"A clear message of hope, determination and resilience”: Changing the lives of women and girls in 2022


Group of women sitting outside on the ground, wearing colourful dresses and headscarves
Awareness-raising session on land documentation. Credit: Mamun Ur Rashid/Badabon Sangho

On 27 June 2023, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) held a webinar on its Annual Report 2022 to share the key achievements of UN Trust Fund grantees in 2022. 

The webinar heard directly from civil society and women’s rights organizations that have been leading bold initiatives to ensure that women and girls can live free from violence. Inspired by the Pecha Kucha presentation technique, representatives of five grantees* described their work to end violence against women and girls in 2022. 

Abigail Erikson, Chief of the UN Trust Fund, said: “It is our partners’ courage and resolve that enables the women and girls they serve to imagine and pursue a better, safer and more equal world.” 

Responding to context-based needs and crises 

Claudine Tsongo Mbalamya, Coordinator of Dynamique des Femmes Juristes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explained how they had adapted to multiple, overlapping crises – including Ebola and COVID-19, volcanic eruptions and socio-political instability – to maintain access to justice for women and girls. Their adaptations included providing support in mobile court hearings and training court officers in crisis situations. 

“The context forced us to adapt, but it was beneficial and sustainable as we were able to offer services to women and girls remotely,” she said. 

Feminist Co-creation and Innovative Solutions  

Mamun Ur Rashid, Senior Development Manager at Badabon Sangho in Bangladesh, explained how the women-led small organization had mobilized women’s groups to develop leadership skills and facilitate collective action to protect women landowners from gender-based violence and forced displacement. 

He said: "It is important to invest in feminist and local movement-building solutions for making the world free of violence." 

Backlash and Resistance 

Anti-rights movements and LGBTIQ-targeted attacks intensified in 2022. Livia Zotrija, Project Manager at Aleanca LGBT, shared how the organization had offered immediate support to lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women, including those living with HIV. Aleanca LGBT also worked with the private sector to create safe spaces for LBT women and girls seeking jobs.  

She said: “We work to build a strong and vibrant community of leaders for a violence-free world.” 

Group of women standing in a room open to the outdoors
Courtesy of CIARENA

Women’s Economic Empowerment 

Silvia Perez, legal representative at Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales (CIARENA), a UN Trust Fund grantee under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative, stressed the significance of inclusive women’s economic empowerment activities. This was reflected in CIARENA’s horticultural initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls in Mexico. 

She explained: “If women are in charge of the economy at home, if they have the economic power, then they can be autonomous” and therefore leave abusive relationships. 

Technology Facilitated Solutions  

Hedia Bel Haj Youssef, Head of the Violence and Technology Programme at the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) in Tunisia, underscored the importance of innovative tools to combat violence against women and girls. She explained how CAWTAR’s use of technology-facilitated solutions, such as the SafeNess application for women and girls living with disabilities, was key to increasing access to quality services and reporting mechanisms. 

Impact of grantees in 2022 

Concluding the webinar, Adina Wolf, Resource Mobilization and Reporting Specialist at the UN Trust Fund, shared key messages from the Annual Report 2022 and highlighted the inspiring work led by grantee organizations in three areas: prevention, services, and laws and policies. 

She also shared that the 26th Call for Proposals, launched in November 2022, received over 1,600 applications from 113 countries and territories, for a total of USD 756 million. This, she said, highlighted the need for more flexible, core and long-term funding for civil society and women’s rights organizations working to end violence against women and girls in increasingly challenging settings. 

* Dynamique des Femmes Juristes (Democratic Republic of Congo); Badabon Sangho (Bangladesh); Aleanca LGBT (Albania); Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales (Mexico); and Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (Tunisia).