Millions remain at risk as funding to stop violence against women fails to match need
Funding to stop gender-based violence is set to drop in some countries and fall far short of what is needed in many others this year, according to new analysis, despite global recognition of the issue as a “shadow pandemic”.
According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), “old patterns” are being repeated, as awareness of the increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV) during the Covid-19 crisis has not translated into funding.
The organisation said that funding available to help tackle the problem was unlikely to grow proportionally alongside the increased need, or in line with other Covid-19 funding rises.
Its analysis, released on International Women’s Day, is based on the funding requests to the international community in publicly available humanitarian response plans produced by 10 countries for 2021 so far. The countries include Myanmar, the Central African Republic, Iraq and Ukraine.
On average, IRC found that overall humanitarian funding requests in conflict and crisis-affected countries increased by more than 19 per cent, yet GBV specific-funding requests increased by only 0.9 per cent. In three countries – Somalia, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo – requests for GBV-specific funding actually fell.
Nicole Behnam, senior director for violence, prevention and response at the IRC, said: “While Covid-19 has brought increased rhetoric around the different ways women and girls experience a crisis, old patterns are still being repeated.
“Not only is GBV not adequately accounted for, but in some instances, we are seeing already limited resources being diverted to other areas, all in the name of Covid-19.”
The IRC analysis estimated that the average funding request made by the various countries studied is only three per cent of the total needed, and represents just $11 (£8) per person in need of support.
IRC estimates that 15 million people, mainly women, will be left out of necessary services across the 10 countries. Many millions more are also at risk, because the problem continues to go under the radar, said Ms Behnam.