Ms. Alessandra Schiavo, Italian Ambassador to Myanmar and Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA Representative for Myanmar signed an agreement for a grant of 400,000 Euro. This funding is to support UNFPA’ Women and Girls First Programme - Phase II (2020 – 2022), according to a statement.
The funding allows UNFPA to continue critical interventions to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV), ensure access to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services for women, girls, young people in conflict affected areas, including elderly women, women and girls with disability, LGBTQIA+ and marginalized groups. Bridging the humanitarian, peacebuilding and development nexus, the Women and Girls First Programme is benefitting targeted population across Kachin, Rakhine, Shan, Mon, Kayin and Kayah States.
COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to life-saving SRHR, GBV and MHPSS services needed for women, girls and young people in conflict affected areas. Women and girls are at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence; adolescents and young people encounter limited access to sexual and reproductive health information, when movement is restricted, livelihoods disrupted and protection systems weakened.
Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan said, “Italian Funding for Women and Girls First Programme is coming at the right time. The contribution enables us to ensure continuity of UNFPA support on critical services of GBV and MHPSS to meet the essential needs of conflict-affected women, girls and young people through the programme. With our expertise and strong relationship with local partners, we will invest more in women and girls to further strengthening women empowerment, gender-equality, providing access to SRHR and MHPSS services, and encouraging positive social norm changes to prevent GBV in the community.”
UNFPA, United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, continues to deliver critical and life-saving GBV, MHPSS and SRHR services for the most vulnerable women and girls through 33 Women and Girls Centers and mobile and static clinics in Rakhine, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon and Shan States.
“Italy intends to contribute to a better future for all women and girls in this Country. The positive results achieved during the first phase of its implementation made Women and Girls First one of the flagship programs in Myanmar for promoting the advancement of women’s right. I am truly honoured to sign this agreement and work in this direction” said H.E. Alessandra Schiavo, Italian Ambassador to Myanmar.
“The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) is fully aligned to the 2030 Agenda. Through this initiative AICS is reaffirming its commitment to end violence against women and girls, reinforcing the peacebuilding component in the humanitarian and development nexus, and also responding to the current health crisis” affirmed Mr. Walter Zucconi, Head of Office at AICS Yangon.
Italy provided 800,000 Euro to Women and Girls First Programme Phase I during 2016-2019. The Women and Girls First Programme is supported by Australia, the EU, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden.