ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD
United Nations Development Fund for Women Pledges
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
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
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
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
works to promote women's empowerment, rights and gender equality
For more information, visit http://www.unifem.org/
UNIFEM, 304 East 45th
Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212-906-6400,