With Malala Yousafzai by his side, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he is doubling Canada’s annual contribution to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) on Thursday.

In Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, Trudeau announced that Canada will commit $180 million from 2018-2020 towards GPE while participating in a panel discussion on the education and empowerment of girls and women with honorary Canadian citizen Yousafzai.

At the last GPE replenishment, Canada gave GPE $120 million over four years and the new commitment indicates that Canada has heard the call from nearly 110,000 global citizens who have called on Canada to increase its support for GPE.

Take Action: Canada Has Doubled Its Commitment to GPE

Global Citizens are encouraged that Prime Minister Trudeau made this critical announcement, indicating the importance education plays in Canada’s feminist international assistance policy.

"A more peaceful and prosperous world starts with a quality basic education," he said. "Canada is committed to making sure young people around the world, especially girls, get the education they deserve."

While the $180 million falls short of the $260 million commitment Global Citizens had been asking from Canada, there is still one week before the GPE replenishment conference in Dakar, Senegal. This means there is still a possibility that Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau will announce a further increase in Canadian support for GPE at the conference on Feb. 2.

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The funds committed by Canada will help strengthen education systems in developing countries and provide support for girls’ education.

The GPE is an organization that has been working to increase access to education for the world’s most vulnerable children since 2002.

While progress has been made on girls’ education, there are still an estimated 131 million girls worldwide remain out of school. Girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school than boys in times of crisis, according to World Vision Canada.

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Educated girls and women can be agents of change within their communities. With education, women and girls have fewer children, make more money and are able to better provide for their families, according to UNICEF data.

"Empowering the developing world through education is an essential pathway toward success," Trudeau said.

Malala, who is now an Oxford University student, was shot by the Taliban on her way to school in Pakistan. She has since become a passionate advocate for girls education around the world.

Read More: Oxford University Just Took More Women Than Men for the First Time

"On behalf of 130 million girls, thank you and merci," Yousafzai said to Trudeau. "I hope that other countries can follow this example. I hope that one day we'll see all girls receive a quality education."

The G7 is taking place in Charlevoix, Quebec, this year and Trudeau has made it clear that gender equality will be an integral part of all conversations. His GPE pledge indicates that he sees education as an enabler of gender equality.

"This year, we’re taking a different approach on the G7. Instead of making (gender issues) a specific and important topic, we’re making it touch everything we do," he said.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including issues related to education and gender equality. You can take action here.


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Justin Trudeau Pledged $180 Million to Education Standing Alongside Malala Yousafzai

By Jackie Marchildon