Newly independent South Sudan is among 34 countries awarded grants today by a United Nations that seeks to end violence against women, along with another first-time recipient, Iraq.
“Violence against women is a human rights and public health emergency,” Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, said of the 15th batch of annual grants from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) which awarded $17.1 million for 22 initiatives.
“But it is not inevitable. With sufficient political will, funding, and carefully developed and targeted programmes, violence against women can be significantly reduced. Through its support, the UN Trust Fund helps key stakeholders do just that.”
The grants will support innovative and practical work at the grassroots level, covering a range of strategic interventions, such as increasing the access of women survivors of violence to medical and legal services in Iraq and supporting HIV-positive women to connect with traditional leaders in Malawi to counter widespread stigmatization and abuse.
In South Sudan, the American Refugee Committee (ARC) will assist the Government in developing guidelines for the clinical management of rape and a secure information management system to collect timely data on incidents of violence, while in Mexico, an observatory of 48 women’s groups will standardize protocols for criminal investigation of the killing of women and generate procedures for targeted police interventions.
In Kenya, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, Sonke Gender Justice Network and the MenEngage country networks will engage men and boys to prevent violence against women in their communities.
In Indonesia, Rifka Annisa will support implementation of the country’s Domestic Violence Eradication Act through ensuring that religious courts apply the law in their decisions.
Other initiatives receiving grants seek to reduce workplace violence in export-oriented garment factories in Bangladesh and India, and accelerate the channels of justice and health services for survivors of violence in Uruguay.
The UN Trust Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism exclusively devoted to supporting local and national efforts to end violence against women and girls. The majority of its grantees are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), with grants also awarded to governments and UN country teams.
Applications to the fund continue to increase and this year alone, it received more than 2,500 applications requesting nearly $1.2 billion for projects in 123 countries. To meet the growing need for resources to translate global and national commitments into action, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign has set a target to raise $100 million for the fund’s annual grant-making by 2015.
“Over the years, the UN Trust Fund has established itself as a leading source of support for innovative and catalytic projects, combating violence where it matters most, at the local and community levels,” Ms. Bachelet said. “If not for the tireless efforts of its grantees, tens of thousands of women and girls would not see justice for the abuse they suffer, nor would they know that they don’t have to live in fear.”
The new grants were made possible with support from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.
The fund is also financially supported by partners in the private and nonprofit sectors, including the Avon and Avon Foundation for Women; Johnson & Johnson; the UN Foundation; M*A*C AIDS Fund; UN Women National Committees in Canada, Iceland, Japan, and the United Kingdom; and Zonta International and Zonta International Foundation.