UN Women and the Government of Japan gearing up to empower women affected by COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2020

With the contribution of USD 909,091 from the Government of Japan, UN Women in Europe and Central Asia will protect and empower women and girls in marginalized and vulnerable communities in Kyrgyzstan and Moldova by responding to their urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Gender perspectives are required to respond to the specific needs of women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis. Through the generous contribution of Japan, UN Women will leverage our far-reaching partnerships at the grassroots level and extensive experience in gender-responsive programming, intrinsically linked to the normative and coordination parts of our mandate, to offer targeted support to women to improve their livelihood and strengthen their resilience to future shocks," said Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

In Kyrgyzstan, the one-year project is aimed at improving women's access to livelihood opportunities, enhancing skills development and promoting gender-responsive policies for rural women affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It will also support women in vulnerable contexts, including migrants and displaced women impacted by the crisis, to restore their economic activities, strengthen security, rule of law and social cohesion.

In Moldova, UN Women will contribute to ensuring the direct access for the most vulnerable women to livelihood support and essential services, including for returned migrant women, rural women and survivors of gender-based violence. The project will enhance collaboration with civil society organizations and women activists in influencing decision making on COVID-19 response and provide online trainings and mentoring programs on business knowledge and financial literacy for women and girls.

A total of 845 people will directly benefit from the project, including 500 women from poor and vulnerable households in the Naryn, Osh and Jalal-Abad regions of Kyrgyzstan and 345 women in Moldova, including rural women, young women, minority women, female single mothers, women with disabilities and women living with HIV as well as survivors of gender-based violence placed in shelters with limited access to essential services, including healthcare.

The project will be complemented by the regional policy advocacy component, through which gender analysis on the impact of COVID-19 and best practices and innovative approaches will be documented and widely shared with policymakers, service delivery institutions and civil society to influence response and recovery measures. By undertaking national and regional dialogues with government and stakeholders, UN Women will address existing gender inequalities which exacerbated amid the health emergency.

Women are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, as more women work in low-paying, insecure and informal jobs, while carrying the bulk of unpaid care work burden at home. As a result of the lockdown measures taken by many countries in Europe and Central Asia, more domestic violence helplines and shelters are reporting rising calls for help. Confinement is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health, and economic worries.

In response to COVID-19, the Government of Japan is providing emergency support to UN Women in the Europe and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Eastern and Southern Africa regions. Moldova and Kyrgyzstan are receiving support in the Europe and Central Asia region.