The British Asian Trust has raised £4.69m including £2m in match funding from the UK government for a programme helping rebuild livelihoods of Pakistani women impacted by Covid-19.
The British Asian Trust received the funds from the government in support of its “If I Can, She Can” Appeal and is investing it into its Women’s Economic Empowerment programme.
The programme equips Pakistani women with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to find a job or start their own business in a post-Covid world. So far, it has helped more than 9,800 women increase their income, placed more than 3,400 women in paid internships and employment opportunities, and supported over 7,000 women in starting their own enterprises.
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have raised the incredible total amount of £4.69m (Rs 108 crores) – including the £2m matched by the UK government – thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters and the government. It is more important than ever that we all come together to help marginalised people and communities – especially those whose lives have been devastated due the pandemic.”
“This is a great example of the government, the public and a charity working together on something incredibly successful that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women.”
Funding for international aid is becoming harder to secure however – last year, the government said that it would cut aid spending from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%. And, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) recently released annual Statistics on International Development, 2020 saw Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending fall, both against the previous year as well as against planned spending.
International development network Bond has submitted a FOI request to the FCDO to uncover where the cuts have been made. Whilst waiting for a response, Bond policy and advocacy advisor on aid Helen Rumford explored 2020’s ODA spend in depth in a piece on the Bond site last month. In it, she said:
“What we can do, is look at the trends between 2019 and 2020 and see what they tell us about the UK’s humanitarian aid and development priorities in 2020 and beyond. The FCDO’s share of ODA dropped from 77.7% to 73.7%, meaning they made proportionately more reductions than other departments. When we split that into the portfolios of former-DFID and former-FCO, most of these reductions were made in former-DFID’s share of ODA.”
World Vision UK has recently issued a report on the critical need for international development funding. Commenting, World Vision UK CEO Mark Sheard said:
“World Vision UK has just issued a report showing that investing ODA in children is critical to achieving sustainable development and achieving the UK Government’s Integrated Review priorities. It is morally right, logically sensible, and a cost-effective use of ODA funding.
“The case for international development funding has never been greater. The combined impacts of Covid-19 disruption, climate change and conflict are pushing millions more people into poverty and food insecurity and the UN estimates the number of people needing humanitarian assistance to survive to reach its highest level ever – 1 in 33 people worldwide needing assistance and protection. Progress made on health, education and gender equality risks being set back by a decade unless we act now.”
“Children around the world need to hear from the new Foreign Secretary that they will not become a ‘lost generation.’ They want to hear that she will put their rights and well-being at the heart of diplomacy and development – by creating a Child Rights Strategy for FCDO, by ensuring adequate funding goes to meeting their needs, and by both listening to them and giving them a voice on the global stage.”