Britain to give £10 million in aid for women's projects in memory of slain MP

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain announced on Wednesday that it would establish a series of grants honoring a murdered parliamentarian in order to help women in developing countries and prevent violence.

The Jo Cox Memorial Grants, with up to 10 million pounds ($14 million) in total funding, will go to projects aimed at getting girls’ and women’s voices heard by those in power, boosting their employability and financial independence, and improving access to family planning.

Cox, who worked for aid agency Oxfam before entering politics, was killed by a Nazi-obsessed loner in a street attack in June 2016, ahead of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

British aid minister Penny Mordaunt paid tribute to Cox’s humanitarian work and called for people to “raise their game” to make gender equality a reality.

“The MeToo movement has sent shockwaves around the world and given a voice to millions of women, but the majority of women and girls in the poorest countries are still not heard,” she said in a statement, referring to the global #MeToo campaign against sexual abuse and harassment.

Mordaunt said grants would go to projects “close to Jo’s heart” in support of the world’s most disadvantaged and disenfranchised women.

The funding - announced ahead of International Women’s Day on Thursday - will also help improve the capacity of civil society groups to predict violence based on gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

In a speech in London on Wednesday, Mordaunt is expected to say that the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the aid world recently would be less widespread if women and girls had an equal place at the table.