THE Scottish Government has announced that projects that prioritise the rights of women and girls in some of the world’s poorest nations will be supported as part of a new approach to international development.
The updated policy includes a commitment to offering at least £500,000 for projects that promote equality of women and girls n the partner countries of Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda.
There will also be continued support to the Scotland Pakistan Scholarships for Young Women and Girls.
The Scottish Government say that health will continue to be a key theme of international development work, and there is a commitment to support a shift in power to partner countries.
The Scottish Government and University of Malawi College of Medicine will enter into a longer-term relationship, with similar institutions to be identified and agreed in Zambia and Rwanda.
Minister for International Development Jenny Gilruth said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest challenges of our times and, given its global impact, we decided to pause, reflect and take stock of our international development programme in order to future-proof against the ongoing threat of the virus.
“We also considered the urgent issues raised by movements including Black Lives Matter, how we can play our part in tackling systemic racism and inequality, as well as shifting power to partner countries.
“We know, in particular, that COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems – our decision to establish an Equalities Programme reflects the urgency of that challenge.
“International solidarity has never been more important as we build back, and help others to build back, fairer and stronger, an approach shared across Scottish Government policy.
“I look forward to this new evolving phase of our approach to international development, and to deepening the ongoing commitment that we have to our partner countries of Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Pakistan.”
A new set of Scottish Government International Development Principles has been developed with stakeholders – these commit to partner country-led development, collaboration, equality, inclusion and diversity.
As part of delivering these commitments, a new advisory Global South Programme Panel will be established, which will include experts and academics from partner countries and representatives of partner countries’ diaspora living in Scotland.
Acting Principal, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Professor Macpherson Mallewa said: “We are very grateful, excited and feel highly privileged as the College of Medicine to be part of the Scottish Government financial support.
“With the support from the Scottish Government since 2005, we have achieved so much already in different areas including governance, training, ICT and research.
“We will leverage this special relationship to effectively and efficiently cascade our efforts in training, research and respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic to the benefit of the entire nation.”