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International Development Week

International Development Week (IDW) 2024 will take place from February 4 to 10. Events may be online and/or in person, in accordance with public health guidelines.

What is International Development Week?

International Development Week (IDW) aims to draw attention to international development and shine a spotlight on Canadians’ contributions to eradicating poverty and to a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. A unique Canadian tradition that began in 1991, IDW is held annually during the first full week of February.

The week is a whole-of-Canada “coming together” that involves civil society, the private and philanthropic sectors, schools, community organizations and the general public, as well as Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa and at its missions around the world. During IDW, international development stakeholders collectively host over a hundred events from coast to coast to coast and internationally.

International Development Week 2024

This year’s International Development Week (#IDW2024) will take place from February 4 to 10 and will be celebrated by Global Affairs Canada, its Canadian development partner organizations and Canadians with an array of events and activities across the country. IDW 2024 is expected to feature virtual, in-person and hybrid events to maximize the impact and reach of activities.

IDW 2024 will inform, inspire and involve Canadians in Canada’s international development efforts. Its unifying theme, Go for the Goals, calls for Canadians to take action to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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

You will find most of these activities on the official IDW calendar of events (available in the weeks leading up to IDW).

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

If you are organizing in-person events, please remember to follow the appropriate COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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 (e.g. #IDW2024) and #GoForTheGoals.
  • Add your public activity to the calendar of events (available in the weeks leading up to IDW).

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 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 (e.g. #IDW2024).

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


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