Minister Sajjan announces funding to empower women and girls in the Commonwealth

News release

June 29, 2023 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Global Affairs Canada

Canada firmly believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.

Yesterday, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced a new grant arrangement with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to implement a project called Empowering Women and Girls in the Commonwealth. The Minister made the announcement at COL’s annual Board of Governors’ meeting, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The project, valued at $6 million between fiscal years 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025, will support women and girls from disadvantaged communities in Bangladesh, Malawi, Mozambique, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Specifically, it will use open, distance and technology-enabled learning to provide 75,000 women and girls with education and skills development that will support sustainable livelihoods.


“This innovative project is a concrete example of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy in practice. I am proud that the Commonwealth of Learning, which is based in British Columbia, will be leading this transformational initiative.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • COL was established in 1987 by Commonwealth heads of government to create and widen access to opportunities for learning by making use of distance education and applying communication technologies to education.

  • Hosted by the Government of Canada with headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organization solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.

  • At the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Rwanda, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $7.8 million over 3 years for the renewal of long-term institutional support for COL. Yesterday’s announcement is in addition to this amount.

  • Empowering Women and Girls in the Commonwealth will focus on education and skills development, supporting increased economic participation that will in turn lead to better health outcomes and sustainable social transformation. COL will work with local partners to implement activities in the individual, household, educational, community and livelihood spheres to comprehensively support beneficiaries.

Associated links


Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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