Sana’a, 9 August 2020 – The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has announced an additional contribution of SEK 30 million (US$ 3.1 million) to help UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund provide life-saving protection services to the most vulnerable women and girls, whose protection needs soar as COVID-19 grapples Yemen.
Women and girls continue to face entrenched gender inequalities in Yemen. Three quarters of those displaced are women and children and women and girls among them face an increased risk of gender-based violence. New global projections by UNFPA indicate that gender-based violence is expected to soar as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and this could also have far reaching consequences for the health and safety of Yemeni women and girls.
“The suffering of women and girls in Yemen has never been this alarming. They are faced with the threat of conflict, cholera, famine and now COVID-19 hence making it absolutely critical now more than ever to ensure that women and girls are safe and have the services they require to protect themselves from violence and abuse. We are extremely grateful to Sida for recognising this need and providing us with this additional funding to continue our work of providing of essential protection services,” stated Nestor Owomuhangi, UNFPA’s acting Representative in Yemen.
“As Yemen grapples with multiple complex crises, not least the spread of Covid-19, we must not lose sight of the very unique way in which women and girls are impacted and how this in turn continues to entrench existing gender inequalities. We see this support as imperative to continue ensuring that the most vulnerable women and girls have the necessary protection and support to enable them to play an active and meaningful role in the country’s efforts towards peace and development,” noted Adam Bergman, Regional Program Manager with Sida at the Swedish Embassy in Amman.
The funding will help UNFPA to expand protection services in areas where vulnerabilities of women and girls have grown due to increased fighting and spread of COVID-19. This includes establishing five new women and girls’ safe spaces, increasing the number of districts supported with women’s protection services from 60 to 84 districts and supporting more women to engage in livelihood and economic empowerment activities, among others interventions.
Sida has been one of the largest contributors to UNFPA’s protection programmes in Yemen, contributing nearly US$10 million since 2017, and in turn helping to reach hundreds of thousands of women and girls with protection information and services.
UNFPA leads the coordination and provision of protection services across the country. UNFPA is also the sole provider of life-saving reproductive health medicines in Yemen. To keep reaching the most vulnerable women and girls, UNFPA requires US$100.5 million in 2020. To date, only 52 per cent of funding has been received.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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