Canada’s support to UNICEF will help provide more children with specialized teachers, safe schools, and more effective delivery of education in remote communities
August 21, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Today, on behalf of Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Joe Daniel, Member of Parliament for Don Valley East, announced that Canada is supporting UNICEF’s work to improve access to quality education for vulnerable and underserved children in Kenya. He was joined by Chungsen Leung, Member of Parliament for Willowdale.
The project aims to increase the number of children, especially girls, attending school in Garissa and Turkana counties, two remote and arid regions of Kenya with high poverty rates, recurrent droughts, and large refugee populations. In these counties, access to governmental services is low, especially for nomadic communities. The project also aims to improve children’s education through activities that include training teachers, renovating classrooms, setting up mobile schools and upgrading the national curriculum.
“It is in remote, arid regions of Kenya that the dropout and youth unemployment rates are the highest,” said MP Daniel. “For children in remote communities such as Garissa and Turkana, gaining access to specialized teachers, as well as stimulating classrooms where they feel safe and secure, can make a huge difference.”
Improving access to quality education will result in helping citizens gain the skills they need to find jobs and participate in local economic development. As these regions are witnessing increasing investment in the extractive sector, Canada is enabling communities to maximize benefits from the extraction of natural resources, and promoting inclusive and diversified growth.
“Educating and empowering the most marginalized girls and boys to actively shape their own future is a transformative investment,” said UNICEF Canada President and Chief Executive Officer David Morley. “The Government of Canada is a global leader in saving children’s lives, and their support of this innovative new education program will help UNICEF to reach and support more children in remote regions of Kenya, regardless of where they live or the barriers to education previously in their path.”
The project will also open up opportunities for the Government of Kenya to keep better track of school management and performance in remote locations. The Government of Kenya will be able to use mobile phone technology to access accurate and up-to-date information on schools in remote communities, helping to improve how decision makers establish budget and policy priorities.
“Canada supports innovative ways of managing and delivering education for children living in remote areas,” said Minister Paradis. “Over the long term, increased access to education in disadvantaged communities will help children and youth gain the skills they need to participate in local economic development, and will build a solid foundation for poverty reduction in Kenya.”
Increasing access to quality education in developing countries, particularly for girls, is a high priority for Canada.
Though Kenya has made significant progress in education over the past decade, there are still more than 1.2 million children out of school, the majority of these living in the arid and semi-arid lands. Enrolment rates are lower for girls throughout the country.
As the economic engine of East Africa, Kenya needs to develop a workforce that is globally competitive and equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies required to realize its full potential. By increasing access to quality education in Kenya, particularly for the most marginalized, Canada is helping build the critical human capital to support increased economic growth.
The fallout from the disputed 2007 elections was devastating. Post-election violence had a particularly high impact on the educational system, as schools were destroyed or turned into camps for internally displaced persons. Students and teachers were themselves displaced, and many lost weeks or months of classes.