In addition to the dramatic health crisis, the COVID-19 global pandemic has presented grave new threats to the critical work and very existence of local civil society organizations working on the front lines of crises, making the need to mobilize support for their efforts more urgent than ever before.
Women’s organizations and activists are already on the front lines of COVID-19 response and should be an integral part of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Recognizing the imperative that these organizations are appropriately funded, UN Women announced its support to the critical work of grassroots women’s organizations through two innovative financing initiatives, the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), to which UN Women provides board leadership and secretariat support, and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF EVAW).
“From the start of this emergency, UN Women has been in close touch with grantees, civil society organizations and activists around the world to identify measures to mitigate the pandemic’s dire impact. These organizations make an extraordinary contribution to society, from response to widespread violence against women to the specific challenges that women and girls face in conflict settings. We must sustain them and meet their critical needs in these unprecedented times,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
In partnership with the European Union and the Spotlight Initiative, the UNTF EVAW will allocate an additional USD 9 million to up to 44 civil society existing grantees in Sub-Saharan Africa to continue their essential work. The financial assistance will primarily focus on institutional strengthening, risk mitigation and survivor recovery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the alarming high rates of increasing violence against women and girls.
The new WPHF COVID-19 Emergency Response window will support civil society organizations with vital institutional and programmatic financing in 25 WPHF eligible countriesfacing conflict and crises in four regions across the globe. With over 5,000 funding proposals already submitted by local women’s organizations worldwide, this new instrument will drive urgently-needed new resources to grassroots women activists working to counter COVID-19 in their crises-affected communities.
These additional funds are a recognition of the critical work of grassroots women’s organizations and activists around the world, and their key contribution to respond to the new challenges presented by COVID-19, leaving no one behind.