Canada announces funding for child protection and women’s economic empowerment

OTTAWA, Canada

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today announced $97 million in funding to improve child protection, promote growth that works for all and provide crucial humanitarian assistance in the DRC and the region. The Minister made this announcement as she concluded a two-day visit to the DRC, as part of Canada’s re-engagement with Africa and its commitment to work together to address issues facing the continent.

The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 87% of its population living on less than $1.25 a day. Years of conflict have resulted in more than 3 million internally displaced people. Women and children are particularly vulnerable as they have limited means to support their families, little access to sexual and reproductive health services, and increased risk of experiencing sexual and gender-based violence.

The Minister will now travel to Ghana for a three-day visit to promote and reinforce women’s, girls’ and youth’s empowerment in Africa

In line with Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy, the initiatives announced today will help address some of these challenges and improve the lives of the most vulnerable Congolese, particularly women and children, by:

  • helping to protect the rights of more than 95,000 street children, at-risk youth and children working in and around mines;
  • increasing women’s and girls’ access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services;
  • providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to over 578,000 conflict-affected people; and
  • empowering women with the skills and financial products they need to support their communities and families, promoting growth that works for all.

While in the DRC, Minister Bibeau met with a number of women, youth and government officials, as well as development and humanitarian partners, to determine how Canada can best continue to support the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights.

The Minister also stressed the importance of good governance in the DRC. In this context, only a political solution will allow the country to emerge from the crisis. That is why Canada is calling for the implementation of the December 31, 2016, agreement and the holding of presidential elections as soon as possible.

The Minister will now travel to Ghana for a three-day visit to promote and reinforce women’s, girls’ and youth’s empowerment in Africa. For this portion of the trip, the Minister will be accompanied by Right To Play ambassadors Kaylyn Kyle, Olympic bronze medalist for the Canadian soccer team, and Joannie Rochette, Olympic bronze medalist figure skater for Team Canada.

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