European Union - UN Women partnership bolsters efforts in response to Syrian crisis

EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis steps up its support to women´s empowerment in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey through a 12.5 million EUR investment



Pursuing joint efforts against Gender-Based Violence, the EU and UN Women today launched a women´s rights and empowerment programme aiming at strengthening the resilience of Syrian women and girls and host communities in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey. This is the first agreement with UN Women under the EU Regional Trust Fund – “MADAD”.

This integrated programme aims to reach 60,000 people in need, predominantly women living in situations characterised by increasing domestic violence, isolation and economic insecurity. It will address economic vulnerability and violence by increasing women’s access to financial assets and recovery and income opportunities, while providing immediate and life-saving protection services. Placing women and women’s organizations at the forefront of the of the regional response to Syria crisis and with a long-term view, the programme focuses both on service delivery with efforts to enhance women’s representation and rights, and strengthening national accountability for addressing violence against women. By bringing together different communities and creating spaces for dialogue, the programme seeks to build cohesion for more peaceful societies.

The programme will support women like Rana, who is living in an informal settlement in Iraq, after losing her home, many of her family members and the life she knew. As the head of her family, Rana is receiving services from a UN Women-supported safe space while contributing to her community. ‘I always look forward to going into the UN Women centre in my area; it is my second home,’ she says. “It gives me a community to belong to, a sense of purpose and a place for my children to regain their youth. I have always dreamt of opening my own bakery to benefit myself, my family and those around me. With support from the centre, now I can.’

‘Syrian women and girls have been facing extraordinarily challenging circumstances as they cope with losing their homes and sustaining their families. The economic opportunities and safe spaces we will be creating will be both short-term resources and lifelong skills, supporting them to build sustainable livelihoods, free from violence and poverty,’ says Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. ‘Launching this programme reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to women’s empowerment and ending violence against women and girls.”

"Almost half of the people affected by the Syria crisis are women. Women and children often catch the brunt of violent conflict. So far insufficient attention has been paid to their needs, but also to their potential," states Michael Kӧhler, Director for Southern Neighbourhood Policy at the European Commission's DG NEAR. "When we empower women, they will develop sustainable economic and social solutions for themselves and their families. This is why I am particularly pleased that the EU 'Madad Fund' is supporting women and girls."

The EU “MADAD” programme funding will help to significantly scale up UN Women´s targeted interventions in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey and joins funding from the Government of Japan as an important and timely contribution to address women’s empowerment priorities in the context of the Syrian crisis regional response, and towards the achievement of the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, New York. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4496.

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About the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis:

The EU Regional Trust Fund is one of Europe's key instruments for delivering on its €3 billion pledge at the London conference on supporting Syria and the region. With contributions from 22 EU member states, amounting to over 105 million, and contributions from various EU budget instruments, as well as Turkey, the fund has reached a total volume of € 1.3 billion to date. Projects focusing on education, livelihoods, healthcare, water and waste-water infrastructure have already been approved, covering a total of €1.213 billion. More than € 550 million have been contracted to the Trust Fund's partners on the ground.

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