Minister Hussen announces over $142 million in funding to support health systems and women’s health and rights and provide humanitarian assistance in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Benin

News release

April 11, 2024 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, today met with members of the Congolese-Canadian community in Ottawa, where he announced funding for projects in Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This funding will advance gender equality, improve access to health supports for women and girls, address sexual and gender-based violence and bring forth more inclusive governance. The announcement comes following his recent trip to both countries, where he saw first-hand how Canada’s international development efforts are supporting local communities.

The projects announced for DRC will improve access to health resources for women and girls, promote inclusive practices in governance and help prevent and respond to gender-based violence, as well as for critical humanitarian programming that will address needs arising from the conflict in eastern DRC:

  • Development and Peace will implement a $10-million project, the Electoral Education and Inclusive Governance Program, aimed at improving the inclusion of women in public and democratic life in the DRC
  • Santé Monde [world health] will implement a $24.5-million project, Femmes et Adolescentes Mobilisées pour leur Santé [women and adolescent girls mobilized for their health], aimed at improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescent girls by tackling the deep-rooted gender inequalities that limit access to health services
  • International Alert will receive $3 million in funding for the Conflict Sensitivity Hub, an initiative that will support a centre of expertise for the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding community in the DRC, particularly members working in the eastern part of the country
  • The UN Development Programme will receive a top-up of $5 million for its project Justice, Empowerment and Dignity of Women and Girls in the DRC, an initiative aimed at preventing and responding to gender-based and sexual violence such as sexual harassment, bullying, early marriage, rape and harmful practices
  • The Global Survivors Fund will implement a $5 million project aimed at enhancing access to reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence around the globe
  • A total of more than $27million will also be provided to several humanitarian partners to help meet the life-saving needs of crisis-affected populations in the DRC.

The projects announced for Benin will seek to increase economic resilience, promote a greener economy, prevent sexual and gender-based violence and strengthen health systems:

  • Unité de santé internationale [health unit international] and CARE Canada will implement a $17.5-million project called Strengthening Human Resources and Governance for Health in Benin, which seeks to improve the health status of people in the country, especially in its northern departments
  • Développement international Desjardins [Desjardins international development] will implement a $14-million project, Increased Climate and Economic Resilience for Women-Led Small Agri-businesses in Benin, which aims to improve and strengthen the technical and management skills of microfinance and business development providers so they can better support women-led businesses
  • Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund will implement a $16.5-million project, Investing in Women for Greener Economy in Benin and Burkina Faso; $6.2 million of this funding will support programming in Benin. This project aims to enhance the economic participation and the resilience of women entrepreneurs in a greener economy
  • Solidarité Union Coopération [solidarity union cooperation] will implement Pioneers of Climate and Economic Resilience in Benin and Burkina Faso, a $15.1-million project, of which $3.3 million will be for specific activities in Benin. This project aims to improve the climatic and economic resilience of women through the preservation and restoration of biodiversity and the sustainable use of forest and agroforestry ecosystems
  • The UN Population Fund will implement a $5-million project, Making All Spaces Safe, which aims to ensure that women and girls in all their diversity can safely participate in the digital space. This project will be implemented at the global level and at the national level in Benin and Kenya to prevent and respond to technology-facilitated gender-based violence and provide services to survivors


“Canada’s ongoing support for gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, a greener economy and economic resilience in Africa is unwavering. My recent visit to Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo brought visibility to our shared goals and was a reminder of how together, we continue to work toward a more equitable future for all.”

- Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development

Quick facts

  • Over the last decade, Canada provided over $258 million in development assistance to Benin, emphasizing gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, human dignity and green economic growth.

  • The DRC is the sixth-largest recipient of Canadian development assistance, having received $206.71 million in the 2022 to 2023 fiscal year.

  • Canada is committed to fighting for the rights of women and girls, promoting their sexual and reproductive health rights and combatting sexual and gender-based violence in the DCR. Canada also supports democratic governance and child protection.

  • Canada provides needs-based humanitarian assistance funding to help provide food, safe water and sanitation, treatment for acute malnutrition and other critical health care, emergency shelter and protection services (including medical and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual violence) for crisis-affected populations in the DRC.

  • Through its support of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, Canada contributes to national and international efforts to ensure stabilization and the building of a lasting peace and, thereby, the protection of civilians, particularly children, from violence and human rights violations.

Associated links


Olivia Batten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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