Department for International Development
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News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 30 October 2009

The UK and Australia have launched a new £18.3 million Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF) aimed at improving the lives of all mothers and children across Pakistan – the first fund of its kind in the country.

Every year, 15,000 women in Pakistan die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Over 60 per cent of births are not attended by skilled professionals.

The new RAF initiative will provide grants to organisations and individuals working on research projects that will help ensure improved access to and quality of maternal and newborn health services in Pakistan. Funding will also be made available for research and advocacy projects that will inform health policy reforms in the country.

The Department for International Development (DFID) and Australian Agency for International Development have launched the RAF to provide a mix of small and large grants of up to £500,000 each. Proposals will be encouraged from public institutions, civil society organisations, research and academic institutions, private consulting firms, individual consultants and national and international consortia. The five year programme is being managed by a consortium of agencies from Pakistan and the UK led by the British Council.

Development Minister Mike Foster said:

“Pakistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, and one in ten children die before their fifth birthday. That’s why DFID is so committed to improving the health of the country’s mothers and children. We already provide £69 million to the government’s Maternal and Newborn Child Health programme. But this new project is another important step in catalysing changes to how services are provided at both a policy and a practice level.

“The value of research lies in how it gets used by policy-makers who have the power to make a real difference to the lives of people across the country. Giving those people a voice to demand the health services their families need is critical in the fight to save and improve the lives of women and children in Pakistan.”

Notes to Editors

DFID is providing £665 million of assistance to Pakistan from 2009 to 2013. By 2011, Pakistan will be the UK’s second largest development programme worldwide. The first Call for Proposals can be found on DFID’s website at or


Chris Kiggell.
Phone: 020 70230504

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