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DFID ups cash for family planning

20 July 2012


Population boon: a Filipino woman is given contraception by injection during a family-planning fair in Manila to mark World Population Day

Population boon: a Filipino woman is given contraception by injection during a family-planning fair in Manila to mark World Population Day

CHRISTIAN Aid welcomed an announcement by the Government last week that it will double the money it gives to family-planning services in developing countries.

A statement from the Department for International Development (DFID) said that the UK would double its contribution to family planning, from the £90 million per year it has given over the past two years to an average of £180 million per year. The statement said that the extra money would "provide an additional 24 million girls and women in the world's poorest countries with family-planning services between now and 2020".

The International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: "Being able to plan the size of her family is a fundamental right that we believe all women should have. British support will mean that millions of women who are currently unable to access or use family planning information, services, and supplies will be able to decide, freely and for themselves, whether, when, and how many children to have."

The policy director for Christian Aid, Christine Allen, said: "As a faith-based organisation, we know that family planning is a sensitive issue, but empowering women to plan their children is an important means of valuing and protecting human life. As the Government today acknowledges, it will lead to fewer deaths in both child-bearing women and children in infancy."

Last weekend, the London Summit on Family, convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, took place in London. The meeting was criticised by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

Its executive director, Wendy Wright, said: "Elite billionaires and powerful governments use the guise of 'helping poor women' to extract permanent funding for abortion-promoting and population-control groups.

"The upshot is contraception will have a higher priority than education, basic health care, infrastructure, and economic improvements - measures that empower women and communities."

Last month, DFID published a paper to "strengthen and guide" its relationship with faith groups.

Mr Mitchell, who launched the paper, Faith Partnership Principles: Working effectively with faith groups to fight global poverty, at Lambeth Palace, said: "When we came into government, we were very concerned that the link between all the many faith communities and DFID was not as close as it should or could be."

Faith Partnership Principles "contains very practical ideas that you can share with your . . . places of worship", he said. The main principles it outlines are "of transparency, mutual respect, and understanding".

The paper states: "The areas in which these principles will be applied include: building a common understanding of faith and development; documenting the impact of faith groups through research and evaluation; and working on difficult themes and areas to find effective ways to progress development and bring about transformational change in the lives of the poor."

The Archbishop of Canterbury told the meeting that the publication of the paper marked "a watershed moment". Dr Williams continued: "We have for many years been in dialogue with DFID to see what we can do to bridge the cultures of the different organisations, and to make it absolutely clear that the vision we share is a convergent, not a divergent, one."

Dr Williams said that faith groups "must not be allowed to get away with shoddy, second-rate, imperfect, amateurish work simply because we hide under the banner of faith".

The chief executive of Tearfund, Matthew Frost, said in a statement that he was "excited that DFID have recognised the value and potential of faith groups in bringing communities together to solve their own problems".

www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/canterbury//data/files/resources/2539/ Faith-Partnership-Principles.pdf


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