Today, in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to reaffirm our commitment as a leader in defending the rights of women and girls around the world to live free from violence.
Violence against women transcends borders and cultures: one in three women experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. Unfortunately, these numbers have risen under the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently in the Republic of Zimbabwe, USAID’s partners have seen an increase of violence against women and girls as lockdowns disrupt livelihoods and access to affordable food and goods becomes harder. During the country’s pandemic restrictions, a 27-year-old woman became vulnerable in her own home(link is external). USAID’s partners connected her with trauma counseling and helped facilitate a relocation to a safe place with her immediate family members, just as they have provided support for thousands of Zimbabweans like her over the past eight months.
USAID long has recognized the importance of addressing the violence that affects women’s ability to thrive and succeed. Under the Trump Administration, USAID has expanded our partnerships with non-governmental organizations, faith-based and women’s groups, private-sector firms, and government institutions to implement effective programs to increase awareness and prevention of the harmful impacts of violence against women.
The U.S. Government has driven ground-breaking policies on the role of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy and assistance. In the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS Strategy), the U.S. Government has laid out important goals and guidance for empowering women and girls. The WPS Strategy promotes the protection of women and girls’ human rights; access to humanitarian assistance; and safety from violence, abuse, and exploitation around the world. In the last two years, USAID has supported over 70,000 women in participating in peace-building processes, and provided critical care, psychosocial support, legal aid, and economic assistance to over six million survivors of gender-based violence. We all have a role to play in ending violence against women; mitigating its harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities; and promoting the rights of all individuals. On this day and every day, USAID stands unified in preserving and protecting the dignity of women and girls worldwide.