QUEBEC CITY - Canada's leading development, humanitarian and grassroots advocacy organizations today celebrate a Canadian commitment to invest CAD$400M over three years for girls' education in crises. This comes as part of a global commitment of CAD $3.8B, and is a reflection of Canada's leadership and strong commitment to achieving gender equality. The G7 countries also endorsed a Declaration focused on the importance of investing in children's education in crises, with a special focus on girls who face additional barriers because of their gender, therefore leaving a sustainable legacy to the millions of girls out-of-school because of conflict or disaster. This Declaration, coupled with the substantial financial investment, is meeting an urgent and unmet need and will help unlock the power of girls living in the world's most difficult places, as they realize their right to an education.
The scale of this crisis is unprecedented. Today, 75 million children and youth are out-of-school in crises-affected countries. Global momentum on this issue is urgently needed. Today's funding announcement is a catalytic moment that will elevate this neglected issue on the global agenda, laying a foundation for sustained global momentum. Thanks to this global commitment, education will now be a reality for – by best estimates – 8.67 million children living in crises all over the world. Education is key to empowering women and brings hope for an entire generation of girls, in places like Syria, where civil war has been raging for over seven years, or countries like Uganda, where millions of refugee girls have been out of school for more than nine years.
Plan International Canada, RESULTS Canada, Right To Play, Save the Children, UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada are part of a broad Canadian and global coalition calling on Canada to show strong leadership at the G7 Summit to ensure we do not lose a generation of children and to focus on the most neglected and vulnerable children - girls. This announcement is a critical step in transforming the words of Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy into action. By choosing to invest in girls' education in crises, Canada is prioritizing the needs of girls, who are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in crises. By supporting the education and empowerment of millions of girls from fragile contexts, Canada is helping sow the seeds for gender equality, economic opportunities, and peace and security to flourish.
Canadian civil society organizations celebrate the important role Canada has played in elevating education in crises on the global agenda. The results of Prime Minister Trudeau listening to civil society organizations, 160,000 signatories on a global petition, and most importantly to women and girls themselves are shown with today's significant announcement. This sends a strong message to the world's most vulnerable and neglected girls: we see you, we hear you, and you are not being forgotten.
"Thanks to Canada's leadership and this funding announcement, we can build a future where girls are no longer 2.5 times more likely to be out of school during a crisis than boys. At Plan International Canada we've known for years the crucial role that education plays for children in crisis, especially girls, and the lifeline it can be. I've seen first-hand the transformational impact girls can have on their communities when they're able to realize their rights. After years of fighting for gender equality, I'm hopeful for what this announcement will mean for millions of girls living in refugee camps and conflict zones who will now be able to choose their own futures."
- Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO, Plan International Canada
"This landmark G7 commitment sends a strong signal to the world that while Canada stands out thanks to the strength of our conviction and our values, we back up those values with concrete action and investments. RESULTS Canada applauds global leaders, and especially Prime Minister Trudeau, for launching an initiative today that promises to provide an education to millions of the world's most marginalized girls and boys and makes the bold bet that if we empower them, they will change the world. RESULTS also applauds citizen advocates across Canada, and across the globe, who raised their voices in support of a G7 initiative that prioritizes hope, progress and impact."
- Christina Dendys, Executive Director, RESULTS Canada
"Right To Play celebrates these landmark commitments and particularly, Canada's leadership in securing them. Today, global leaders have paved the way for a better future for millions of children. Through these commitments, they have reinforced their support for a world in which children, particularly girls, are empowered and strengthened through education and opportunity. We know that when girls go to school, they can break cycles of violence, conflict, and inequality and transform their lives, the lives of their families and communities."
- Kevin Frey, CEO, Right To Play
"When we listen to children affected by crises, their message is clear and consistent- school is a top priority. Today, Prime Minister Trudeau has listened to their voices and stepped up with meaningful action to meet their needs. Canada has successfully mobilized global leaders to recognize that education for girls in particular is a smart investment, with the potential to advance gender equality, strengthen economies and promote peace and security. Save the Children welcomes the historic political and financial commitments made today at the G7, and applauds Canada for its strong leadership."
- Bill Chambers, CEO, Save the Children
"By choosing to support and invest in girls' education in crisis situations, the Government of Canada is doing the right and smart thing for the future of millions of children, especially girls, presently out-of-school. UNICEF believes that the right to education is as fundamental as the right to food or shelter, and provides girls with the skills they need to break the cycle of crisis and poverty. Educated girls become empowered women who can contribute to building more peaceful and prosperous societies."
- David Morley, President and CEO, UNICEF Canada
"This commitment is a game-changer for girls in crisis-affected countries. To have a policy declaration that makes girls' education a priority that is also backed by outstanding financial contributions from the G7 and other countries is exactly what we've been calling for—because we know that even in the world's toughest places education saves lives and builds futures. Millions of vulnerable children, especially girls, will be supported to realize their right to an education and live up to their full potential. Despite competing G7 priorities, Canada has stayed the course by leading the international effort to meet this urgent and unmet need."
- Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada
For further information: Katharine Harris, Plan International Canada, 416-908-1206, email@example.com; Taryn Russell, RESULTS Canada, 613-552-3470, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mandy Kibel, Right To Play International 647 9387255, email@example.com; Jessica Bryant, Save the Children Canada, 647-973-1185, firstname.lastname@example.org; Marie-Hélène Bachand, UNICEF Canada, 514-232-4510, email@example.com; Brett Tarver, World Vision Canada, 647-825-2712, firstname.lastname@example.org