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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Al-Shehab, a twice-funded UN Trust Fund grantee, is quickly adjusting its operations so it can continue to provide essential services to marginalized women and girls in informal settlements in Greater Cairo in ways that are safe for everyone involved.
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During times of emergency and in fragile settings affected by humanitarian crises, women and girls are at a heightened risk of violence. The UN Trust Fund’s grantee Arab Women’s Organization (AWO), an Amman-based local NGO, runs two women’s centres to respond to the unmet needs of women and girl survivors of violence; serving both Syrian refugees and the local Jordanian community.
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In the informal settlements of Ezbet El-Haggana and El-Marg in Cairo, which are home to about one million people, women and girls from some of the most marginalized communities often struggle with poverty, high rates of illiteracy, and barriers to medical, legal and economic services. Starting in 2015, the Al-Shehab Institution for Comprehensive Development, funded by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), established a community drop-in centre focused on providing essential services for women and girl survivors of violence, women living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk, as well as for women domestic workers.
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ACDemocracia works to mobilize communities and train leaders. So far, within the framework of the UN Trust Fund- supported project, they have trained 313 women leaders of organizations in the National Coalition of women’s groups to increase their capacity to advocate for women’s rights and specifically for the adoption of comprehensive legislation for the prevention and eradication of violence against women in the country. They also trained 54 government officials, 49 reporters and 532 university students.
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“Zero tolerance is the goal, public participation is the method”, said Zhao Li, a grassroots activist in China. China’s first law on domestic violence was passed in December 2015, but implementation is yet to include all those at risk. Organizations like Equality , a small feminist NGO, are working to ensure that the law is applied consistently in all cases of violence, while providing support to survivors, especially to women and girls from underserved communities.
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World Hope International (WHI), a grantee of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), is working to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of service provision to survivors of violence in Cambodia, with the aim of ending and preventing violence. “Government social workers assigned to communes [small groups of villages] have a broad mandate”, says WHI Cambodia Director Talmage Payne, “[as] they work with youth, veterans, women and children”. This affects service providers’ ability and preparedness to respond to the specific needs of each of these constituencies.
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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visits a Primary School in Khayelitsha to see the impact of a male-founded sports-based programme which fosters girls’ empowerment and addresses violence against women.