Progressio urges government to keep aid pledge in budget

By staff writers
12 Mar 2013

In the face of moves within the Conservative Party to get the coalition to water down it's commitment to international aid, development campaigners are pushing back.

The Catholic agency Progressio has urged the UK government to meet its pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013 when the Budget is announced on Wednesday 20 March 2013, and not to introduce opt-outs as part of the announcement.

"The inclusion of this target in our own Budget would be more than a show of solidarity for the world's poorest people - it would be an acknowledgement of the vital need to continue the amazing work carried out by British NGOs working hard to alleviate poverty and empower poor people around the world," said Mark Lister, Progressio's Chief Executive.

In Yemen, funding from the British Embassy in Sana'a has allowed Progressio to support partner organisations which tackle discrimination against women, strengthening the Women's Committee of Hodeidah and the role women play in the development process.

Hanan Omar, head of Progressio partner Half of Society says, "We need to change the negative attitudes towards women that they are not only wives, mothers or sister, but also partners in the development process."

"The project advocates for women's rights among broad sectors of society targeting some 25,000 women," says Derek Kim, a Progressio Development Worker in Yemen, "by building women's capacity in advocacy, both women from communities and our NGO partners."

This project will have positive long lasting consequences, already evident in the recent inclusion of women in decision making processes with local government. It is an important step on the road to achieving equality for women in Yemen and the rest of the Arab region, a step which may not have had the same impact without support from the British Embassy in Yemen.

"Strengthening civil society including women's groups is a cost effective way to improve stability in fragile states," Mark Lister added, "and the British Embassies in some of the countries where we work are extremely supportive of Progressio's efforts to do just that."

Progressio's work on women's rights in Yemen is just one example of many which illustrate the need for the government here in the UK to recognise the invaluable contribution the money it spends on aid makes to the lives of ordinary people every day in poor countries around the world.

"Progressio therefore urges the government to maintain its commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013 when the Budget is announced next Wednesday," the NGO declared this week.

* Progressio: www.progressio.org.uk/

[Ekk/3]

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