Minister Oda launches exciting new interactive International School Twinning Initiative

March 24, 2011

Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced a new two-year pilot project that will provide students and teachers from across Canada with an opportunity to interact with students and teachers in developing countries.

"This is an exciting and innovative opportunity for Canadian students to learn about the developing world. We will partner Canadian schools with schools in the Caribbean and Africa so students can share their knowledge and experiences," said Minister Oda. "With the tools and technologies available today, we have the capacity to provide an interactive learning environment that can bring children together from around the world, while teaching Canadian students about international development issues."

"This innovative International School Twinning Initiative is a great opportunity to help young Canadians learn about youth in developing countries. In this global world, it is important for all young people to learn more about each other and exchange their visions for the future," said Minister Oda. "I encourage all teachers across Canada to consider the possibilities of this interactive, real-time learning experience for their students."

CIDA's new Global Citizens Program will select the Canadian school boards which will participate in the implementation of the International School Twinning Initiative. Interested Canadian school boards can apply by submitting a proposal before April 29, 2011.

Using internet technologies, the initiative will fund real-time educational activities in up to 15 classrooms in Canada and 15 classrooms in Jamaica, Antigua, Grenada, and Mali. Approximately 800 students between the ages of 11 and 15 will participate each year. Students and teachers will have an opportunity to learn about poverty reduction and other development issues, allowing them to develop an appreciation for global issues.

In developing the International School Twinning Initiative, CIDA consulted with educators and education experts across Canada. School twinning was identified as a valuable and innovative activity to enhance the participation of Canadian youth in international development.

This initiative, valued at $2.4 million over 2 years, is part of the Global Citizens Program, one of the new features of CIDA's modernized partnership programming, as announced by Minister Oda in July 2010. The Global Citizens Program will create meaningful opportunities for Canadians to increase their knowledge of, and participation in, international development. The new program will invest in three major areas: public awareness, education and knowledge, and youth participation. It will build on a solid foundation and expand the engagement of Canadians within accountable initiatives that contribute to Canada's efforts abroad.

CIDA is committed to engaging young Canadians in international development; they are our greatest asset in working towards a more equitable future.

Statement from Minister Beverley J.Oda at Youth Day during the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Annual Meeting


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Justin Broekema
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534