The UK government will match £16 million of public donations to Red Nose Day in order to help Comic Relief transform the lives of over half a million of the poorest girls and women in Africa. This new support was announced live on tonight’s Red Nose Day programme by Lenny Henry at 21.35.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:
"Red Nose Day rightly holds a special place in the British public’s heart. Generous public donations tonight, combined with our matched funding, will help to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls and women in Africa.
“This isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. When girls and women are locked out of society, meaningful progress and development are impossible. Investing in girls and women is the only way to realise long-term, meaningful change that can transform communities and whole countries.”
The £32 million announced today will help Comic Relief to:
Provide 160,000 women over five years with high quality reproductive health services including antenatal care for 10,000 expectant mothers and skilled health personnel attending 20,000 births
Support for quality education, including getting 10,000 school girls enrolled and regularly attending school and significant literacy and numeracy improvements for 140,000 children, 90,000 of them girls
Helping 50,000 women farmers improve their businesses, boosting income by an average 20% and helping increase their ownership of the land they work on
Help bring in changes to domestic legislation, local byelaws and customary practices to promote and protect women’s rights, benefiting 100,000 girls and women
Work to reduce violence and harmful traditional practices against girls and women including female genital cutting, with at least 40,000 fewer girls and women affected by violence and 75,000 fewer girls forced to undergo harmful traditional practices
Earlier this year, the Government also announced it will give Comic Relief a grant equivalent to whatever VAT is paid on the sales of this year's Red Nose Day CD single ‘One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)’, a mash up of the Blondie and The Undertones 1978 hits by One Direction. By covering the cost of all VAT on sales of the single from the overseas development budget, the Government is effectively ‘giving back’ the VAT to Comic Relief to help change even more lives in the developing world.