International Policy Ideas Challenge 2019
This brief aims to inform potential action in view of two significant developments in Canada’s international assistance strategy — the $400 million commitment to girls’ and women’s education in response to the Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries and the strategy for engaging in private sector partnerships in the Feminist International Assistance Policy. The brief is based on original analysis of data on activity by private foundations and private sector impact investors in girls’ and women’s education in East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia, drawing on a larger regional-level database of private sector investors.
The analysis finds that girls’ and women’s education is an underserved priority area. It is an urgent area of unmet policy action in the regions, and in low-income countries and countries with gender disparities in education in Asia. Existing priorities by education sub-sector and regarding programming areas in education initiatives targeting girls and women in East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia supported by philanthropic and impact investors align with FIAP focus. Adult, basic, and continuing education and secondary education were the top two sectors addressed by the initiatives under analysis. Skills, workplace transition, and continuing education; advocacy; and access to education constituted the main programming areas. Tracking financial flows and specific actors in private sector partnerships is impeded by a lack of consistent and publicly accessible data. The opacity of partnerships has potentially critical implications for Canada’s engagement in girls’ and women’s education in view of broader concerns associated with partnering with private sector actors.