Opinion Former Article

Big Lottery Fund: Toddlers given better chance of life by lottery good cause money

HALF a million pounds of BIG Lottery Fund good cause money is about to find its way to help more little children in Ethiopia to survive beyond their fifth birthday.

The children are being helped through the Lottery good cause grant to International Rescue Committee UK. It is one of a group of international awards totalling more than £3.8 million from the Fund today to be channelled into improving the lives of people living in parts of the developing world. The funding is going to UK-based NGOs working across several African countries, Peru, Sri Lanka and India.

Commenting on the grants roll out, Big Lottery Fund Chair Sir Clive Booth said: "Today's funding is vital in improving the healthcare of those communities who are desperately in need. These UK-based international development charities do tremendous work and we're pleased to help them to bring sustainable and long-term change to some of the most marginalised communities across the globe."

For more than 70 years the International Rescue Committee UK (IRC-UK) has been supporting millions of people across the world who have had their lives torn apart by violence and deprivation. Their grant of £497,110 will work in the rural Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia teaching mothers how to recognise signs of the most common childhood illnesses and how to treat them. Community-based health workers will be given training to recognise and care for the most serious illnesses affecting children under five years old and the group will also restore wells and establish water committees to more than double the supply of safe water in the area.

Sarah Hughes, Director of IRC-UK said: "One-in-six children in Benishangul-Gumuz do not live to see the age of five. Although malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia are preventable and easily treatable, they remain the three major killers of children under five in Africa. With these funds from BIG, the IRC can fight back and save many children's lives in this poverty-stricken region."

Today's grants will also bring health benefits to vulnerable people in Madhya Pradesh in central India. The British Leprosy Relief Association (LEPRA) has been awarded £489,389 to improve the health of the most vulnerable among castes and indigenous tribes in the state who face discriminated.

The project will help these groups to improve their knowledge on prevention and treatment of diseases such as TB, HIV and leprosy, and will extend services by updating the skills of health workers, including traditional healers. A network of community volunteers will be established to collect samples from people who have suspected TB and deliver them for testing, also linking them to treatment providers when necessary. Other volunteers will spread health awareness and anti-discrimination messages throughout their communities.

Ceri Angood, LEPRA's Programmes Officer, worked with colleagues in India to co-ordinate the funding bid for the project. She said: "This is a considerable expansion of work into a new area and so this is a very exciting time for LEPRA.

"LEPRA has successfully reduced the burden of leprosy, prevented people dying of TB and counselled those with HIV elsewhere in India and other developing countries, but the Big Lottery Fund is the first major donor to support LEPRA's work in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

"LEPRA has vast experience in helping the poor and stigmatised people regain their health, get back to work and fight discrimination. We are extremely pleased to have support from the Big Lottery Fund in order to put this experience into practice in a new area and reach 300,000 more people. We are well prepared and have a good plan for how to achieve our project's aims. Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, the real work starts now!"

Other health projects receiving grants today include Womankind Worldwide who will use their £499,243 grant to help disadvantaged women in Peru improve their health and promote their rights by tackling the causes and consequences of violence they have experienced or are vulnerable to. And Transform Africa will use £484,527 to change behaviour attitudes towards HIV/AIDS in Southern Tanzania and Northern Zambia.

All of the awards from today's announcement are:

Recipient Award Project location Base Project
Food & Agricultural Research Management Ltd £423,875 Tanzania London A project looking at innovative methods of teaching pastoralist children in communities.
Traidcraft Exchange £490,266 India Tyne and Wear A Tsunami project aiming to improve the livelihoods of fishing and farming communities.
The British Leprosy Relief Association (LEPRA) £489,389 India Colchester A project to improve the health of scheduled Caste and Tribal communities.
International Rescue Committee UK £497,110 Ethiopia London A project in Ethiopia looking to reduce disease and death in children under 5.
Womankind Worldwide £499,243 Peru London A project helping disadvantaged women to improve their health and promote their rights by tackling violence.
Transform Africa £484,527 Southern Tanzania and Northern Zambia London A project to change behaviour and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS and mitigate its impact.
Helpage International £499,998 Sri Lanka London A project looking to support older people affected by the Tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Save The Children Fund £499,585 Sierra Leone London A project in Sierra Leone working to improve the health of children and pregnant women.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone: 0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

. The Big Lottery Fund rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
. The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £20 billion has now been raised and more than 280,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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