These are selected highlights of the results CIDA has achieved with country partners. For more details, see the country reports.
Children are capable of great things when they have enough food and water for a healthy start to life, equal opportunities to learn, and freedom from the threats of violence and exploitation. No child should ever have to face these tragedies.
CIDA has a long history of working to create better conditions in the lives of children in the developing world. Programming focused on education, health, child protection, and human rights areas achieves the greatest results for children in developing countries.
CIDA's Children and Youth Strategy, introduced in November 2009, aims to help today's girls, boys, and youth become resourceful, engaged, and productive adults by focusing on:
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Canada is committed to give girls and boys equal access to quality basic education. Unfortunately, 67 million children worldwide still do not attend school: a majority of those are girls.
Education is a critical factor in reducing poverty and creating equality between women and men. In particular, educated girls are less likely to marry early, and have fewer, healthier, and better educated children. They make good health decisions, leading to a reduction in the spread of HIV and AIDS.
CIDA works to strengthen national education systems to provide access to quality education for children and youth. The Agency works with ministries of education to improve teacher training, undertake curriculum reform, and develop approaches to teaching that support learning.
In Senegal, CIDA trained more than 21,000 educators, increased the overall school enrolment rate to 94.4 percent, increased the national completion rate for students in primary school to 68.6 percent, and helped improve learning in 370 schools, in four regions, by developing better physical, health, and nutrition environments.
In several regions of the world, cultural conventions create additional barriers to educating girls. Parents fear for the safety of their daughters, who could be kidnapped, attacked, or harassed at school or while travelling to and from school. In addition, when girls have separate and clean washrooms with the facilities they need, they are more likely to stay in school.
That is why, in collaboration with UNICEF, the Agency also supported 230 child-friendly schools in Senegal, which provide healthy, protective, inclusive, and gender-sensitive learning environments for children and youth.
Experience has shown that hungry children are less likely to go to school, and when they do, they are not ready to learn even basic skills. CIDA supports the World Food Programme's school feeding program to purchase, deliver, and distribute nutritious food to schoolchildren, particularly girls, to help increase enrolment and attendance rates and improve children's concentration, learning, and academic performance.
In addition, CIDA works with partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the GAVI Alliance, the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and the Micronutrient Initiative to deliver health care to children, including vaccinations against diseases such as measles and polio.
In an effort to provide better health care for children in Ghana, CIDA contributed to a three-year program with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the SickKids Foundation to help train pediatric nurses in Ghana, as well as specialized pediatric training for health-care workers in Ethiopia and Tanzania.
In Mali, CIDA helped train medical staff and helped build clinics, increasing the number of people living within five kilometres of a functional community health centre by 8 percent (from 51 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2010).
In Sudan, CIDA helped more than 100,000 at-risk youth obtain an education, life skills, health and social services, and opportunities to generate income and sustainable livelihoods.
In 2010-2011, Canada led the world with the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G-8 Summit in June 2010, the Muskoka Initiative addresses the significant gaps that exist in maternal, newborn, and child health in developing countries.
In total, CIDA invested $1.048 billion in children and youth programming as it worked to advance and fully implement the priorities of its Children and Youth Strategy in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Twelve-year-old Ara lives in a remote community in Afghanistan. Until recently, she did not go to school because the closest school to her house was five kilometres away. Even if she could walk the distance each day, her parents would not allow it because it is too dangerous.
To help give children like Ara an opportunity to learn, CIDA, the Government of Afghanistan, and partners such as UNICEF, BRAC (Bangladesh Rehabilitation Advancement Committee), and Save the Children International, support community-based schools for students to attend. These schools are set up in places such as homes, mosques, and other community spaces, making it possible for thousands of children to receive an education without having to travel far from home.
"It's really a song of my heart—these people, these Canadians. I'm really thanking them for their help they have been giving to our community. It has saved a lot of lives."
Beaulah, community health worker at the Demu medical clinic in Zambia, who counts on CIDA-funded medical supplies to prevent and treat illnesses for mothers and children.