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Harper Government Partners with York University to Reduce Poverty

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/04/13 -- Vulnerable children in Africa and persons with disabilities in South Asia will see their lives improved thanks to a partnership between the Government of Canada and York University. Today, Member of Parliament Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, announced Canada's support for two initiatives to help advance education and economic growth prospects in the developing world.

"Through this partnership with York University, Canadians can take pride in knowing that teachers in Kenya will receive better training to help elementary and secondary school students in refugee camps," said MP Brown. "Students at York University will also have the opportunity to participate in an initiative that will increase the employability and livelihoods of people with disabilities in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal."

The first investment will help York University train 400 Kenyan teachers to enhance the quality of education provided to some 18,000 students, primarily in refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya. The second investment will support the university's efforts to influence employers to hire and promote persons with disabilities in South Asia, which will help close to 10,000 people in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal find sustainable employment and increase their household incomes.

"CIDA is working with Canadian universities to deliver tangible results for those most in need around the world," added MP Brown. "By tapping into the expertise of York University, Canada will help provide vulnerable children, women, and men with the essentials for sustainable livelihoods over the long term."

"York University is proud of our research leaders in this area," said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University. "CIDA's funding allows our researchers to grow and strengthen their innovative research programs and international collaborations aimed at developing solutions to complex challenges in regions of the Global South."

"Researchers at York University are taking an active leadership role in working together with partners around the world to inform public policy, create new knowledge, and provide insights into complex social and economic challenges facing the international community," said Robert Hache, Vice-President, Research & Innovation, York University.

The two projects will be funded through CIDA's Partners for Development program, for close to $6.2 million.

For more information, please visit: www.cida.gc.ca/partnership.

BACKGROUNDER

University Call for Proposals - List of Announced Projects

CIDA's Partners for Development Program aims to leverage the development expertise and initiative of Canadians by funding the most meritorious proposals put forward by Canadian organizations to deliver development results on the ground. Following a 2011 call for proposals, Canadian universities are receiving support from CIDA to implement targeted development projects around the world for up to five years.

These selected Canadian universities will work with institutions and organizations in developing countries to ensure that the results will directly benefit people in need. Their projects will stimulate sustainable economic growth, secure the future of children and youth, increase food security, and improve the health of mothers, newborns and children.

In addition to the two York University projects announced today by Parliamentary Secretary Lois Brown, below are successful projects that have been previously announced as a result of this call for proposals.

York University

Reducing unemployment among persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, India and Nepal

Local partners: Protibandhi Kallyan Somity (Bangladesh), Swadhikhaar Centre for Disabilities Information, Research and Resource Development (India), National Federation of the Disabled (Nepal)

This project will help some 10,000 persons with disabilities find sustainable employment and increase their household income. It will:

--  identify and address the key causes of chronic unemployment,
    underemployment, and poverty of persons with disabilities in Dhaka,
    Bangladesh, Hyderabad, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal; 
--  focus on three sectors that employ a proportionally large number of
    persons with disabilities-cottage or home-based industries, the
    hospitality sector and food processing; 
--  influence small and medium-sized enterprises to hire and promote persons
    with disabilities; and 
--  increase the employability of persons with disabilities. 

Improving refugee teaching capacities in Dadaab, Kenya

Local partners: Kenyatta University, African Virtual University, Moi University, Windle Trust Kenya

This project will provide better quality education to some 18,000 vulnerable elementary and secondary students in the Dadaab refugee camps as well as in Dadaab, Kenya, itself. It will:

--  train 400 uncertified refugee and local Kenyan teachers through on line,
    on-site university-based teacher education programs at the primary and
    secondary level, improving their teaching skills and helping to ensure
    that their students do better in school; and 
--  serve as a high-quality model for other developing countries offering
    asylum to refugees. 

University of Prince Edward Island

Rural training centre for aboriginal youth in Chiloe, Chile

Local partner: Williche Council of Chiefs

This project will reduce poverty by establishing a rural training centre-the Wekimum Rural Training Centre-where 200 male and female indigenous people between the ages of 15 and 44, in the poorest communities of Chiloe, will learn skills in how to make a living in rural areas, as well as in resource management and business development. It will:

--  help youth become more employable and self-sufficient; 
--  help youth contribute to local governance and community development; 
--  re-establish youth confidence and pride in indigenous identity and
    traditional knowledge; 
--  leave behind a training centre with high-quality curricula and
    programming; and 
--  help more than 200 youth and their families benefit from seed and
    livestock banks developed from the fusion of Chilote and Canadian
    knowledge. 

