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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

November 25, 2020
Collective action against gender-based violence is needed more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UN Women

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 advocates for greater awareness and action to put an end to deeply rooted gender-based violence and discrimination. It also marks the first of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, culminating with Human Rights Day on December 10.

This year’s 16 Days theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” recognizes the need to support women and girl survivors of violence to stay safe and free of violence.

Orange is the official campaign colour because it symbolizes a brighter future. It will be featured prominently in events and activities globally.

IDRC-supported research contributes to Canada’s strong voice in the fight against sexual violence. IDRC’s program supports innovative research to identify the root causes of sexual and gender-based violence and to find solutions in preventing and overcoming it in developing countries. Our support for research in many other areas, including the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, digital innovations, maternal and child health, and women’s economic empowerment, also addresses the many forms of gender-based violence.

Learn more about how IDRC-supported projects generate critical evidence to put an end to gender-based violence:  

Changing gender norms to improve maternal and child health

Dreaming of a better life: Child marriage through adolescent eyes

New projects assess socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations

Anti-poverty programs can also champion gender equality

IDRC partner Glasswing International wins 2020 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

Tackling gender-based violence at work, in transit, and online


Building future resilience by learning from community responses to COVID-19

November 24, 2020
As the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic grip the world, grassroots communities and organizations are developing their own coping mechanisms. They are supporting each other, distributing resources, and fighting misinformation, all while building resilience.
Photo of a woman smiling

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network, co-funded by IDRC and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, and the Global Resilience Partnership, quickly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by joining forces in the “Voices from the Frontline” initiative, which collects and shares stories of building community resilience in response to the pandemic.

By examining responses to COVID-19 by communities in developing countries, the initiative gleans lessons and best practices that can also be applied to building community resilience to climate emergencies. For example, in India, women community leaders are extending support to migrant communities during the pandemic, while others are offering help in an informal settlement where the government will not. In Kenya, local radio stations are helping to raise awareness of COVID-19 and gender-based violence. In Nepal, a local network is using multi-way communication to eliminate information gaps during the pandemic between citizens and the government and it is debunking rumours.

By capturing and documenting these stories in real time, Voices from the Frontline is helping organizations learn from community responses and build resilience as the world faces the even longer-term challenge of climate change.

Read Voices from the Frontline stories

IDRC contributes to UN Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery

November 17, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting societies and economies at their core. In the Global South, the pandemic has already increased poverty and inequalities, creating an urgency to redouble efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UN Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery graphic
United Nations (UN)

As part of its response to the pandemic, the United Nations (UN) commissioned a research roadmap for recovery, released November 17, 2020.

The UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery demonstrates strong Canadian leadership. It was developed by a team led by Steven Hoffman, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Institute of Population and Public Health, at the request of the UN deputy secretary-general. The roadmap is the fruit of a global participatory process to identify the research priorities that will best support an equitable and sustainable socio-economic recovery from COVID-19.

Building on the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, the research roadmap aims to transform post-pandemic rebuilding into a rapid learning initiative. Its five research priorities align with the pillars identified in the UN framework:

  • Protecting health services and systems
  • Ensuring social protection and basic services
  • Protecting jobs, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and informal sector workers
  • Supporting macroeconomic responses and multilateral collaboration
  • Strengthening social cohesion and community resilience

IDRC actively lent its expertise to the development of the research roadmap by making connections with its research partners around the world and as a member of the Steering Group on Social Cohesion, one of five groups identifying pressing research questions in the five pillars. A virtual August 2020 roundtable discussion brought together more than 40 emerging and senior scholars from IDRC networks spanning the globe. The discussion, co-convened by IDRC and CIHR, focused on two cross-cutting themes that will be central to the research effort: gender equality and environmental sustainability.

Participants recommended a renewed focus on systemic barriers that reinforce inequality and are exacerbated by COVID-19. They highlighted the need to document how the gender differentiated impacts of COVID-19 vary across different vulnerable groups. Participants also called for national and international responses to be based on rigorous and localized research that give voice to marginalized populations and result in context-specific approaches.

The very same principles guide IDRC’s CA$25 million rapid-response initiative to mitigate the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and support a just and resilient recovery.  

Read the project overview for the research roadmap on the CIHR website.

Learn more about IDRC´s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDRC at the UN’s World Data Forum 2020

November 9, 2020
IDRC-supported research will be featured in two sessions at this year’s UN World Data Forum.  
2020 Virtual United Nations World Data Forum graphic

The 2020 Virtual UN World Data Forum presented the latest data solutions and thinking to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and now more urgently, for monitoring and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum consisted of pre-recorded panels and live sessions from October 19 to 21, 2020.  

