Every year on July 1, Canadians around the world celebrate Canada Day, the anniversary of our confederation in 1867. The day is a great time to think about what it means to be Canadian. To some, that might be a friendly game of hockey on a frozen lake or a canoe trip where the only tweets you’ll hear are from birds.
But, many also take July 1 to think about Canada’s role in the world and the investments we make as Canadians to improve the standard of living everywhere.
Earlier this year, ONE travelled to Tanzania and got a first-hand view of how Canadian investments are changing lives for people in Africa. Here are a few examples.
1. Schools like the Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School
It’s no secret that nearly half a billion women worldwide cannot read and over 130 million girls are out of school. 130 million girls…That’s close to 4x Canada’s population, eh! As Canadians, we should do something about this crisis – and we are.
In Tanzania and other African nations, schools like the Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School in Dar es Salaam are benefitting from Canada’s recently increased contribution to the Global Partnership for Education – a program that is actively supported by ONE members in Canada and around the world.
But wait – there’s more…at this year’s G7 in Canada, $3.8 billion were announced to support girls education, particularly in fragile and conflict settings. Any dollar that helps a girl get an education is a good one.
Canada’s Upgrading Teachers’ Colleges project also aims to improve the quality of education for primary and secondary students in Tanzania by improving the quality of education that female and male teacher trainees receive. Better teachers means better students!
2. Social entrepreneurship at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)
Canadians have no shortage of ideas…basketball, poutine and insulin to name a few. But, let’s not forget DOT! Headquartered in Ottawa and with projects in 25 countries including Tanzania, Digital Opportunity Trust is a leader and international advocate in youth-led, gender equality programming that uses technology and digital skills to mobilize and empower young people.
Canada supports DOT in Tanzania by providing leadership training, mentorship and peer-to-peer networking opportunities that prepare youth for employment and/or innovative self-employment opportunities, particularly in entrepreneurship and the social enterprise fields. DOT in Tanzania has also established an Innovation Fund that provides $2,000 seed capital to social entrepreneurs through a competitive pitching process. This fund is part of a broader project being implemented across countries in Africa and the Middle East designed to expand DOT’s economic empowerment programming to help 200,000 young women and men build entrepreneurial and job skills and use technology to increase their incomes and employment opportunities.
3. Treating TB at Sinza Hospital
ONE not only works to end extreme poverty but also preventable disease. In 2016, Canada hosted the Global Fund replenishment which raised $12.9 billion to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. To date, the Global Fund has disbursed $1.9 billion to Tanzania and with this support, hospitals like Sinza Hospital in Dar es Salaam is providing life saving treatment to Tanzanians infected with TB (about 1 in 4 of whom are also HIV-positive).
ONE fights preventable diseases by working with donor governments like Canada, institutions like the Global Fund, and African governments. To date, (RED) has also raised $500 million for the Global Fund and has impacted nearly 110 million lives globally.
4. Partnerships that save the world with Nutrition International, Girl Guides of Tanzania and Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF)
This powerful group of advocates are empowering their communities and changing the world. Canada recognizes that to create change we need to support local grassroots advocates and change-makers. Through their partnership with Nutrition International (NI), Girl Guides Tanzania are helping their community to change gender norms. The Girl Guides raise awareness about proper nutrition and the role that all members of the community – men and women – have to play in preparing nutritious and locally available products. A Canadian success story, Nutrition International focuses on eradicating malnutrition around the world.
ANSAF is a group of civil society organizations focused on advocating for improved agricultural policies and best practices to improve the local economy. In 2013, ANSAF received the ONE Africa award for its outstanding efforts to build a better future for African citizens.
We should all be proud that Canada is a strong supporter of African-led civil society!
5. Supporting SMEs like Tausi Coffee
Of course, ordering a “double-double” is uniquely Canadian coffee-talk but did you know that per capita, Canada is the 10th largest coffee consumer in the world? Canadians love coffee so we should love to know that coffee is Tanzania’s largest export crop.
The coffee business in Tanzania offers big opportunities but being a female business owner comes with its challenges. Limited access to financing and competing domestic responsibilities are some of the barriers to overcome as an entrepreneur. Thankfully for women like Zamda Shaban Mwebesa and her business Tausi Coffee, Canada’s Local Enterprise Development Project seeks to increase equitable and sustainable incomes and employment.
Canada has also recently committed $20 million to the World Bank’s new Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which seeks to support women-owned SMEs by providing access to capital, peer support and role models, capacity building and technical assistance, and market linkages.
6. Addressing labour shortages with Shinyanga Vocational Training Centre (VETA)
Like it or not, even in 2018, some professions are still associated with one gender or another. This type of segregation helps reinforce pay equity gaps and social roles. The Shinyanga Vocational Training Centre in Shinyanga is helping smash these stereotypes and improve job opportunities for men and women.
With Canada’s support, through the Improving Skills Training for Employment Program, Tanzanian women are being connected to training opportunities to meet the workforce needs and address labour shortages in the country. Around 1200 Tanzanian youth will benefit from this training, gaining the skills they need to join the workforce.
Shinyanga Vocational Training Centre’s heavy machinery and technical trade programs aim to train young women to qualify for jobs in male-dominated sectors.
7. Providing health services at clinics like Makongoro Health Clinic
All Canadians have access to vaccines and immunizations but worldwide, 30 million children living in poor countries aren’t fully immunised. Gavi, the Vaccination Alliance, supported by a US$750 million five-year pledge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a $500 million investment from Canada in 2014, is working to break this trend. Clinics like the Makongoro Health Clinic exist thanks to Gavi and thanks to a Canadian program that supports day clinics where mothers can get basic health services for themselves and their children.
As Canadians, we have lots to be proud of this July 1 in our role around the world! These seven stories represent countless others in Tanzania and beyond. Stories like these are exactly what ONE is fighting for and there’s still more work to do. Despite some good news at the G7 this year, Canada still invests less in international development per person than some G7 countries. We can and should do better. New Canadian investments in international assistance present a massive opportunity to support the 766 million people are living in extreme poverty. These investments can empower women and help girls thrive by improving access to education, land rights and financial services for those who need them most. Let’s help women and girls in the global south by getting Canada to do its fair share.