To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure an expansion of gender-responsive social protection following the covid-19 pandemic to help keep children, particularly girls, in school.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable people through social protection programmes in over 25 countries. We recognise their potential to deliver gender equality outcomes, including girls' education, and are working with governments and international partners to strengthen the gender responsiveness of social protection policies and programmes in developing countries. Our Gender-Responsive Social Protection and Better Assistance in Crises programmes are providing expert advice to FCDO country offices, governments and partner organisations on how to strengthen social protection measures in the COVID-19 response, including how to deliver more effectively for women and girls. We will continue to encourage a strong gender focus in social protection programmes and systems in the COVID-19 recovery.
The UK is committed to supporting children in developing countries to return to school when it is safe to do so, and recognises the important role social protection can play in safeguarding the wellbeing of individuals and their families during times of crisis, and in helping families to meet the direct and indirect costs of sending girls to schools. This is part of the FCDO's wider education programme response to COVID-19 which includes work with partner countries to ensure they have the knowledge and resources to facilitate a safe return.