It starts with her: an update from Barishal, one year on
Last January, we launched our UK Aid Match It starts with her appeal, to help make strong women stronger in Bangladesh
One year on from the launch of It starts with her, we'd like to say thank you to everyone who donated to the appeal, as well as give an update on the situation in Barishal.
How much did It starts with her raise?
Together, we raised an incredible £4,367,508, including £2 million of match funding from the UK government.
What was the appeal for?
The people of Barishal, Bangladesh live under the constant threat of crippling climate-related disasters such as cyclones and flooding. This is alongside extreme poverty and issues such as stigma and violence against women.
Vulnerable slum communities in Barishal aren’t covered by local authority infrastructure, like water or waste management systems, so diseases like typhoid are able to spread quickly.
Although this is a threat to everyone in the community, it is women and girls who are hit the hardest, as they are already in a worse position both economically and socially. They are more likely to miss out on getting an education and struggle to make a living. Many are also raising families alone, as the men of the family have moved to other areas to find work.
With your generous donation, you have helped build on strong communities that can support each other through these challenges – including supporting women in keeping their families and communities safe.
Thanks to you, thousands of empowered women are lifting themselves out of poverty, providing for their families and playing important roles in their communities.
How will the money be spent?
The money will be spent on helping communities to stand strong and prepare for whatever challenges the future brings – which currently includes the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to your donations, we can ensure that thousands of strong women in Barishal’s slum communities have the support, training and tools they need.
We are supporting women’s small businesses to thrive, through vocational training, apprenticeships and cash grants so that women can earn an income, build savings and help their communities to thrive.
The ‘livelihoods’ aspect of the project will involve 2,500 beneficiaries/households. Of this number, 1,750 will receive cash grants to help set up or to develop existing microbusinesses as well as receiving training on how to manage them. A further 750 will receive on-the-job training to boost their access to the job market.
We are also bringing women together in groups called Women’s Squads to raise awareness of issues like menstrual health and gender-based violence.
In these Women’s Squads, women have a platform to stand together and have their voices heard.
What is UK Aid Match?
UK Aid Match enables charities and the British public to support people in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. Through UK Aid Match, people can engage with international development issues and have a say in how UK aid is spent.
For every £1 donated to a UK Aid Match appeal – in this case, It starts with her – the government contributes £1 of UK Aid, up to a total of £2 million.
Why are you spending money in Bangladesh when people in the UK need training and support too?
The British Red Cross is guided by our principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality.
We are always ready to help people in crisis, or to build their resilience against future crisis, based on need alone - whether that's at home or overseas.
Reducing poverty is a legal requirement for the use of the aid budget and is necessary to meet Britain’s commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas development.
This is not an either-or situation: we don’t have to choose between helping people affected by Covid-19 here in the UK, or women facing extreme poverty or flooding in Bangladesh.
The UK spends just over 99 per cent of the budget on itself. Money set aside for foreign aid is a very small amount compared to the UK’s overall spending.
But for a family that has lost everything to floods in Bangladesh, it could be the difference between life and death.
Why are you focusing on women living in these communities?
Some of the funds raised will support men but the appeal’s focus is on women because they are among the most vulnerable in the community.
Job opportunities are usually only available to men, which limits women’s participation in the workforce and decision making.
In the poorest families, children are forced out of school to work or to marry early. A lack of cash often means families have to prioritise needs. As decisions are commonly made by men, female health and hygiene needs are often ignored or forgotten.
We believe that when it comes to creating a sustainable future that reaches every corner of the community, it starts with her. And that’s why we think building women’s resilience is something worth investing in.
Learn more about It starts with her
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