To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to research funded by his Department from J-PAL affiliates Bandiera, Buehren, Goldstein, Rasul, Smurra, what assessment he has made of the effect of reductions to the aid budget on providing young women with safe spaces when there are school closures.
13 January 2021
FCDO-funded research has improved our global understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting on the lives and learning outcomes of young people in low and middle income countries. One JPAL funded study found that providing safe spaces to out-of-school girls reduced teenage pregnancy rates and increased the number of girls returning to school once they reopened.
As set out by the Foreign Secretary, girls' education will remain a priority for UK aid, supporting girls to return to school and complete 12 years of quality education. Since 2015, the UK has supported 15.6 million children, including over 8 million girls, to gain a decent education. We are investing in girls' education around the world, including through the Girls' Education Challenge (GEC): the world's largest fund focused on girls' education. For example, the GEC is continuing to reach girls during COVID, providing them with vital support to help them keep safe, support their physical and mental well-being and keep them engaged in learning, both at home and in schools as they re-open.
Supporting girls' safety and return to quality education will remain a priority for UK aid, including as decisions on future ODA spending are made.