Date: 18 January 2010
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has issued a call for close to US$2 million to provide urgently needed services for the protection of women and their families. In particular, UNIFEM seeks to rebuild women’s shelters and expand the provision of emergency services for women. [Note: UNIFEM’s request for funds has increased to more than US$7 million as of 1 February 2010.]
The call for funding is made through the system-wide flash appeal for US$562 million that was issued by the United Nations on 15 January 2010. In order to meet the urgent need for the protection of women and their communities, UNIFEM is also calling upon its National Committees and supporters worldwide to strengthen these fund-raising efforts and boost UNIFEM programming in Haiti.
As part of the overall UN effort in the country, the UNIFEM team in Haiti will work alongside NGO partners to strengthen services to victims of gender-based violence and their families in women’s centres and temporary shelters in Port au Prince and Jacmel. The money raised will go towards a range of efforts from emergency community-based violence prevention programmes to repairing damage of existing centres and providing humanitarian aid like emergency supplies, staff and counselling services in communities most affected. UNIFEM will also focus on coordination efforts to ensure that emergency and early recovery assessment and assistance incorporate a gender perspective to adequately address the differentiated needs of women, men and children.
UNIFEM’s work on the ground shows that too often natural disasters result in greater household and institutional instability and to increasing women’s vulnerability to violence, abuse and sexual exploitation. "This terrible humanitarian disaster is likely to impact girls, boys, women and men in different ways," UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi said. "UNIFEM is committed along with its partners and the UN system to working to ensure that attention is given to addressing these differential impacts and in particular for ensuring the personal security of women and girls."