Dalhousie University

Local economic growth and food security in Cuba

Local partner: University of Oriente

This project will support local economic growth and ensure that people in the four eastern provinces of Cuba-Las Tunas, Granma, Guantanamo, and Santiago de Cuba-will have access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food. It will:

--  improve the capacity of more than 200 government officials and
    university representatives to plan, implement, and assess local economic
    development strategies and initiatives; 
--  enhance the business skills of small farmers, enterprise owners, and
    cooperatives, providing support and technical assistance to micro-
    enterprise agricultural and food production; 
--  train as many as 100 small farmers, increase the availability of
    microcredit, and increase the environmental sustainability of food-
    producing and food-processing micro-enterprises; 
--  strengthen the capacity of Cuban partners to implement industrial
    techniques in agricultural and food production that use waste for
    productive purposes and reduce the need for imported energy and
    resources; and 
--  leave behind environmentally sustainable technologies in local food
    production. 

St. Francis Xavier University

Women's leadership for economic empowerment and food security in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zambia

Local partners: Organization for Women in Self Employment (Ethiopia), University for Development Studies (Ghana), Women for Change (Zambia)

This project will help strengthen the leadership of more than 1,000 women and their organizations in these countries to address lack of access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food and promote sustainable livelihoods. It will improve the quality of adult education in these countries and empower women economically.

--  In Ethiopia, the project will train 2,000 marginalized women and girls
    from ten communities in business development and life skills. The
    project will also help strengthen 50 cooperatives networks to improve
    their access to markets. 
--  In Ghana, the project will train 500 women and youth in 20 communities
    to grow, process and use indigenous foods. 
--  In Zambia, economic empowerment training will benefit 800 local groups
    and 80 area associations. 

Universite de Moncton

Support to centres for rural development in Burkina Faso

Local partners: Ministry of Agriculture and Water, Ministry for the Advancement of Women, Ministry of Youth, Vocational Training and Employment

This project will improve access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food in three regions of Burkina Faso. In cooperation with three local partners, as well as local civil society organizations, it will:

--  train 50 trainers in three centres for rural development located
    throughout the country-who in turn, will train 362 women and 452 men per
    year in sustainable agriculture; 
--  help five other centres for rural development improve their capacity to
    deliver training; 
--  ensure the training is fair and equally accessible to women; and 
--  involve regional and national organizations that are able to sustain the
    centres after the project ends. 

University of Alberta

Developing capacity to teach math in rural communities in Tanzania

Local partner: University of Dodoma

In Tanzania, the majority of children fail math in the national primary school graduation exam and 25 percent do not attain a basic level of numeracy. This project will:

--  help 430 teachers improve their knowledge of math and teaching skills,
    benefitting more than 13,000 children in three rural regions of Tanzania
    (Dodoma, Iringa, and Morogoro); and 
--  develop a cadre of teacher educators able to train future teachers. 

Protecting the health of mothers and newborns in Ethiopia

Local partners: St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Ministry of Health

Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. To reduce these rates, this project will:

--  improve the skills of 200 primary health workers and 4,500 midwives to
    deliver healthy babies, benefiting more than 50,000 women and 100,000
    children; and 
--  develop a program at St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College to
    train midwife trainers. 

Vancouver Island University

Building capacity in the Ukrainian government by developing geographical information systems

Local Partners: National University of Kyiv, Institute of Geography of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences

This project will develop and deliver training for Ukrainian public sector institutions in the use of geographic information systems. This will help the government to privatize rural lands and demarcate its national borders. The project will:

--  support the development of a local training program run by local
    professionals; and 
--  train faculty and staff of the local partners, who in turn, will train
    approximately 100 civil servants in the application of geomatics
    technologies. 

University of Saskatchewan

Mama Kwanza (Mother First) socio-economic and health initiative in Tanzania

Local partners: Green Hope, Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology

This project will give the most vulnerable women and children in the district of Arusha in Northern Tanzania, particularly in households headed by children or grandmothers, access to better maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services. It will:

--  establish family-centred care, integrating MNCH services with socio-
    economic support; 
--  help 3,000 women access newborn and child programs and services by
    increasing the capacity and number of service providers and partners
    trained on evidence-based approaches; and 
--  increase women's empowerment and engagement by providing socio-economic
    support related to water purification, solar food drying, community
    gardening, and an alternative payment system. 

Contacts:
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary
819-953-6238
[email protected]

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Media Relations Office
819-953-6534
[email protected]

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