House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Willoughby de Broke Lord Willoughby de Broke UKIP

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost-effectiveness of their funding of the Bolan Park for women in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN)

The Bolan Park was built in Bolan, Lashkar Gah, in 2007 at the request of the governor of Helmand and in response to an identified local need: it functions as a symbol for security and development in the area. The park is providing much needed recreational space and facilities for the people of Lashkar Gar and the surrounding area, in particular women and children. One of the first major events hosted at the park was a US-funded agricultural fair to promote legal livelihoods, attended by 1,700 Afghans. The park was also used for a successful cultural event organised by the Helmand governor, which attracted more than 2,000 local people.

The UK provided funding for the park through the provincial reconstruction team. This park is open to men, women and children with one day each week being set aside for women's exclusive use. The park cost around £420,000 and was built alongside the Helmand river. The costs of the park reflect the fact that during construction gabion walls were put in place to support the river bank, which helps prevent erosion, and to support the Bolan bridge. In addition, the park has extensive lighting which is important for improving security at night.

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