24 November 2008A United Nations fund that seeks to end violence against women is awarding more money this year than the sum of all its grants since its inception in 1996, earmarking $19 million to 23 projects in 29 countries. “This is an extremely encouraging trend,” UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Executive Director Inés Alberdi said today. “It is a sign of new momentum created through UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign UNITE to End Violence against Women. In the context of this campaign, the UN Trust Fund is a key mechanism to provide urgently needed funding to initiatives worldwide.” UNIFEM administers the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which last year disbursed $5 million. But despite the steep increase, resources still fall short to meet the vast demand. Overall, grant requests amounting to $525 million were received this year for initiatives in developing countries, including in conflict-affected nations where widespread and systematic sexual violence has become a horrific tactic of warfare. For the first time in the Fund’s history, applicants were invited to submit proposal requests for up to $1 million. UN Country Teams were also invited to apply in partnership with national governments and civil society organizations.Projects approved include: India – a grantee will facilitate implementation of the national 2005 “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act” by developing a model of an effective response system for women survivors of violence that involves multiple state agencies. Ecuador – a project will develop the linkage between economic empowerment and prevention of violence against women in two border rural provinces marked by poverty and discrimination, and highly affected by the armed conflict in Colombia. Serbia – a model for cooperation between the police and social welfare centres at provincial level will ensure systematic and standardized data collection and analysis on reported cases of violence against women, as well as coordinated services for survivors of violence. China – the UN Country Team intends to raise political commitment among policy makers to adopt a national policy and legislation on domestic violence by working in close partnership with the “All China Women’s Federation” and various ministries. Other grants target 10 groups in 13 countries focusing on catalytic, innovative and learning initiatives to address violence against women. In Morocco, for example, a country where women are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violence upon becoming pregnant outside of wedlock, support for professional development and legal literacy will be provided for single mothers. A cross-regional initiative will document and evaluate four projects to promote positive changes in men’s attitudes and behaviours regarding gender roles and norms in Brazil, Chile, India and Rwanda, contributing to the knowledge base on effective strategies to engage men in ending violence against women.