June 18th, 2018

The Canadian Government’s June 9th announcement at the G7 Summit in Quebec that it has raised almost $3.8 billion CAD in an effort with other countries and organizations to send the world’s poorest girls to school is welcome and important news.

Canada’s contribution includes a $400-million investment as part of the overall three-year commitment, with the money to go towards “supporting women acquiring job skills, improving teacher training to build on curriculum for girls, expanding the quality of data available on female education and promoting more coordination between humanitarian partners.” PIC hopes that Canada will target some of its funding to sexual and reproductive health, something that is crucial to removing barriers that can keep girls from school.

Early (often forced) marriage and unintended pregnancies end educational opportunities for many girls. Without an education, they often lack the tools they need to make their own decisions about their future, to live the life they want for themselves, to find income opportunities outside the home and space their children as they choose.

As one of Canada’s major newspapers noted, we are standing in the wake of the largest wave of young people in history. With the population under the age of 30 in the most fragile and unstable countries about to spike, far too many youth are facing bleak, uncertain futures – with implications for global security.

Consequently, we are also witnessing the largest number of refugees and internally displaced people on Earth since the Second World War.

During times of crisis, schools are often the first service to be suspended and the last to resume. 75 million children and youth are out of school in 35 crisis-affected countries. In such circumstances, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school, making them vulnerable to violence, discrimination and exploitation.

The funding provided by Canada and its international partners is an important first step in affording some of the world’s most vulnerable girls a stable future, something that will benefit not only the girls themselves, but the communities in which they live and work, and the environment in which those communities are based. Educated women means smaller families, which will in time lead to a sustainable population – something that every country should strive for.

Contact: Madeline Weld, Ph.D.
President, Population Institute Canada
Tel: (613) 833-3668
Email: [email protected]