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CanadaCanada is delivering on international aid for women’s health

17:15  09 june  2019
17:15  09 june  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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This week Canada committed to a 10-year investment increasing international aid for women ’ s health and rights to .4 billion annually by 2023 from It takes time to deliver on these mandates, and advocates work under high pressure to deliver programming within challenging time constraints

Objective 1 To ensure that Health Canada 's policies and programs are responsive to sex and gender differences and to women ' s health needs. These messages were delivered clearly in August 1996 by the 300 participants at the bi- national Forum on Women ' s Health , which was co-hosted by Health

Canada is delivering on international aid for women’s health© JONATHAN HAYWARD Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde during a bilateral meeting at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver on Tuesday.

This week Canada committed to a 10-year investment increasing international aid for women’s health and rights to $1.4 billion annually by 2023 from the current $1.1 billion.

The funding includes targeted envelopes for sexual and reproductive health.

This is especially important at a moment in history when advocates are scrambling to manage the impacts of shifts in aid policy in the U.S. restricting funding for non-governmental organizations advocating for reproductive health care rights or providing counselling, referral or health care services related to abortions.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at the Women Deliver conference hosted in Vancouver, which brought together 8,000 women’s health and economic empowerment leaders, academics, and advocates from over 160 countries.

With Canadian funding commitments previously set to end in 2020, a coalition of Canadian-based global women’s health organizations collaborated over the course of the last year to develop the Thrive Agenda, aimed to shape the strategic direction of Canada’s future global health impact. The strategy takes an approach that considers how health rights, economic empowerment, education, security, and political participation interconnect in addressing global gender inequality.

For the past decade especially, Canadians have played a leading role in changing outcomes for women around the world through local reproductive, maternal, newborn, and children’s health and nutrition initiatives and work focused on women’s economic empowerment and justice.

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Canada is dedicating .9-million in new international aid to ensure women and girls around the world have safe access to abortion and reproductive health services during the COVID-19 Gould says these services remain vital to women ’ s health and safety and that safe access must be maintained.

The 10-year commitment set with this new funding helps build on the success of previous projects and supports the development of longer-term initiatives with an ability to go even deeper in addressing local needs.

While Canadian government support for this area of aid has been strong, the structure of funding allocation since 2010 and the nature of political announcements (lag time before the release of funding) makes this work challenging on the ground.

It takes time to deliver on these mandates, and advocates work under high pressure to deliver programming within challenging time constraints to show quantifiable results.

CARE Canada for example has an extended presence in 90 countries working toward women’s economic empowerment, humanitarian response to crisis, health, and nutrition. Through the #FeedHerFuture campaign they are centring nutrition for women and girls in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The project has reached 230,000 people so far, with a goal to reach 345,000. They are among over 100 Canadian organizations that make up the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health leading this work globally.

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Canadians are playing an essential role in providing sustainable support and galvanizing the international community around global women and children’s health outcomes.

I’m looking forward to watching and supporting over the next 10 years as the next phase of the Thrive Agenda vision is carried out with Canadians passionately leading the way.

For each woman and girl who is touched by this work, whether it be access to life saving health-care services, education that expands horizons, or support to build thriving communities — the true impact of this investment is immeasurable.

It will be important that the Canadian government ensure this funding is allocated thoughtfully with deliberate effort to prioritize long-term investments over pilot projects that are administered in true partnership with women working within their own communities.

As we continuously work to ensure women across Canada, and especially those in remote communities have access to the health-care services and supports they need to thrive, it’s important to recognize that the fight for gender equality and women’s rights is not confined to our borders.

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Maya Angelou once said, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

The women and men who came together this week to share and inspire one another at the Women Deliver conference are doing the heavy lifting on important work. With each successful project we are drawn closer to a more just society and more positive outcomes for women around the world.

As Canadians work to champion better futures for our families, our local communities, and ourselves these contributions are also leaving a lasting legacy of empowerment lifting women in all corners of the globe.

Tiffany Gooch is a Toronto-based Liberal strategist and a freelance contributing columnist for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @goocht

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