The Somalian disaster has many causes, but one thing for certain is that it is not unique; there are many marginal states that struggle along in abject poverty, requiring only a nudge to fall off the edge.
Aside from the tragic humanitarian aspect, such places are ripe for religious radicalization and so present an ever-present threat to the rest of the world.
And yet we know that the single most powerful way to raise people of out the economic and political abyss is through education, especially of girls. No other source of aid is more powerful or provides such meaningful long-term returns. Fortunately, an inexpensive solution presents itself. The Education for All – Fast Track Initiative was developed as a global partnership to help ensure education for all school-age children around the world. This program has been an enormous success.
Canada has been a laggard in providing resources to the FTI, below our proportion of five per cent of the fund. Hundreds of thousands of children are denied the most basic education because of this shortfall.
In November an international conference will be held to replenish the fund. The FTI supports 45 countries with an additional 16 expected to apply by year’s end. It is imperative that the government takes this opportunity to increase funding to the FTI to our proper proportion. It’s far cheaper than icebreaker ships or airport scanners, and more effective.
We no longer have the luxury of thinking the problems are “over there”; the suffering is too real, too present, and the threat it presents too imminent. Our government is obsessed with security. But we can only have security in a secure world; guarded borders and high fences will never be enough.