It wants BD to become prosperous, stable country, she says UK to continue support giving voice to women: Sarah Cooke
The United Kingdom has said it will continue to help Bangladesh’s stride in eradicating child marriage and stopping violence against women giving both girls and women ‘safe and secure’ lives ensuring their economic independence.
“Despite significant progress, still more needs to be done, particularly around the challenge of eradicating child marriage. It remains very high here compared to other countries in the region,” outgoing DFID Country Representative Sarah Cooke told UNB and another media outlet in an interview.
She said they are now designing programmes for the next five years starting from the financial year 2016-2017 (Apr 1) considering the needs of Bangladesh.
Sarah laid emphasis on effective implementation of ‘very good’ laws and policies already in place to achieve the goals of ending violence against women and child marriage.
“We want to support Bangladesh become a prosperous and stable country and we feel we can help Bangladesh lift more people out of poverty,” said the DFID Country Representative in Bangladesh.
The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s works in Bangladesh to end extreme poverty by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.
Sarah, who will soon take over charge as British High Commissioner to Tanzania, said they would continue to help Bangladesh government deliver its commitment to reducing the number of girls getting married before the age of 18.
“And in the long-term, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina committed to eradicating child marriage by 2041. I would love to return to Bangladesh at the time to see the changes,” she said.
Terming Bangladesh a ‘development success story’ the DFID chief said Bangladesh has really given girls and women more choices in their lives – allowing them to complete education and getting employment.
Talking about the International Women’s Day that falls on March 8, Sarah said it is always a big day on calendar here in Bangladesh.
“We really want to see women and girls are given the opportunities that they are able to maximise their opportunity available to them. We want to unlock their potential and enable them to make full contribution to society and help them have a better life in their families,” she said.
Sarah, who has been country representative for DFID Bangladesh since October 2012, highly appreciated the confidence she has seen among girls and women in Bangladesh. “I had wonderful experience of meeting so many people. I feel incredibly lucky.”
Responding to a question on sustainable development goals (SDGs), she said it needs to make sure that marginalized and vulnerable groups get the support they are entitled to.
“We need to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind. The leadership by the government is really important,” she added.
On climate change issue, she said they have a strong commitment to managing the impacts of climate change and help vulnerable countries. “We do it in a variety of ways.”
She said the British government has a very close partnership with Bangladesh a key part of that is their development programmes.
The UK government’s programmes have helped to lift 1.5 million people out of extreme poverty by providing training or assets to help people set up business by the end of 2015.
The programmes also helped 1.4 million farmers and small business resulting in net increase in income of £100 million.