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IDRC and Global Affairs Canada announce initiative to scale care innovations

IDRC and Global Affairs Canada have launched a CAD25-million initiative that will address one of the greatest barriers to gender equality: the disproportionate share of responsibility for unpaid care work that falls on women.
A young woman pounds grain using, with the help of her toddler sister.
Andrew McConnell

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of International Development and Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament, made the announcement on July 16, 2023, at the Women Deliver Pre-Conference on the Care Economy. Co-organized and co-hosted by 17 organizations, including IDRC, this event strategized on how to strengthen care policies, promote investment in solutions and lift up movements for care justice.    

The Scaling Care Innovations in Africa initiative is a five-year partnership between IDRC and Global Affairs Canada. With a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, it seeks to scale evidence-based and locally grounded innovations to redress gender inequalities in unpaid care work, which includes the personal care provided to the most vulnerable members of society, domestic work and other household tasks. 

The first of the initiative’s three pillars will identify and scale locally grounded policy and program innovations that have been proven to be effective in recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care work. The second and third pillars will support a community of practice for knowledge sharing and coalition building on this issue and strengthen the capacity of advocates and policymakers to drive more action to address unpaid care work.  

The initiative will prioritize the leadership of Southern-based researchers, including women’s rights organizations, in sub-Saharan Africa. It will also draw on IDRC’s success in transforming gender relations  — including through the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program — and the Centre’s pioneering work on scaling positive impact

Through effective policies and programs, women and girls will benefit from: technologies that help reduce drudgery and time spent on unpaid care work; affordable and quality care services for children, elderly and persons living with disabilities; and more flexible work arrangements. These solutions will in turn free them to engage in economic activities, pursue education, care for themselves, or to engage in other activities of their choice.