Government pledges £50m for Afghan women and girls

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“For every extra year a girl in the developing world spends in secondary school, her future income rises by 25 per cent and her own children will be twice as likely to go to school themselves" - Boris Johnson

By William Hallowell, CP News Reporter

Number 10 and the Foreign Office have confirmed the UK Government are to give £50m to help “the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan”, and are calling on G20 countries to do more to support girls’ education around the world. 

This spending is to be the first of the £286m pledged by the Prime Minister in September to help the people of Afghanistan following Op Pitting, and is expected to help around two and a half million Afghans – “most of them women and girls”. 

The PM said:

“Two months ago this week NATO withdrew its final forces from Afghanistan after the most extensive evacuation effort in the alliance’s history, an effort which saved a huge number of lives.

“We now have a responsibility to protect the people of Afghanistan most at risk under the Taliban regime, particularly women and girls.

“Today’s funding will provide urgent protection for the most vulnerable people. But preventing a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and preserving the gains of the last twenty years will require a truly global effort.”

Foreign Secretary, Lizz Truss, added that the £50m funding will also provide “essential child protection services”.

At the G20 Summit today Mr Johnson will emphasise the need to prioritise the rights of women and girls, and will highlight the role that girls’ education can make in “unlocking opportunities for both individuals and whole societies.”

He is expected to say:

“We must educate our daughters as surely as we educate our sons. That is the silver bullet, the Swiss army knife, the Black and Decker toolkit that solves an abundance of problems.

“For every extra year a girl in the developing world spends in secondary school, her future income rises by 25 per cent and her own children will be twice as likely to go to school themselves – and 50 per cent more likely to be immunised against killer diseases.”

He is also expecting to call on G20 countries to raise a further £1b in funding for the Global Partnership for Education, which will be spent over the next five years. 

Following the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the UK Government have provided “extensive support” to Afghans now living in the UK, including £25m to provide housing, schooling and healthcare this year.

The funding announced today will be used to provide food, shelter and medicine throughout winter and sustain the UN’s wider humanitarian response. 

The Government have also made it clear that it will be a priority to protect women and girls from gender-based violence. 

It has been stressed that “no funding will be provided to the Taliban or through government systems.” 

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