On10 November 2020 Mr. Anders Frankenberg, Head of Development Cooperation of the Swedish Embassy Section Office in Yangon and Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA Representative for Myanmar signed an agreement for a grant of SEK 13 million (US$1.5 million).
This funding is to support UNFPA’ Women and Girls First Programme – Phase II (2020 – 2022) in addition to the existing agreement with the Swedish Section Office of SEK 37 million (US$4.2 million).
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to life-saving SRHR, GBV and MHPSS services needed for women, girls and young people in Myanmar, and acutely so in conflict affected areas. Women and girls are at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence; adolescents and young people encounter limited access to sexual and reproductive health information, as movement is restricted, livelihoods are disrupted and protection systems are weakened. The additional funding from the Government of Sweden allows UNFPA to scale up sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for women, girls, young people including women and girls with disability, LGBTQIA+ and marginalized groups.
Bridging the humanitarian, peacebuilding and development nexus, the Women and Girls First Programme is benefitting targeted population across Kachin, Rakhine, Shan, Mon, Kayin and Kayah States.
Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan said, “the pandemic has curtailed access to health services in Myanmar, especially those related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender-based violence (GBV), with a disproportionate impact on women, adolescent girls and youth. In response, UNFPA Myanmar is focusing efforts on ensuring continuity of essential SRH and GBV services especially in conflict affected areas, and mobilising youth and women’s organisations and their networks to accelerate response. The additional funding from Sweden enables us to continue and scale up these much needed interventions“.
Mr. Anders Frankenberg said “Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) needs of women, girls and young people in conflict affected areas of Myanmar is a clear priority for Sweden, and we have supported the Women and Girls First Programme since its first phase starting 2015. The COVID19 pandemic has significantly increased the challenges in an already dire situation – disrupting critical SRHR services, limiting access and increasing GBV risks. Increased investments are needed to meet the needs, therefore Sweden is increasing support to the Programme, contributing to positive change for conflict-affected women and girls in Myanmar.”
UNFPA, United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, continues to deliver critical and life-saving GBV, MHPSS and SRHR services for the most vulnerable women and girls through 33 Women and Girls Centers and mobile and static clinics in Rakhine, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon and Shan States. The Women and Girls First Programme is funded by Australia, the EU, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden.