Baku, 25 November 2020: On the occasion of this year’s International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are launching a new project to help tackle violence against women. This four-year 1.8 USD million project funded by USAID will also support women’s economic empowerment.
“Despite the difficult socio-political and military situation in the country and the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, our efforts to combat gender-based violence continue. Over the past months, we have taken a number of measures to help advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is important to put more focus on prevention, but also on providing more flexible support to victims of violence, protection, shelters and other resources,” says Bahar Muradova, the Chairperson of Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs.
“When we talk about gender-based violence we often focus on the survivors – predominantly women and girls – rather than asking ourselves the more difficult and personal questions of who are the perpetrators – most commonly men – and why we too often ignore their violence against women and girls. As we launch this new ‘Stand up for Women and Girls’ project, I am challenging myself and others to reflect on the role we play in stopping gender-based and domestic violence before it happens,” says Dr. Jaidev Singh, Mission Director of USAID/Azerbaijan.
“This new project comes at the right time. It will help improve access for women to essential services such as health, legal aid and social support and further contribute to advancing women’s economic empowerment in the country. In times of COVID-19, women disproportionately bear the greater burden of caring for and teaching children who cannot attend school and looking after elderly family members. Women are also at higher risk of domestic violence now more than ever due to greater economic stress on households combined with increased social isolation,” says UNDP Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti.
Working closely with the Women’s Resource Centers in Azerbaijan, the “Stand Up for Women and Girls” project will help create safe spaces for women and girls, offering psychological support and family counseling. Through the use of mobile clinics, these services will help support more than 1,100 survivors of domestic violence.
The project will further boost the capacity of the Women Resource Centers to advance women’s economic empowerment by providing training and business advisory services for women entrepreneurs and by working with the private sector to create more opportunities for vocational training and internships for women.
To help local and national authorities make better-informed and evidence-based decisions and policies on domestic violence, the project will conduct new studies to obtain more accurate data on this issue in Azerbaijan.
“Stand Up for Women and Girls” will also support innovation by tapping into the latest technology to help develop apps and platforms to ensure safer public spaces for women.
The project will work on changing attitudes and behavior by providing education to prevent violence against women through community-based sessions and advocacy campaigns.
It is time to stand up for women and girls everywhere, today and every day.