Managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system, the UN Trust Fund works with non-governmental organizations and governments to improve access to services for responding to violence against women and girls, deepen the implementation of laws and policies grounded in women’s rights, and back actions to prevent violence.
One UN Trust Fund-supported project provided the only available services for survivors of violence in a number of the refugee camps that dot the Thailand–Myanmar border. Implemented by the International Rescue Committee and the community-based Karenni National Women’s Organization, the project helped women like Bu Meh (alias), a Karenni mother of five from Myanmar, find protection and resources to get back on their feet. “When my husband beat me, I came here,” she says. “I feel safe. The staff always accompanied me and I received good service [for my] health, psychosocial support and other needs.”
Other beneficiaries of UN Trust Fund support in 2016 included women and girls living along the North Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Rates of violence are high there, particularly for indigenous women marginalized by poverty and discrimination. A UN Trust Fund-supported project by the international women’s rights organization MADRE, and its local partner Wangki Tangni, has established the first radio station focusing on women’s rights in the region, targeting more than 63 communities in the local language. Broadcasts are complemented by “community listener groups” organized by comunicadoras—women’s rights defenders. The groups provide information and a safe space for learning about rights as well as indigenous concepts of peaceful living. “Now we are talking daily about this issue,” says Valerie Carero (alias), an avid listener of the broadcasts. “We believe that we are already seeing less violence in the home and within families.”
In trying to scrape together a living by selling goods in the markets of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, women have faced rampant violence and discrimination, including sexual harassment and verbal abuse. With UN Trust Fund support, the group Equality for Growth is implementing a project that has made six markets safer. Forty women vendors have been trained as community legal supporters who raise awareness and help women claim their rights. In 2016, the community legal supporters assisted over 450 women to report cases in the markets. All six markets have adopted guidelines to end violence against women, resulting in stiff fines for perpetrators. Nearly two in three women now know where to report violence, and four in five say that violence has decreased.
Over the past two decades, the UN Trust Fund has supported 462 organizations in 139 countries and territories, with grants totalling over USD 129 million. These funds have made a positive difference in the lives of over 2 million women and girls.
In 2016, 36 organizations received a total of USD 13 million in funding, and the Fund had 106 ongoing projects in 77 countries and territories. Almost 250,000 women and girls benefitted directly from services for survivors, empowerment activities and protection from violence. They included at least 31,000 female migrant workers; 10,000 indigenous women; 3,400 lesbian, bisexual and transgender women; and 1,300 women and girls with disabilities. In total, UN Trust Fund projects reached more than 6 million people in 2016, including men and boys, government officials and the general public.