Marie-Claude Bibeau is Canada’s Minister of International Development. In June 2017, Bibeau launched the country’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy.


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In June 2017, Canada launched its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Canada's Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, explains what her country seeks to achieve with it and why we cannot afford to leave the potential of women untapped.

Lucia John, a smallholder farmer in the Wau region of South Sudan, has more status and say in her family and community as a result of having participated in the Fortifying Equality and Economic Diversity project. Lucia attended a Farmer Field School where she learned new agricultural techniques, developed new skills, and gained invaluable knowledge. She quadrupled the size of the land she ploughs with the help of an ox that she received through the project. All of this helped Lucia to increase production of her crops and her income. She can now feed her family three meals a day instead of only two. Her success means that her husband now treats her with more respect and shares in the household tasks like cleaning and collecting water.

Fatoumata Mariko’s life also changed when she joined the Sabati co-operative of more than 1,800 women producers in Zantiebougou, Mali, through the Support for the Marketing of Agricultural Products project. By working in a co-operative, the women in Sabati are able to get better prices for their products and access credit to invest in growing their businesses. The Sabati women now all have stable incomes and are able to send their children – girls and boys – to school. They have even set up a canteen so that children from neighbouring communities can eat before school. The women’s newfound economic power gives them more influence. Fatoumata now has a say in family decisions and is no longer too shy to participate actively in community meetings.

Why a Feminist International Assistance Policy?

Lucia and Fatoumata’s stories are what Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy is all about: empowering women to make better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Our policy is based on evidence that the most effective way to eradicate poverty and inequality for everyone is to empower women and girls.

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