The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) announced Wednesday awards of US$10 million in grants to 13 initiatives in 18 countries. The grants complete the UN Trust Fund's 14th grant-making cycle of 2009, delivering a total of US$20.5 million for 26 projects in 33 countries and territories. Belarus, the Marshall Islands and Sri Lanka are first-time grant recipients of the UN Trust Fund.
Women United Together, Marshall Islands (WUTMI) received a grant for its project, “Initiative for a Better Response to Address Violence Everywhere (iBRAVE).”
In the Marshall Islands, like many other nations, there is an implicit social acceptance of violence against women in the household and widespread reluctance to publicly discuss the issue.
Violence against women has also not yet been criminalized in national law. A pioneering initiative, managed by WUTMI with support from the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, and Health, will increase public awareness and strengthen legislation and protocols around domestic violence. Strategies include implementation of a comprehensive multi-media campaign, education of key communities groups, developing alliances with government agencies, and training of police and medical “first responders” to implement response protocols.
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. Established by the United Nations in 1996, the Fund is managed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, part of UN Women), on behalf of the United Nations system.
“Violence against women destroys families, fractures communities and hampers progress on development goals,” said Inés Alberdi, Executive Director, UNIFEM. “But it is problem with a solution. Only by intensifying support and increasing investment to national and local efforts can we ensure women and girls are safe from violence and can lead healthy, productive lives. The UN Trust Fund's ability to award these additional grants is a welcome sign towards translating pledges by government and international donors into resources to support action on the ground,” she added.
With these grants, the UN Trust Fund will have supported 317 programmes in 124 countries and territories with more than US$60 million to date. However, resources for the UN Trust Fund fall drastically short of the vast demand. For the current grant cycle alone, the Fund was able to meet less than 3 percent of the demand: a total of 1,643 applications with grant requests totalling US$857 million were received. The UN Trust Fund could award only a total of US$20.5 million to 26 projects covering 33 countries and territories.
The United Nations Secretary-General's campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women includes a specific target of raising US$100 million annually for the UN Trust Fund by 2015, in recognition of the urgent need to address violence against women and the Fund being a pioneering inter-agency initiative to advance progress on the ground to respond to this pervasive human rights violation.