UN Trust Fund's side event at Women Deliver 2023 Conference
On 18 July, at the Women Deliver 2023 conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) held an in-person only side-event entitled “A conversation with UN Trust Fund grantee organizations”.
The event brought together UN Trust Fund grantee organizations attending the conference, as well as other UN Trust Fund partners, UN Women and UN Member States. It provided a space to exchange ideas about strategies for joint advocacy and collective action to end violence against women and girls.
Key role of women’s rights organizations
Lopa Banerjee, Director of Civil Society Division at UN Women, introduced the UN Trust Fund and its mission to invest in and empower civil society and women’s rights organizations to end violence against women and girls: “Women's rights organizations have the trust of women in their communities, and it is our duty to recognize and resource the exercise of their expertise."
Abigail Erikson, Chief of the UN Trust Fund, reflected on the inspiring, life-saving work led by UN Trust Fund grantee organizations. She explained:
"[T]here is a clear message of hope, determination and resilience to share, which shines through the work of our UN Trust Fund grantee partners who are operating in extremely challenging environments with determination and courage."
Starting off the panel discussion, Elvia Raquec, Director of Programs at Women's Justice Initiative (Guatemala), shared how their organization tailors programmes to fit the specific needs of Indigenous Maya women and their lived experiences, and to address systemic barriers such as linguistic, geographic and financial challenges, and ethnic discrimination.
Alicia Herbert OBE, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Director of Education, Gender and Equality and the UK’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality, spoke of the longstanding partnership with the UN Trust Fund: "We believe the UN Trust Fund is uniquely placed to channel flexible funding and capacity support to women’s rights organizations at the grassroots."
Chinyere Eyoh, Executive Director at Sexual Offences Awareness & Response Initiative (Nigeria) and strong survivor-advocate, explained the importance of catalyzing collective action as a long-term strategy to prevent violence against women and girls. She said: “Standing up and speaking out gives a face to violence against women and girls’ issues.”
Lisa Mossberg, Strategy Coordinator Global Strategy for Gender Equality for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), a long-term partner of the UN Trust Fund, highlighted the lack of funding to women’s rights organizations, impeding progress to end violence against women and achieve gender inequality: “We recognize gender-based violence as a precondition for gender inequality.”
Concluding the panel discussion, Lipi Rahman, Executive Director of the feminist movement-based organization Badabon Sangho (Bangladesh), explained how their project enabled the creation of 109 women’s groups to help women landowners reclaim their rights in the face of violence and forced displacement, underlining the importance of strong feminist movements and networks.
Importance of collaborative actions
After an open and interactive discussion with the audience, Rhoda Robinson, Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative (Nigeria), concluded the event by recognizing the importance of strong, sustained and collaborative actions with women’s rights organizations and other key partners to end violence against women and girls:
"It is through our unwavering commitment that we can create a world where all women and girls can live free from violence, fear and oppression."