Humanitarian Aid: Children

Department for International Development written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Ben Everitt Ben Everitt Conservative, Milton Keynes North

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to protect vulnerable girls and boys from (a) violence and (b) child marriage in humanitarian emergency situations.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

DFID is providing significant support to protect children from violence around the world in humanitarian crises. Our programmes assist children and reduce their risks of violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.

In August 2019 at the G7 Summit, the UK Prime Minister announced £90 million of new UK support for education in emergencies and crises across the world. This will support 600,000 children living in conflict areas and areas of protracted crises. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in emergencies and are more susceptible to child marriage and other forms of abuse and exploitation. This investment is a key part of the PM’s plan to ensure more girls benefit from 12 years of quality education. This funding will provide safe spaces for girls and psycho-social support to those who have experienced violence and trauma.

The UK’s Humanitarian Reform Policy puts the protection of vulnerable populations, including children, at the centre of the UK’s humanitarian work. DFID’s core funding to UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helps them to fulfil their unique roles within the humanitarian sector, including promoting compliance of International Humanitarian Law and protecting children against violence.

Tackling child marriage, including in emergencies, is a key priority for the UK. Through DFID’s flagship global programme, Accelerating Action to End Child Marriage, the UK has supported nearly 3 million girls to attend school, skills training and girls’ clubs in 2018 alone, helping to prevent and respond to child marriage in countries with a high prevalence.

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