IDRC hosted a pre-recorded discussion about overcoming research silos and ensuring that coordinated perspectives and research from the Global South informs holistic approaches to data governance, innovation, and use.

Data for Development: Towards a More Integrated Agenda from the Global South

The speakers were:

  • Jade Abbott, senior machine learning engineer, Retro Rabbit
  • Pyrou Chung, director of the Open Development Initiative, East-West Management Institute
  • Fabrizio Scrollini, executive director, Open Data Latin America Initiative (who leads IDRC-supported research on data for development)
  • Romesh Silva, senior technical specialist, United Nations Population Fund (who leads an IDRC-supported project to build a culture of vital statistics production)

The session was moderated by IDRC Vice-President of Programs, Dominique Charron.

That session can be viewed here:

Remote video URL

The Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Systems, housed at IDRC, partnered with Vital Strategies and the World Health Organization to develop a session on counting vital events and monitoring patterns of mortality to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visualizing the Invisible: Registering deaths and tracking mortality in the era of COVID-19

The speakers were:

  • Montasser Kamal, team leader, Maternal and Child Health, IDRC
  • Fátima Mrué, Secretary of Health, city of Goiânia, Brazil
  • Janet W. Mucheru, Registrar-general of Civil Registration Services and deputy director-general of Information System Management, National Statistics and Information Authority, Kenya
  • Samira Sama, assistant director general, Division of Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact, World Health Organization

The session was moderated by Anir Chowdhury, policy advisor for the Government of Bangladesh, and Philip Setel, vice-president for CRVS at Global Strategies.

That session can be viewed here. 

IDRC’s Research Ideas Competition on Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems

October 28, 2020
IDRC and the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health have launched a call for research ideas to strengthen policy interventions, population health, environmental sustainability, gender, and social equity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
A woman sits ready to serve customers in front of her produce stand in Guatemala City.
Maria Fleischmann / World Bank

Doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in LMICs and Canada are invited to propose novel, solutions-oriented research ideas that:

  • promote healthy and sustainable food systems in LMICs;
  • support the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas that draw upon different theories, methodological tools, frameworks, and approaches; and
  • harness lessons from research, civil society, and policy spheres that bridge the fields of global health, food systems, and environmental sustainability research.

Learn more about the call and eligibility criteria.

2020 Government AI Readiness Index: Governments must prioritise responsible AI use

October 7, 2020
IDRC and Oxford Insights have launched the 2020 Government AI Readiness Index to measure country preparedness for artificial intelligence (AI) — the first to include a Responsible Use Index.
Government AI Readiness Index 2020
Oxford Insights/ IDRC

While AI has the power to transform public services, irresponsible use of the technology could further entrench inequalities, leaving billions of citizens marginalized.

Nordic-Baltic countries come out as leaders in responsible use of AI, with Estonia, Norway, Finland, and Sweden all in the top five. But the top 20 also includes Senegal (9) and Mauritius (13), showing that some developing countries already recognize the importance of responsible AI as they adopt these technologies.

Meanwhile, the United States and the UK come in at numbers one and two respectively when it comes to AI readiness, but they rank at 24th and 22nd in the newly added responsible use sub-index.

Canada comes in at 14th in AI governance readiness, and 11th when it comes to responsible AI.

Richard Stirling, Oxford Insights CEO said: “Our report shows that some of the world’s most AI advanced countries are not prioritising and practicing responsible AI in the way they should be.  Nations from the US, the UK to Russia, China and Israel need to ensure that as they implement AI technologies, they do it in a way that benefits all their citizens.”

The report also shows that there is a growing commitment to AI across the world with a proliferation of new national and international AI strategies published in the last year - a 50% increase from 2019.

Jean Lebel, President, IDRC said: “This year’s index and report highlights the current strengths, weaknesses, and barriers to government AI readiness and responsibilities, which we hope will stimulate further sharing of expertise, opportunities, tools, and policies among governments and stakeholders across borders as well as encourage new collaborations and investment.” 

This year’s index and report analyzes the AI readiness of governments across 172 countries using expanded methodology as more data sets have become available.  

More information here.

New projects address socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations

September 21, 2020
Which programs are most effective for protecting informal workers in Latin America from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic? Which stimulus packages will help African countries build back more inclusive and greener economies? Which interventions will ensure the safety of Rohingya refugees and nearby communities in Bangladesh during and after the pandemic?  
Joba Akter works as a fruit vendor in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is wearing a mask to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
UN Women/Fahad Abdullah Kaizer

These are just a few of the many research questions addressed in the COVID-19 Responses for Equity initiative. Its 21 new projects — with research happening across 42 countries — seek to understand the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, improve existing responses, and generate better policy options for recovery.

