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Indigenous & Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas 



Indigenous & Latina Women & Children's Human Rights News from the Americas 


For Immediate Release
August 7, 2002 leigh.pasqual@undp.org
Contact: Leigh Pasqual, 212-906-5463


United Nations Development Fund for Women Pledges 

$1 Million to Programmes in 22 Countries

United Nations, New York - The experiences of rape survivors living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda and Burundi will be documented to raise awareness of the problems these women face, and to promote protective laws and increased financial support; a gender-sensitive media code for journalists will be developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina; teachers in Bolivia will be trained to advocate for the inclusion of domestic violence in the school curricula; a series of dramas broadcast over National Radio in Cambodia will allow audience members to discuss domestic violence and receive referrals for legal and psychological counselling.

These are only a few examples of the new programmes that the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) will support this year through its Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women. At the 7th UN inter-agency meeting to determine grant awards for the Trust Fund, UN agencies recommended that over $1 million be granted to 18 programmes in 22 countries. The grants range from
$ 25,000 to $ 120,000 and will go to programmes addressing such issues as domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of girls, rape and so called honour crimes.

"We are learning how to stop the violence," said Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM and the chief architect of the Trust Fund. "These projects reflect the increasing commitment that exists worldwide to protect women's rights, provide services for victims and punish crimes of violence against women and girls."

According to Heyzer, UNIFEM's Trust Fund received close to 270 proposals with funding requests of more than $ 15.5 million this year. "There is an obvious and growing need for greater funding in the area of violence prevention. Our biggest obstacle is not a lack of ideas. It is a lack of resources."

Established in 1996, UNIFEM's Trust Fund has awarded in previous cycles, over $ 5 million to projects in more than 73 countries. The Fund looks for innovative projects from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The idea is to provide grants to projects that can later serve as examples for replication in other countries.

In Nicaragua, the NGO Puntos de Encuentro has produced and broadcast Sexto Sentido, "the Sixth Sense", with the help of a Trust Fund grant. Sexto Sentido is a TV program aimed primarily at Nicaraguan teenagers. The show explores important social issues such as gender-based violence and is supported by a daily radio show and two advocacy campaigns on emergency contraception and domestic violence. The adjunct director of Puntos reports, "It was very moving to receive phone calls from girls telling their stories of abuse and rape, saying it was 'the first time they'd ever told anyone'."

According to the most recent commercial ratings in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, Sexto Sentido is among the top programmes overall, with an especially large audience in the 13-17 and the 18-24 age categories. The series is the top-rated in its time slot, with a full 70% of the entire TV viewing audience at that time watching it. Puntos de Encuentro is currently negotiating the possibility of broadcasting Sexto Sentido in Mexico and Guatemala.

For more information on Trust Fund projects, visit UNIFEM's website at http://www.undp.org/unifem/trustfund

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) works to promote women's empowerment, rights and gender equality worldwide.
For more information, visit http://www.unifem.org/

UNIFEM, 304 East 45th Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212-906-6400, http://www.unifem.undp.org