Maputo — The Austrian government has pledged a million euros (about 1.2 million US dollars) to support the work of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) with the Mozambican government to attend to the urgent needs of women and girls, affected by terrorist violence in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
A joint press release from the UNFPA and the Austrian Embassy says that the UNFPA will work with the Cabo Delgado provincial government and with NGOs “to boost sexual and reproductive health services which save lives, and services against gender-based violence for the most vulnerable women and girls in northern Mozambique, including Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula provinces”.
The project, beginning this month, is scheduled to last for 18 months. It is intended to reach 41,250 vulnerable women and girls, “affected by the economic crisis in the northern provinces”.
“Women are the backbone of our society”, said Hubert Neuwirth, the representative in Mozambique of Austrian Development Cooperation, cited by the release. “But in emergency situations, women and girls are among the most vulnerable. That is why helping them to bring back strength and dignity to society is a powerful contribution to a sustainable, inclusive and peaceful future for all”.
The Austrian funding will support training in sexual and reproductive health. It will allow the acquisition of medical equipment and the distribution of female dignity kits, adapted to Covid-19. Training in vocational and entrepreneurial skills for women and girls in safe spaces will also be co-financed by Austria.
“A sustainable humanitarian response for Cabo Delgado can be achieved if the needs of women and girls are recognised and attended to”, said UNFPA representative Andrea Wojnar, who thanked Austria “for its recognition that gender equality and the empowerment of women are precursors to poverty reduction, economic growth and social development. Through this financing, UNFPA will be better equipped to support the Mozambican government in the positive transformation of the life of women and girls whose rights, health and safety have been threatened by the current crisis”.