Celebrated in the first complete week of February, International Development Week is a week-long initiative undertaken in Canada, dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging the contributions made by Canadians in their native country and to the world at large. Organised since 1991, this tradition has seen the entire country of Canada, its civil society, private organisations, government departments & educational sectors participate in it in large numbers.
International Development Week (IDW): What is it all about?
The origins of International Development Week go back to the year 1988 when the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) proposed Development Day as a part of their efforts under the Education to Development Program to encourage global peace and harmony. Ever since then, the day has expanded to become a week-long celebration where the Canadian civil society and philanthropic sector come together with the governmental agencies to ponder the question of creating a fair and equitable society.
Given that we increasingly inhabit a more and more hostile world, divided by distinctions of class, caste, colour, etc, it has become very urgent to address the challenges resulting from it. Be it climate change or healthcare crisis, no challenge is limited to geography, all of us across borders and locales face these challenges and they impact the weaker sections of our society adversely. Especially those who are underprivileged.
The Canadian Government acknowledges that and this initiative which comprises hundreds of engagement activities conducted across the coasts of Canada, is aimed to inspire and engage Canadian people to contribute to international development and build a more just world for all.
IDW: Its Origins
As discussed above, the week-long tradition was initiated by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which shared aid with developing countries to help them develop. This Canadian agency was established in 1968 by the Canadian government, with the express purpose of supporting sustainable development in under-privileged countries to create a more equitable and prosperous world. It worked by giving aid to 20 developing nations in focus. To facilitate this, it worked in collaboration with civil society partners, countries in crisis, NGOs, colleges and other educational institutions. Later the agency was merged into the Department of Foreign Affairs which continues to support and host the activities and programs started by the CIDA, including the International Development Week.
IDW: Theme for 2024
The celebrations and activities for International Development Week have always been centred around a theme, beginning in 1991, when the theme was “Growing Interdependence”. Over the years, it has focused on many themes such as gender equality, partnering for a better world, etc.
For the years 2020-2024, the theme is focused on international efforts for sustainable development of the world to create a more equitable world which is rid of evils such as poverty, hunger and gender inequalilty. The theme is “Go for the Goals.” Goals here refer to the Sustainable Development Goals decided under the 2030 agenda proposed by the U.N. The UN had proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the year 2015, under the 2030 agenda to catalyse world leaders and nations towards ending extreme poverty and creating a more sustainable world.
These goals urge governments across the world to
- End poverty
- End hunger
- Ensure accessible healthcare for all and give people the means to live healthy lives
- Provide quality education for everyone
- Promote gender equity
- Provide clean water and sanitation
- Create sustainable economic growth and employment for everyone
- Create resilient, inclusive infrastructure
- Reduce inequality, in all the nations and amongst them
- Provide safe and reliable means of energy to everyone across the world
- Build safe cities and make them more resilient and inclusive
- Find ways to fight climate change
- Find sustainable and green ways to use and conserve the oceans
- Ensure responsible and sustainable patterns of consumption
- Protect and restore ecosystems on land
- Build accountable institutions that ensure justice for all
- Create opportunities to build global partnerships for sustainable development of the world
All of these goals cannot be achieved without creating a climate of international cooperation and collaboration, and nations across the world are aware of this reality. Given the universal nature of these goals and how well they align with the motto of creating a more positive world, Canada has adopted them as the theme for the upcoming International Development Week.
The focus of IDW, which is being held between 4–10 February, this year, would be to continue to find ways through which Canada and its partners can achieve these goals. It is also going to narrow down on the role of youth in creating a better future while highlighting contributions made and milestones achieved by Canada in gender equity, health and education. The official website for the Canadian government has also listed a few ways to participate in the event for educators, such as debating or discussing a global issue with students, showing them a film on the same or sharing books in the library that touch on any global issue.
For the civil society, it recommends using the IDW to highlight the contributions made to a global issue by a Canadian activist or inviting a guest speaker who has extensive experience on a global issue to give a lecture to the Canadian public.
The IDW is a great initiative by the Canadian government to foster a spirit of collaboration and cooperation by involving all sections of society. It also helps the young generation get familiar with global issues and helps them understand how they can do their part to build a better world.
The poet John Donne said “No man is an island” which is more true now than ever. All our actions have larger repercussions and we all have a part to play in building a better world. It is incredibly important for our young generation to realise that so that they can pave the way for a better future and innovation. At EuroKids, collaboration and innovation hold an important place in early education. Young tots are taught new ways to solve problems while working with each other, helping them develop social skills and learn problem-solving. If you are looking to give your child a truly global education that prepares them for the future, visit your nearest EuroKIds branch to know more.