The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, presented and hosted by the Motsepe Foundation on Dec. 2, brought together world leaders, artists, and Global Citizens to bear witness to 58 commitments and announcements worth more than USD $7 billion — including a Canadian pledge of CAD $50 million to Education Cannot Wait (ECW).
Ahead of the festival, more than 45,000 Global Citizens around the world signed a petition calling on Canada to commit to ECW, and while he was not able to attend the festival in person, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to their actions with a video message and a tweet on Sunday, announcing the important commitment.
“These are global challenges and it’s up to all of us to make sure everyone has the freedom, equality, and opportunities they need to thrive,” he said. “That means empowering women and girls and Canada is doing its part.”
Canada’s $50-million commitment to ECW will affect the lives of almost 340,000 children and is part of the country’s broader commitment of $400 million to girls’ education, which was announced at the G7 Summit in June.
ECW is a global fund that works to ensure that children affected by conflict and crisis can still pursue their education. They focus on gender equality and access for girls, which has been a focal point of Trudeau’s time in office.
"Now get out there and change the world!"— Global Citizen Canada (@GlblCtznCAN) December 2, 2018
Canadian PM @JustinTrudeau couldn't make it to #GlobalCitizenFestivalSA, but he has an important message for the thousands of Global Citizens in Jozi right now! 🇨🇦
Join us and take action on education here: https://t.co/LoqQZLYzXgpic.twitter.com/TrGyAe7lah
Today, an estimated 39 million girls around the world are not in school due to war, natural disasters, and other emergencies. Funding to organizations like ECW is vital to help empower girls and see to it that they reach their potential — and therefore help lift them out of poverty.
In 2016, Canada committed CAD $20 million to ECW and Canada’s leadership at the G7 resulted in almost $4 billion pledged to girls’ education in crises.
The festival in South Africa led to significant announcements in education.
Sierra Leone committed to increasing its education budget to 21.5%, Germany committed to doubling its funding of the Global Partnership for Education from €18M to €37M and increased its funding for ECW by €15M for a total of €31M. The government of Kenya also pledged to spend almost 30% of its budget on education.
The commitments made at Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 are set to affect the lives of more than 137 million people.