Skip to main content

Food Security (East Africa)

Volume 623: debated on Thursday 23 March 2017

8. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for International Development on the Government’s support for women and girls affected by food insecurity in east Africa. (909433)

The scale of the humanitarian crisis we are facing in 2017 is unprecedented. Once again, the impact falls disproportionately on women and children. I am proud that the UK is leading the way, stepping up DFID’s life-saving emergency assistance for those affected by food insecurity in east Africa, with women and girls at the heart of that response.

The Minister is right that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the food insecurity crisis in east Africa, and I recognise her experience in dealing with such matters. What further discussions has she had with the Secretary of State for International Development about not just immediate, short-term aid, but long-term rebuilding, especially access to education for women and girls, which is the best route out of poverty?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He will know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development announced £100 million to support South Sudan in particular. More broadly, we need to look long-term, and I am delighted that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is leading a big push to ensure that girls and women, wherever they are in our world, have education. It is vital if women are to take their proper place in our society.

Millions of impoverished women and girls in developing countries spend much of their life fetching and carrying very heavy loads of water to and from their homes. Their lives would be vastly improved if DFID encouraged proper sanitation and water facilities.

I agree with my hon. Friend and, indeed, substantial investment has gone into improving water and sanitation. It is a basic issue, but it makes a tremendous difference to being able to lift up women and girls.