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“Participating in the Second Chance Education and Vocational Learning Programme has made me confident,” says Bulbul Akter, 24, a seamstress, turkey farmer and community outreach volunteer from Ukhiya Cox’s Bazar. “Now, I am known to my relatives and neighbours as a self-reliant woman. I am contributing to my family and the wider community, and I can support my daughter’s studies. I have requested that my two sisters also enrol in this programme.”
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Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency, the EmPower project aims to contribute to the implementation of climate change and disaster risk reduction actions in Asia and the Pacific that address the key drivers of gender-based vulnerabilities while enhancing human rights.
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The “UN Women impact stories series”, updated quarterly, illustrates the human impact of UN Women’s work across Asia and the Pacific, highlighting the partnerships that make this work possible. These stories share how we and our many partners are striding forward to realize a better world for women and girls—one of equality and empowerment because that is what we do and who we are, as a leader, mobilizer, convenor, and provider of programmes.
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In 2020, Bangladesh faced a double disaster Cyclone and COVID-19 in Khulna and Satkhira districts amongst the hardest hit. Thousands of families lost their livelihoods and incomes overnight. While the government provided direct assistance to those affected, many women and girls fell through the cracks. At the onset of the pandemic, UN Women expanded the group of NGOs that it worked with and created the Gender Monitoring Network (GMN), a network of 28 civil society organizations (CSOs) and women’s rights organizations. Organizations from the GMN supported UN Women in identifying vulnerable groups of women and girls, including transgender and sex workers, for unconditional cash assistance.