to access formal secondary schools due to household responsibilities, gender bias against girls’ education, risks of abduction or sexual assault while walking long distances to school, the high cost of education and escalating conflict.

World University Service of Canada - $12 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to improve the learning outcomes of girls in upper primary and secondary levels and to increase the enrolment of young women in gender-responsive, market-based skills training in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei refugee settlement. The initiative will provide access to education and skills training to adolescent girls and young women as well as community members and education stakeholders. World University Service of Canada will work with Windle International Kenya, a local non-governmental organization, in the areas of teacher training, promoting access to education and developing supportive learning environments for girls.

The Dismantling Barriers and Improving the Quality of Education for Women and Girls in Fragile, Conflict and Crisis Situations call for proposals has led to the funding of the following initiatives:

Adventist Development and Relief Agency Canada - $11.1 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to provide girls and women in fragile, remote and conflict-affected communities in Sudan, Myanmar and Niger with pathways for inclusive and equitable primary education and accelerated learning and livelihood training that will enable them to have more equal access to market-driven opportunities usually dominated by men. The project includes local, innovative and sustainable solutions that enable inclusive primary education, including identifying and training teachers living in targeted communities and having them provide community-based education in the local language, adapted to the local context, and securing community ownership and support.

Agriteam Canada - $12 million (2019/20 to 2023/24) to improve the demand, access and retention of mainly girls, but also of boys, in formal and non-formal education programs in conflict-affected communities in Mali. Strategies include interactive radio programming, digital innovation to reduce barriers to girls’ education, vocational training for girls who have no access to primary/basic education and remedial classes for girls with learning difficulties.

CARE Canada - $9.4 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to strengthen the education ecosystem and the capacities of adolescent girls and young women (aged 12 to 22 years) in Zimbabwe. The project targets socio-economic barriers that prohibit girls’ sustained engagement in secondary education or training and their successful transition to adulthood. The project proposes to bring together the school community to define characteristics and systems that can build schools that are risk-aware, resilient, safe and innovative.

Cuso International - $12.9 million (2019/20 to 2023/24) to promote access to higher education for high school girls and to address a number of barriers that impede adolescent girls’ education in Ethiopia. The project will enhance academic, social and soft skills for adolescent girls, including those with disabilities, and strengthen the capacity of teachers and education institutions to deliver quality and gender-sensitive education. The initiative seeks to adopt a holistic and transformational approach to address barriers to girls’ higher education, including through community engagement.

Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation and Centre for International Studies and Cooperation - $13.9 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to respond to the critical educational needs of refugee, displaced, returnee and disabled girls; adolescent girls; and women in the African Great Lakes region. The project promotes an intensive individual life course model for each girl of school age, which aims to design specific response plans, based on evidence and specific data, pertaining to the needs of each child. The project will improve the educational achievements of girls enrolled in 13 primary and secondary schools and will support girls and women with informal vocational training.

Right To Play - $6.6 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) for a gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive education program for refugee and returnee girls, including girls with disabilities, affected by the Burundian refugee crisis in Burundi and Tanzania. The project will work with a cross-border population and offer services for refugees and returnees on both sides, providing particular support to the transition from primary to secondary school. Among other innovative approaches, the project will develop and test a new model of conflict-sensitive, play-based and gender-responsive alternative learning. This model will support teenage girls, including adolescent mothers and girls with disabilities, to access alternative forms of education and re-enter the school system.

World University Service of Canada and Aga Khan Foundation Canada - $15.9 million (2019/20 to 2022/23) to empower adolescent girls and young women, aged 10 to 24 years, who are pursuing educational pathways in crisis-affected areas in Uganda, South Sudan and Syria. The project will reach marginalized girls and women who are refugees, internally displaced persons and the most vulnerable members of the host communities. The project will reduce social, cultural and economic barriers to accessing education, such as SGBV and lack of sexual reproductive health rights in crisis situations. This project will implement innovative interventions, including media campaigns, community outreach, girls’ and boys’ clubs, flexible response funds and girls’ mentorship programs.

Canada is also contributing to the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries by funding the following additional initiatives:

Save the Children Canada - $10 million (2017/18 to 2022/23) to improve the quality of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent boys and girls, in and out of school, by challenging the social, cultural and gender barriers they face and by promoting cultural and behavioural change within communities in select districts of Zambézia province in Mozambique.

UNESCO - $1.5 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to provide technical assistance to Jordan’s Ministry of Education, in partnership with UNESCO, to improve evidence-based strategic policy-making, planning and coordination in the Ministry of Education. This will be achieved through improved data collection and utilization, monitoring, evaluation and reporting in support of Jordan’s Education Strategic Plan 2018 to 2022. This technical support complements the Education for Jordan Prosperity project ($75 million from 2017/18 to 2021/22).

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) - $4 million (2019/20 to 2021/22) to develop and make available to the international community consistent, accurate and relevant data to guide its decisions in a growing political, economic and social environment, which is continuously changing and increasingly complex. The UIS is the source of education statistics and serves UNESCO member states, the United Nations system, a range of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research institutes and universities. The UIS has working relationships with over 70 countries and serves as the custodian and monitor of internationally comparable data in 200 countries that are surveyed annually for literacy statistics.

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