This three-year, CA$25-million rapid support initiative focuses on the most affected populations and regions while seeking to advance gender equality and address the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing vulnerabilities. 

The research will centre on economic policies to mitigate impact and enhance recovery; efforts to protect informal business, small producers, and women workers; and democratic approaches to promote accountability, inclusion, and civic engagement.  

Through this initiative, IDRC will also offer opportunities to build capacity where needed, promote peer learning among research partners, and provide support for knowledge translation. This support will strengthen efforts to reach relevant actors in governments and other sectors who can put the necessary measures in place to protect those who are suffering most and to ensure equity and sustainability during the recovery period.

The world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic must ensure gender equality, rights and inclusion, and environmental sustainability and resilience. Evidence-based responses can support these efforts and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 


Visit the initiative’s website.

Winner of the 2020 John G. Bene Fellowship

September 10, 2020
IDRC is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Trees and People: Resilience in a changing climate – John G. Bene Fellowship.
Photo of John G. Bene Fellowship 2020 winner Winy Vásquez Benavides
Winy Vásquez Benavides  

The prestigious 2020 Fellowship has been awarded to Winy Vásquez Benavides, a PhD student in Forestry at the University of British Columbia. The Fellowship will support her research entitled The Right to Food in Contested Spaces: How Food Sovereignty Can Help Alleviate Food Insecurity and Meet Conservation Goals Inside of Protected Areas in the Peruvian Amazon.

Read about the bequest from the Bene family.

Launch of online directory of experts to strengthen CRVS systems

September 2, 2020
The Directory of Experts is a free online platform that hosts a global community of vetted experts and organizations working in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. This new tool makes it easy to connect directly with experts.
Directory of Experts for CRVS Strengthening website screenshot
Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems

The directory is run by the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems, a global knowledge hub housed at IDRC with financial support from Global Affairs Canada. It is designed to strengthen the global CRVS network and promote collaboration, learning, and innovation. This will further the Centre of Excellence’s shared mission to protect and empower people through inclusive CRVS systems.

Expertise to support CRVS initiatives

Organizations can use the directory to find and contact vetted experts to support initiatives to strengthen CRVS systems. They can create a profile to post jobs, consultancies, events, calls for proposals, research projects, and more. Users will also receive notifications about relevant CRVS resources, news, and events.

Opportunities for experts

Experts can use the directory to search for rewarding work and learning opportunities. You must meet certain criteria to be approved as an expert, including at least two years of experience in the fields of CRVS or identity management. Registration is open to professionals in a range of disciplines, including:

  • Civil registration
  • Vital statistics
  • Digitization
  • Identity management
  • Law
  • Governance
  • Public health
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change
  • Communication

Learn more or register with the online Directory of Experts.
Watch an animated video presenting this new online platform.

KIX launches calls to mobilize knowledge for regional education challenges

August 28, 2020
The Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, a partnership between IDRC and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), launched the third of four regional competitive calls to generate and mobilize innovative knowledge for education challenges shared across GPE member countries.
World Map of countries where KIX works
This map indicates the countries where KIX works, colour-coded by region.

KIX supports low- and middle-income countries to build stronger education systems, thereby accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 4.

The overall goal of the calls is to generate and mobilize knowledge to support national education systems in developing country contexts so they can address shared policy challenges related to improving access, quality, and systems performance.

Each call is designed to respond to the demands of the GPE member countries for knowledge and innovation. To identify these demands, the KIX regional hubs led a process across GPE member countries (from March to July 2020) to identify shared policy challenges for public education systems. The process involved consultations with government and non-governmental education stakeholders from the countries, regional experts, and a review of education sector plans and regional education analyses.

Aligning calls for proposals with key priorities that emerged, KIX intends for the projects it funds to be directly relevant and useful to these education systems. This page will be updated with links to each call once they launch.

Questions about the calls may be directed to

Call for expressions of interest in the KIX Europe, Asia and Pacific region: Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges

   Call for expressions of interest
   Call launch: July 15, 2020
   Call closes: September 2, 2020
   Learn more

Call for proposals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges

   Call for proposals
   Status: Closed
   Call launch: July 15, 2020
   Call closes: September 30, 2020
   Learn more

Call for proposals in West and Central Africa and the Indian Ocean: Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges

   Call for proposals
   Status: Closed
   Call launch: July 31, 2020
   Call closes: September 30, 2020
   Learn more

Call for proposals in East, Southern, and West Africa: Generating and mobilizing innovative knowledge for regional education challenges

   Call for proposals
   Status: Open
   Call launch: August 28, 2020
   Call closes: November 6, 2020
   Learn more

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