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Poverty: Overseas Aid

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 76706, tabled on 20 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, is she will take steps to help ensure that the UK continues to focus on combating poverty by ensuring that aid reaches the (a) most vulnerable and (b) those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

Answered on

27 July 2020

The UK Government works to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable including those who are more vulnerable because of their faith.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

The situation of vulnerable communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We actively consult civil society, including faith-based organisations, to understand how best to support vulnerable groups.

Vulnerable religious groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.