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Increase in Australian Aid to Bangladesh to benefit women and children

© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/Sorowar Hossain Chowdhury
Mr. David S. Bassiouni, interim representative of UNICEF, Richard More, Deputy Director General of the AusAID, Dr. Mahbub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC and Douglas Foskett, Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh sign the agreement.

Wednesday 21 May, 2008: Australia is expanding its aid to Bangladesh with a four year BDT 520 crore donation to lift the extreme poor out of poverty and improve the health of women and children.

Richard Moore, visiting Deputy Director General for the Australian Government’s aid agency, AusAID, today signed the agreements in Dhaka with representatives from partners BRAC and UNICEF. “This contribution further strengthens and expands a long term commitment and partnership Australia has with Bangladesh to sustainably address the needs of the poor. These new programs will change millions of lives for the better, and help to prevent many thousands of maternal and child deaths”, he commented.

Along with other donor countries, Australian funds aim to lift over four million people out of extreme poverty by providing BDT 236 crore to BRAC over four years. The program will provide grants to enable poor women to set up small enterprises – such as owning livestock, poultry or growing vegetables – thus improving their family’s resilience to price shocks as the cost of staple foods continues to increase.  The program will also provide modest income support while they establish their business and will facilitate their access to health care.

AusAID, in partnership with other donors, expects to double the number of women who receive quality obstetric care in ten districts, through the ‘Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival project’, implemented through BRAC and UNICEF. Australian funds will also provide a package of care expected to support critical millennium development goals including ensuring 85 per cent of children under the age of one are protected with valid immunisations, and 50 percent of newborn babies receive essential newborn care. Australia will provide BDT 284 crore to carry out both these programs, helping mothers, new born babies and young children to survive and to remain healthy and well-nourished. This will be achieved by training health care workers, improving mothers’ awareness about safe pregnancy and infant care, expanding the coverage of immunisation, and nutritional supplementation. The programs will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The Executive Director of BRAC and Acting Representative of UNICEF were also present at the ceremony.

For more information please contact:

AusAID:  S Farhana Rahman, Senior Political & Economic Research Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission – Dhaka, Tel +880-2 8813105, Ext: 422
BRAC: Q. Pushpita Alam, Manager, Communications, BRAC Public Affairs & Communications
Tel: +880-2-9881265 Ext.: 2158
UNICEF:  Zafrin Chowdhury, Senior Communication Officer, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel:+ 880-2-9336701-10, Ext: 397



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