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International Development Week

What is International Development Week?

Since 1991, IDW is held annually in the first full week of February and spotlights Canadians' contributions to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world. It's a unique opportunity to inform, inspire, involve, and celebrate Canadians' global impact on international development.

IDW represents a whole-of-Canada approach involving civil society, the private and philanthropic sectors, schools, colleges, cegeps and universities, community organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the general public. Throughout IDW, over a hundred events are hosted from coast to coast to coast in Canada. 

Join us as we continue this nationwide initiative, coming together to learn, share stories, and create change for a brighter, more equitable world.

Take part in International Development Week

Learn about international assistance

Participate in an IDW activity

Each year there is a wide range of IDW activities from coast to coast. The organizers are:

  • schools
  • civil society organizations
  • community organizations
  • non-governmental organizations
  • The private and philanthropic sector
  • The general public

Different organizations working in international assistance in each Canadian province have their own IDW webpage with information on how to get involved in your region:

Organize an IDW activity

You will find below the toolkit that helps you organize an IDW activity. Whether you are an educator, part of civil society or a community organization, a student a journalist or a member of the media, this toolkit provides some tips and ideas as well as resources to plan, organize and share your IDW engagement activity or stories! 

For more information on how to organize a public engagement activity, you can also visit the Virtual Engagement Resource Centre for All (VERCA).

Are you an educator?

  • Spark a discussion in the classroom on an international assistance topic, e.g. the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, access to quality education, gender equality, climate change.
  • Show a film that addresses a global issue.
  • Organize an essay contest on global issues.
  • Highlight books and novels available in the school library that touch on global issues.
  • Coordinate a virtual international assistance fair and invite international assistance organizations or experts to participate.

Are you part of civil society or community organization?

  • Invite a guest speaker working in international assistance to give a video presentation to your organization.
  • Share a list of thought-provoking books, novels and films on global issues.
  • Profile stories or testimonials of coworkers who have international assistance experience.
  • Highlight the stories of partners in the field.
  • Use social media to communicate the importance of Canada’s role in international assistance to a political representative.
  • For more information on how to organize a public engagement activity, please visit the Virtual Engagement Resource Centre for All.

Are you a student?

  • Start an IDW club at your school to coordinate IDW celebrations.
  • Invite an international assistance expert to speak to your class online.
  • Host a virtual film screening on a global issue.
  • Coordinate a virtual international assistance fair and invite international assistance organizations to participate.
  • Tell other students about IDW by writing an article or a letter to the editor for your student newspaper.
  • Donate your time to a cause or an organization that supports international assistance.

Are you a journalist or a member of the media?

  • Write an article or prepare a news story on a Canadian who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of international assistance.
  • Highlight a Canadian innovation that contributed to the resolution of an international issue (e.g. insulin, pacemakers, Blue Helmets).
  • Cover an IDW event happening in your region.
  • Connect with Global Affairs Canada’s media relation team at to help promote international assistance.

Promote your IDW activities

To promote your event efficiently, take into consideration the following tips:

  • Use IDW promotional material (available in the weeks leading up to IDW).
  • Promote your events on social media using the official hashtag: #IDW, followed by the current year and #GoForTheGoals.

Talk about IDW online

If in-person events are not your thing, you can still celebrate IDW online by using these ideas:

  • Subscribe and follow Global Affairs Canada – Development on X (Twitter), Facebook and Instagram (see handles below).
  • Share your IDW stories, photos and videos on your personal social media channels using the official hashtag, #IDW, followed by the current year.

The IDW story: A uniquely Canadian tradition

In October 1988, the Canadian International Development Agency introduced Development Day as part of the Education to Development Program to promote global peace. Global Affairs Canada continues this proud tradition of collaborating with hundreds of Canadian organizations in organizing International Development Week.

IDW has had a specific theme each year, such as these:

  • Go for the Goals (2020 to 2024)
  • Together for gender equality (2019)
  • Partner for a better world (2018)
  • Leave no one behind (2017)
  • We are making a difference (2014-2016)
  • I am making a difference (2011-2013)
  • Be the change (2010)
  • Equality between women and men. To have a voice. To have a choice (2007)
  • Celebrating Canadians making a difference in the world (2003)
  • Celebrate Canada’s place in the world (1999)
  • The World ahead (1997)
  • Together for a better world (1993-1995)
  • Environment and development (1992)
  • Growing Interdependence (1991)

Contact us


X (Twitter): @CanadaDev

Facebook: @CanadaDevelopment

Instagram: @canadadev

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