COVID-19: Norway pledges additional $1.1 million to strengthen gender-based violence prevention and reproductive health for women and girls in wake of cyclones

4 November 2020
Rainha, 35, stands in front of the local health center after a wellness check during the pandemic, where she received a UNFPA dignity kit and shared the preventive measures she takes to stay safe. © Alex Muianga/UNFPA Mozambique

The Government of Norway has committed $1.1 million to support UNFPA’s work with the Government of Mozambique to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in areas impacted by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. 

This funding will enable UNFPA and partners to ensure the health, protection and safety of 500,000 women and girls by increasing the availability of, and safe access to, sexual and reproductive health services and programmes to prevent and respond to gender- based violence in Sofala and Cabo Delgado provinces. 

Through the transition from crisis to reconstruction, a key priority will be to strengthen the agency and capacity of women and girls, young people, and persons with disabilities to demand and safely access quality essential services, including reproductive health and gender-based violence response services. 

“While all crisis-affected contexts bring about an increased risk of gender-based violence, and the cyclones were no different, the pandemic brings its own unique factors that must be addressed. The Government of Norway recognizes these heightened risks, and is providing additional funding to continue prioritizing the rights, safety, protection and well-being of girls and women during these compounded humanitarian crises,” said Andrea M. Wojnar, UNFPA’s representative in Mozambique.

Humanitarian crises exacerbate gender inequalities and disproportionately affect women and girls. In addition to the risk of contracting COVID-19, women and girls face a higher risk of gender-based violence, and are more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. 

“Norway is fully committed to supporting those responding to the needs of vulnerable girls and women who are already recovering from devastating cyclones, and are now faced with the impacts of a worsening pandemic,” said H.E. Ms. Aud Marit Wiig, Ambassador of Norway to Mozambique. “By safeguarding and advancing the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, and ensuring a life free from violence and harm, we are contributing to a more sustained and gender equal world, while also re-building the resilience and dignity of women and girls in Mozambique.”

These funds supplement previous support from the Government of Norway to UNFPA’s response to the crisis caused by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. As a result of the generous support provided by Norway and other donors in the wake of the cyclones, UNFPA has provided over 1.1 million services to approximately 400,000 people.  

Norway was UNFPA’s largest donor of unearmarked ‘core’ funding in 2019. 

 

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