Scotland has many historical links with South Asia with a large diasporan community living in Scotland. In recognition of these links, the Scottish Government funded Scottish based NGOs to deliver projects in the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka between 2010 and 2013 with a focus on promoting sustainable economic development.
With the conclusion of these projects in March 2013, a new set of 12 projects are being funded from 2013 to 2016 with the geographical focus of the work narrowed to Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Indian states of Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh in order to have the maximum impact on the areas of greatest need. The projects are focussed on a variety of themes including maternal healthcare, food production, clean water and helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The Scottish Government is also funding a scholarships scheme through British Council Pakistan to enable Pakistani women from disadvantaged backgrounds to study masters courses in education and environment related topics and a further scholarships scheme to enable children to continue their studies who are at risk of not completing their education.