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Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the assistance her Department is currently providing to Antigua. [42142]

Clare Short: In recognition of the access to public services provided to Montserratians who have relocated to Antigua, we have given debt relief of £1.25 million and agreed a £3 million grant. The grant will be used for school and health projects. Over the last five years we have spent over £4 million in Antigua and Barbuda.

St. Kitts and Nevis

Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the assistance her Department is currently providing to St. Kitts and Nevis. [42143]

Clare Short: We are in the third and final year of a £1.5 million Police Development Project for St. Kitts and Nevis. This project has provided technical assistance, equipment, training and the complete refurbishment of the Police Station in Nevis. Over the last five years we have spent £5.8 million in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Montserrat Building Society

Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions her Department has had with (a) private sector financial organisations and (b) other institutions about possible assistance to the Montserrat Building Society; [42145]

20 May 1998 : Column: 403

Clare Short: None. HMG's policy towards the Montserrat Building Society is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Disabled Children (Africa)

Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is providing towards community support for disabled children in (a) Uganda, (b) Kenya, (c) Malawi, (d) Sierra Leone and (e) Rwanda; and at what cost in each case. [42228]

Clare Short: We are not currently funding any activities for disabled children either in Sierra Leone or in Rwanda. Details of our support in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi is as follows:

20 May 1998 : Column: 404

    Action on Disability and Development (ADD): Deaf Community Development, Uganda

    Project addresses the needs of deaf people who are socially and economically marginalised due to their limited oral communication and low level of education. Project targets children and women who are particularly isolated within communities.

    Start Date: 1 April 1996

    End Date: 31 March 1998

    Offered: £227,456

    Bilateral Programme

    We have also supported the work of the Uganda Society for Disabled Children; this community based rehabilitation project, which started in October 1994 and ended on 31 March 1998, has helped disabled children to lead more independent and productive lives in Luwero and Arua districts, £320,700.

    (b) Kenya

    DFID Small Grants Scheme 1998-1999

    Kaptwai Primary School for Physically Disabled Children: construction of and equipment for two workshops, £11,000.

    Karen Technical Training Institute for the Deaf: rehabilitation of a borehole, £1,550.

    (c) Malawi

    British-Malawi Partnership Scheme 1997-1998.

    Sue Ryder Foundation: traction bars, £6,080.

    DFID Small Grants Scheme 1998-1999.

    Sue Ryder Foundation: project vehicle costs, £1,250.

Child Soldiers

Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries her Department has supported rehabilitation projects for former child soldiers in the past year; and what are her plans for the future. [42230]

Clare Short: Since 1997, we have supported projects in Angola, Liberia, Uganda and Rwanda, which, as part of wider support for war affected populations, have rehabilitated child soldiers. We contributed £400,000 to the International Organisation for Migration to assist the return and resettlement of war disabled in Angola which included child demobilised soldiers. In northern Uganda, we jointly funded with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office a local NGO skills training programme to rehabilitate demobilised child soldiers. Through the UK's share of aid to the European Commission, we supported the Government of Rwanda's Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme which demobilised and provided sustained support for 2,500 child soldiers. In March 1998, a further £1 million was provided to the UN Development Programme as additional support to the second phase of the Government of Rwanda's programme. In addition, we have contributed £37.8 million in financial year 1997-98 (preliminary estimate) to support UN agencies and NGOs who are working to protect and assist vulnerable children in conflict situations.

We will explore what further assistance we can provide to help former child soldiers at a ministerial meeting, in London on 23 June, which my Department will host to give exposure to the work programme and priorities of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict to our European partners.

20 May 1998 : Column: 405


Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid programmes her Department is currently supporting in Bangladesh and at what cost; and what was the comparable figure for 1997-98. [42233]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development has a substantial programme in Bangladesh, offering support for the Government of Bangladesh's policy of promoting growth alongside poverty reduction. The key themes of our aid strategy are poverty reduction and support for good government and institutional development. The programme works with both Government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners to address these goals, and also helps indirectly through contributions to the programmes of the European Commission and other multilateral institutions.

Spending statistics for the 1997-98 year are not yet finalised, but are expected to be somewhat lower than the £44.39 million spent in 1996-97 due to delay in implementing new projects. From 1998-99, we hope to see an increase in the spending levels of recent years. More than half of the current programme is spent on direct poverty assistance, with projects in health and education, micro-credit, employment generation, and food production. Other projects target institutional strengthening, infrastructure development, and public sector reform. Examples of significant current projects include:

    INTERFISH, a £5.6m project with the NGO CARE, promoting fish production in rice fields.

    An £11.6m contribution to micro-credit and social development programmes of the national NGO, Proshika; and a £9.2m contribution to similar programmes of BRAC.

    £8m support for non-formal primary education programme again with BRAC, working with poor children, particularly girls.

    £20.6m support for the Government of Bangladesh Fourth Population and Health Project.

    Bridge improvement project £15.6m.

    Reforms in Budget and Expenditure Control, £9.8m helping the development of improved Government of Bangladesh systems for financial management.

Key elements of current work on new projects include strengthening Government of Bangladesh primary education services, and supporting a new National Health and Population Strategy.

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