November 20, 2009 10:54 ET

Minister Oda Unveils CIDA's Children and Youth Strategy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today unveiled the Canadian International Development Agency's Children and Youth Strategy, one of CIDA's three thematic priorities.

"Focusing on Children and Youth, our government will help the children living in poverty today become resourceful, engaged and productive adults, ready to carry on the work of building a better future for themselves," said Minister Oda. "Children and youth living in poverty will shoulder some of the world's most pressing challenges. With a more effective approach to CIDA's development programming, we can make a difference in the lives of the world's most vulnerable, particularly young girls."

Under the Government's commitment to more focus, efficiency and accountability, CIDA's Children and Youth Strategy will target three key paths: Increasing child survival, including maternal health; Improving the quality of education; and Helping to ensure the safety and security of children and youth.

Building on CIDA's long history of working to help children, the Agency will increase programming in areas where it has already achieved considerable success with proven interventions such as basic education, child survival and maternal health. It will also continue to explore ways to help partner countries protect the rights of children and youth and ensure their safety and security. In her speech, Minister Oda also announced funding for three projects that are perfect illustrations of efficient and accountable programs that will be supported under the Children and Youth Strategy:

Working to ensure infant and maternal health, CIDA will contribute up to $2.4 million to a 3-year program with The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, (SickKids) and SickKids Foundation to help train paediatric nurses in Ghana, ultimately leading to the improved quality of healthcare provided to children in this country The program will also include specialized pediatric training for health care workers in two other African countries.

"SickKids International is delighted to partner with CIDA and SickKids Foundation on our Global Child Health Program," says Cathy Seguin, Vice President, SickKids International Affairs. "By providing innovative and sustainable paediatric health care education programs, by promoting leadership in child health and by strengthening the capacity of health systems, we can measurably improve child health outcomes in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania."

Micronutrients, such as vitamin A and iodine plays a critical role in childhood survival and good health. It is one of the most efficient development investments that can be made to reduce the burden of illness, disease and childhood deaths. Minister Oda further announced a $150 million contribution to the Micronutrient Initiative. This investment has the potential to save millions of lives.

"Through its support of the Micronutrient Initiative, Canada has helped to save and enhance millions of children's lives in developing countries," says Venkatesh Mannar, President, the Micronutrient Initiative. "This renewed commitment to vitamin and mineral programs positions Canada as the world's leader in nutrition security."

To support the path of improving the quality of education, Minister Oda announced that CIDA will contribute $60 million to the Education for All - Fast Track Initiative, a global partnership between donor and developing countries To date, this initiative has achieved effective results with 20 million more children now in school in sub-Saharan Africa since its inception in 2002. The Canadian contribution will help developing countries further increase enrollment and the quality of their education.

"With Canada's support to the Education for All - Fast Track Initiative, more children in developing countries will be able to attend school and learn something meaningful," said Robert Prouty, Acting Head of the EFA-FTI Secretariat. "We are very pleased that Canada is demonstrating continued leadership in this tremendously important field."

The Children and Youth Strategy complements CIDA's other thematic priority themes of Food Security and Economic Growth and maximizes Canadian leadership toward increased aid effectiveness.


CIDA'S Children and Youth Strategy at a Glance

CIDA will work towards supporting children and youth in partner countries and regions where the Agency focuses its international development programming. The programming will be designed to:

- Increase child survival by scaling up proven interventions in child and maternal health

- Provide greater access to quality education

- Ensure that children and youth grow and learn in safe and secure environments

Strategic objective

The objective of the Children and Youth Strategy is to recognize children and youth as key agents of change and to give them the tools they need to grow into healthy and productive citizens of tomorrow.

Priorities for action

Child survival, including maternal health

- Reduce maternal and neonatal deaths through better access to antenatal,
obstetric and post-partum care

- Improve child survival through the prompt, effective and equitable
delivery of child-specific health services such as:

- Immunization
- Nutritional supplements
- Sustainable access to safe drinking water
- Improved sanitation and good hygiene practices

As an example, CIDA is providing $150 million to the Micronutrient
Initiative which will help bring life-saving vitamins and minerals to
women and children.

- Work with developing country partners to prevent and treat high-burden,
poverty-linked diseases that primarily affect mothers and children, such
as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis

- Support partner country efforts to establish sustainable health systems
that respond to the particular needs of children and mothers. For
example, CIDA will invest more than $2 million to a three-year program
with the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and SickKids Foundation
to train specialists in Ghana.

Access to quality education

- Improve access to basic education, particularly for girls

- Improve the quality of education and promote learning through activities
such as training teachers and developing curricula and educational

As an example, CIDA is contributing $60 million to the Education for
All-Fast Track Initiative, a global partnership between donor and
developing countries to increase the number of children in school

- Increase access to alternative and innovative learning opportunities for
youth to increase literacy and numeracy skills

- Strengthen education systems through support to country-led national
plans and priorities for reforms

Safe and secure futures for children and youth

- Strengthen and implement national protection legislation and mechanisms
to safeguard the human rights and security of children and youth and to
protect them, particularly girls, against violence and exploitation

- Help ensure that schools are safe and free from violence and
child-friendly spaces for learning

- Support efforts to help youth-at-risk find alternatives to violence and
crime and engage constructively as full members of society

Canada's Aid Effectiveness Agenda

In 2008, the Government of Canada developed a new action plan, the Aid Effectiveness Agenda, and has since announced several important initiatives that are resulting in Canadian development assistance that is more effective, more focused and more accountable.

In April 2008, Canada untied 100 percent of its food aid-a decision with immediate results. Instead of sending food purchased in Canada to developing countries, Canada provides funding to multilateral organizations such as the World Food Programme, leading to faster procurement, reduced transportation costs, and relief provided more quickly to those in need.

In September 2008, Canada announced that it would untie all of its development assistance by 2012-2013. This untying policy will provide Canada's partners with the flexibility to find the best deal on commodities, including buying locally and regionally, helping strengthen the development of local markets and stimulating the economies of developing countries.

In February 2009, the Government of Canada announced it would focus its bilateral development efforts on 20 countries. The 20 countries were chosen based on their needs and their capacity to use development aid effectively and efficiently, and in support of Canada's foreign policy priorities.

The 20 Countries of Focus are:

Bolivia Vietnam
Caribbean Region Ukraine
Colombia West Bank and Gaza
Haiti Ethiopia
Honduras Ghana
Peru Mali
Afghanistan Mozambique
Bangladesh Senegal
Indonesia Sudan
Pakistan Tanzania

The majority of CIDA's bilateral resources will be targeted at countries of focus. The balance of CIDA bilateral resources, as well as other funding channels, including partnership programming, multilateral programs, and Canadian humanitarian aid, will continue to be provided in parts of the world where support is needed.

In May 2009, five new international assistance thematic priorities were introduced to guide development programming. CIDA's three priority themes will be Economic Growth, Children and Youth, as well as Food Security, while other departments will focus on Advancing Democracy and Ensuring Security and Stability.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jessica Fletcher
    Press Secretary
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office