The United Nations humanitarian chief has released 25 million US dollars from its emergency fund to support women-led organisations that prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
The funding has gone to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Women that have been asked to channel at least 30 per cent of it to organisations run by women that prevent violence against women and girls, and help victims and survivors with access to medical care, family planning, legal advice, safe spaces, mental health services and counselling, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a press release on Wednesday.
“The Covid-19 pandemic helped reveal the full extent of gender inequality while creating a set of circumstances that threaten to reverse the limited progress that has been made,” said Mark Lowcock, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“It’s a smart investment and it’s the right thing to do. We can only successfully find a way out of this pandemic if we bring everyone with us,” he added.
UNFPA will receive 17 million dollars and 8 million dollars will go to UN Women. They will now decide where and how the money will be spent, said the press release.
“It’s time to say “enough” to gender-based violence and to prioritize the rights and needs of women and girls in humanitarian crises,” said Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s executive director.
The announcement came at the start of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence”, an international campaign, which runs each year from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10, the Human Rights Day.
“The high levels of gender-based violence that women and girls experience, especially in countries that are in crisis and in need of humanitarian assistance, remains one of the greatest injustices in our world,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
The funding comes from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, an emergency fund that offers one of the fastest and most effective ways to help people affected by crises. Since it was established in 2005, the fund has provided close to 7 billion dollars for life-saving humanitarian action that has helped hundreds of millions of people across more than 100 countries and territories.