Canada throws lifeline to women’s push for access to education  

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By Audience Mutema

THE Canadian government has donated CAD9.4 million to fund the Zimbabwean girl child and women between the ages of 12 and 22 years.

In a statement Monday, the Canadian embassy in Harare said the money will be used to bring down barriers that hinder women and girls’ access to quality education.

“The government of Canada, through Care Canada, has committed CAD9.4 million, to strengthen the education ecosystem focusing on the capacities of adolescent girls and young women (aged 12 to 22 years) in Zimbabwe.

“The project that will run from 2019-23 will target socio-economic barriers that prohibit girls’ sustained engagement in secondary education or training and their successful transition to adulthood,” the embassy said in a statement.

“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.”

Added the embassy: “The CAD9.4 million committed to Zimbabwe is part of CAD400 million committed by Canada as part of the CAD3.8 billion mobilized during the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries, a key outcome of the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix.”

According to the embassy, the aim is to make sure there are improved learning outcomes that positively affect women and the disabled.

“These projects aim to dismantle barriers and improve women and girls’ equitable access to a quality education; to invest in quality education systems; and to support skills development and sex-disaggregated education and gender equality data, especially for women and girls in fragile, conflict and crisis situations, including in refugee-hosting countries.

“The results will lead to improved learning outcomes and employability among women, adolescent girls and girls, including those with disabilities,” read the statement in part.

“They discussed ways to fight inequality and reiterated the importance of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment to build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world. These projects will adopt a safe and inclusive education approach that will advance gender equality and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The project, the embassy added is in line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its six action areas.

The cash injection follows a meeting of the G7 in Paris, France that was attended by Canadian Minister of International Development Maryam Monsef on July 4th at which four declarations calling for attention to gender equality and youth and women in fragile and conflict-affected states were endorsed.