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Canada offers $94.4m ‘humanitarian assistance’ to Nigeria, three others
Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, says the government of her country has promised to assist Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger with a total of $94.4 million for humanitarian assistance and initiatives to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.
Bibeau announced the grant on Friday as she concluded her visit to West Africa, including Nigeria.
“More than 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad Basin countries due to drought, food shortages and ongoing conflict,” she said in a statement issued on Friday.
“Canada will contribute $37.2 million to provide vulnerable communities in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria with food, acute malnutrition treatment, clean water, health care and protection services, including psychosocial support,” she said.
“Canada is providing women and youth a chance to lead healthier and more prosperous lives. I came back to West Africa as Canada’s Minister of International Development — 25 years after I started my career as a junior development adviser in Benin — to witness the results and meet some of the women and youth who benefit from Canada’s aid programs. It was uplifting to see generations of Africans working together to better their lives in close cooperation with Canadians on the ground.”
She explained that Canada champions sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women and girls globally, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, to ensure they have access to the services and information they need to have control of their own bodies, lives and futures.
“Canada also believes that everyone should have equal access to health care, proper nutrition, education and humanitarian assistance,” Bibeau stated.
In addition, she said $57.2 million will go towards initiatives to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Benin, Nigeria and Senegal.
“Over 4 million women and adolescent girls will benefit from greater awareness of, and access to these services, including preventing and responding to forms of gender-based violence such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.”
As part of Canada’s re-engagement with Africa and its Feminist International Assistance Policy, she reiterated commitment to ensuring that no less than 50% of its bilateral international assistance is directed to sub-Saharan Africa by 2021 to 2022.
Her words: “Since the beginning of the conflict between the Nigerian military and non-state armed groups, the protraction of the crisis has devastated communities in the northeast of Nigeria, particularly in Borno State, where the population remains dependent on humanitarian assistance.
“Every year, 16 million children are born to adolescents — girls aged 15 to 19 — accounting for just over one out of every 10 births worldwide. An estimated 15 million girls under the age of 18 are forced into marriage every year. For girls in developing countries, this makes it harder to stay in school and harder to work — perpetuating the cycle of inter-generational poverty.”