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South Asia: Females

Volume 477: debated on Friday 20 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what programmes are being implemented by his Department to promote equality and the empowerment of women in the South Asia region. (211731)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is prioritising equality and women’s empowerment in a variety of ways. Firstly DFID provides significant funding for education and health sectors, which can have a huge impact on human development outcomes for girls and women. In Pakistan, DFID is contributing up to £90 million for a new National Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Programme. In India, DFID is providing £220 million to the National ‘Education For All’ programme which sets measurable disaggregated targets to reduce the gender gap in school enrolment.

Secondly, DFID also supports numerous programmes that increase women’s access to financial services, economic opportunities and political space. In Bangladesh, DFID is providing £75 million over seven years to the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) (a large NGO), for the second phase of a programme that aims to help 800,000 extremely poor women and their households achieve sustainable livelihoods. In Nepal, DFID’s Rights, Democracy and Inclusion Fund (RDIF) supports a three year project focused on strengthening the capacity of women political leaders and cadres to implement democratic and inclusive governance. In Afghanistan, DFID has provided £20 million to the Micro-Finance and Investment Support Facility of Afghanistan which aims to improve women’s access to micro credit loans.