Backgrounder: Canada announces funding for Rwanda, Kenya and other countries in East Africa


Canada has announced $62 million in development assistance funding for projects in Kenya and $6 million in humanitarian assistance funding for people in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Development assistance allocations

Colleges and Institutes Canada project: Kenya Blue Economy Skills Training Program ($25 million)

This project will support technical and vocational education and training (TVET) reform in Kenya by helping to create demand-driven and industry-responsive training in the emerging “blue economy” sector. The project will leverage the expertise of Canadian colleges and institutions, who will work in direct partnership with Kenyan TVET institutions in the country’s Lake Victoria and coastal regions. This collaboration will result in the development and delivery of gender-responsive skills training programs that support Kenya’s commitment to establishing an internationally competitive workforce, as well as the creation of jobs and economic opportunities through formal or entrepreneurial opportunities in the blue economy.

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund project: Investing in Women in the Blue Economy in Kenya ($10 million)

This project supports women’s economic empowerment, which is key to Kenya’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it will support women entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses operating in the blue economy. It will increase their access to financing and productive assets. The project will also engage with women’s rights organizations to strengthen women entrepreneurs’ voices and role in decision making and will work with private sector investors to change biases against lending to women entrepreneurs.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates project: Leveraging Equality for Gender-Just Economic Development ($16 million)

This project supports the economic empowerment of women and youths, which is key to Kenya’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project will help 250 small and medium-sized enterprises and 30,000 entrepreneurs improve their business performance and contribute to reduced poverty and unemployment among women and youths in Kenya’s lake and coastal zones.

UN Women project: Enhancing Women’s Participation in Political Leadership and Decision Making ($5 million)

This project will help build a strong foundation for women’s political empowerment, including and beyond the 2022 election. Pre-election, the project will focus on ensuring that the electoral system, processes and procedures are gender-responsive and that women are enabled to participate effectively as voters, candidates and supporters. The project supports a television reality show, Ms. President, that showcases women contestants who are trained and who compete to win the Ms. President title, helping to normalize the idea of women in politics. The project will also focus on preventing violence against women in politics. During the election period, the project will monitor compliance with electoral laws and policies, the safety and security of women, and access to justice for survivors of electoral violence.

Rooftops Canada project: Women’s Spaces—Implementing Equal Rights to Land, Housing and Livelihoods ($6 million)

This project will strive to address some of the key land and housing issues faced by poor women in Angola, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, issues that lie at the heart of their poverty, exclusion and lack of security. It will work to protect women’s land and housing rights and to increase access to land and other resources for urban agriculture, positively affecting household incomes and health, especially for women and children.

Humanitarian assistance allocations for 2022

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme and Canadian Lutheran World Relief ($5 million)

Canadian support will provide refugees in Uganda with food assistance through the World Food Programme and non-food assistance through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR).

With Canada’s support, CLWR is working to reduce vulnerability to, and address the impacts of, sexual and gender-based violence and other protection risks facing women, girls and persons with special needs in South Sudanese refugee and local host communities in Uganda.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees ($1 million)

With Canada’s support, the UNHCR will provide services to crisis-affected people in Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, including the over 150,000 refugees currently hosted in Rwanda. The funding will support the provision of protection services, shelter, emergency non-food items, cash-based interventions, health care, water, hygiene and sanitation, livelihoods, and camp coordination and management.

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