UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women Announces USD 17.1 Million in Grants to Groundbreaking Efforts to Protect Women and Girls

Support announced for grants in South Asia

Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New York - The United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) today announced USD 17.1 million in grants to 22 initiatives in 34 countries, including, for the first time, Iraq and South Sudan.

“Violence against women is a human rights and public health emergency,” said Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women. “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.”

This year’s announcement marks the 15th annual grant cycle of the UN Trust Fund. Grants will support innovative and practical work at the grassroots level, such as reducing workplace violence in export-oriented garment factories in Bangladesh and India.

Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) from India has received a grant to address violence against female sex workers in Karnataka. The project empowers sex workers in the state of Karnataka by building awareness of the violence they suffer.

In India, violence against sex workers is socially tolerated. In the state of Karnataka, over 25 percent of sex workers report having been physically abused or raped during the past year, and many more sex workers face emotional and verbal abuse. Police raids to ‘rescue’ sex workers have only led to further abuse.

CARAM Asia is another grantee and will prevent violence against women amongst women who migrate from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to work as domestic workers in Malaysia. They will also scale-up legal and health services for those who have already suffered abuse. Migrant domestic workers will be both direct beneficiaries of the project and participate actively in its implementation.

CARAM Asia will work with 6 local implementing partners to raise awareness about abuses committed against migrant women, and to improve available legal aid and psychosocial services. The project targets government officials and service providers directly, and supports civil society organizations in providing more and better services for victims of abuse.

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 nongovernmental organizations, with grants also awarded to governments and UN Country Teams. Applications to the UN Trust Fund continue to increase.

This year alone, it received more than 2,500 applications requesting nearly USD 1.2 billion for projects in 123 countries. In order to meet the growing need for resources to translate global and national commitments into action, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign has set a target to raise USD 100 million for the UN Trust 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,” said Ms. Bachelet. “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 are made possible with generous support from the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. The Fund is also grateful for the vital support of its partners in the private and nonprofit sectors: Avon and Avon Foundation for Women; Johnson & Johnson; the United Nations 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.

Established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, the UN Trust Fund is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system. Since it became operational in 1997, the UN Trust Fund has delivered more than USD 78 million to 339 projects in 127 countries and territories.