CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

March 06, 2008 11:30 ET

Government of Canada Recognizes Canadian Grassroots Efforts With Support for Afghan Women and Girls

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2008) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced today that the Government of Canada is taking new action to reduce discrimination against women and children in Afghanistan and encourage their participation in Afghan society.

Minister Oda announced two initiatives at an event hosted by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), on the occasion of International Women's Week, to recognize the efforts of Canadian organizations and individuals that are helping improve the lives of Afghan women and girls.

"Women in Afghanistan suffered tremendous hardship under the Taliban regime. They lost the right to a formal education, to being part of the workforce and to participating in political life," said Minister Oda. "Canada is proud to help Afghan women overcome this legacy and is honoured to highlight some of the important work being done by Canadians, such as Alaina Podmorow, to help improve the lives of Afghan women and girls."

As part of today's announcement, the Government will provide $5 million to the Responsive Fund for the Advancement of Women, a Canadian International Development Agency fund to support quick-impact projects aimed at reducing discrimination against women and encourage their participation in Afghan society. The new capacity that this funding provides will help address the recommendation in the report of the Independent Panel on Canada's role in Afghanistan for "locally managed, quick action projects that bring immediate improvement to everyday life for Afghans."

The Government will also provide $500 000 to the Excel-rate Education initiative being undertaken by the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, (CW4WA) a volunteer network in Canada committed to supporting the empowerment of Afghan women and girls. This project will establish a teacher-training program, through local partners, to improve education for Afghan girls in Kabul Province. The funding will permit the training of 720 Afghan teachers, including 364 female teachers.

In addition, CIDA will match, dollar for dollar, funds raised by CW4WA, and their affiliated youth organization, Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, to bring the number of female teachers trained to 500.

Two years ago, Miss Podmorow, an 11-year old girl from Okanagan, B.C., founded the organization called Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan (LW4LW). This group is an extension of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Through fundraising efforts, LW4LW was able to pay for the salaries of thirty Afghan schoolteachers for one year, at a cost of $750 per teacher. In addition to raising funds, Miss Podmorow's organization is committed to raising awareness among North American girls and their parents about the issues faced by girls in Afghanistan.

Today's announcement is part of Canada's overall $1.3 billion contribution to development in Afghanistan over 10 years which is aimed at strengthening governance, security and development in the country.

For more information on Canada's programming in Afghanistan, please refer to CIDA's website at www.cida.gc.ca/afghanistan-e.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Joanna Bailey
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    info@acdi-cida.gc.ca
    http://www.cida.gc.ca (electronic version of document)