UN-Women highlighted the importance of preventing SH during COVID-19 in multiple settings, including on health, care and domestic work as well as on public spaces and cyber harassment, through webinars with a total of 1820 participants from within and outside of the UN system.
#HeForShe at home campaign
To creatively address concerns about rising violence at home during COVID-19, and the increased burden of unpaid care work, UN Women in Asia and the Pacific joined forces with a community of influencers, activists and celebrities in Thailand to involve the public in the #HeForSheAtHome campaign. The campaign was designed to ease tensions at home using humor, and advocated for shared caring responsibilities to prevent family violence. The campaign reached approximately 46 million viewers and engaged more than 140 content producers across various social media platforms, with the core message that men can be more involved in caring roles at home.
Political Engagement Strategy in Asia and the Pacific
UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has been instrumental in implementing the Secretary General's Political Engagement Strategy on Gender Based Violence (GBV), helping to highlight EVAW as a significant political issue on government agendas in the region. Along with country offices in Asia and the Pacific, the Regional Office supported states in the region include EVAW within their essential services. With leadership from the UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) and support from other UN agencies, ROAP has supported efforts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and other countries in the region to adopt short- and long-term action areas identified within the Political Engagement Strategy.
Safety planning for violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Safety Plan was developed under the COVID-19 pandemic context when the ‘isolation measures’ could put women at further risk of violence. The Safety Plan provides a way to think about how to stay safe at home, in community and in workplace regardless of the migratory status of women. This is designed in a way to help women, especially women migrant workers, prepare for dangers if they are in an abusive situation of fear of violence or harassment. The Safety Plan is available in 9 languages.
Action Brief: A Guide for Action to Stem Increasing Violence Against Women amid the COVID-19 Pandemic in Asia and the Pacific
This is a guide for governments, aid agencies, service providers, businesses and other groups on what to do to protect women from violence during the pandemic and its associated array of lockdowns, movement restrictions, services closures, and other disease control measures.
In response to COVID-19, UN Women Albania:
- Supported the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in the adoption of Protocol “On the operation of public and non-public residential centres, providing shelter services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic”, followed by a video broadcast on public TV and on social media to encourage reporting VAWG during the lockdown period, which reached 400,000 views.
- Supported the Sub-Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality to identify interventions in the area of gender equality during COVID-19 pandemic and maintained ongoing communications with local and national institutions for managing the situation of violence against women and other groups, who were at higher risk of facing domestic violence due to the lockdown.
- Supported women’s rights CSOs to conduct monitoring of referral mechanisms in 11 municipalities, including a special reporting during COVID-19 health crisis.
- Trained 37 public and non-public service providers on provision of sheltering services during COVID-19 based on the approved protocol.
- Conducted 2 Rapid Gender Assessments to (i) measure the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on women and men, including in the area of GBV; (ii) assess challenges and gaps of 6 women’s CSOs in offering services to survivors during COVID-19, resulting in adaptation of support to CSOs based on the situation.
- Supported 12 CSOs with 1,100 protective equipment units to continue service provision including accommodation in shelters during COVID-19
- Supported CSO service providers to offer direct services to approximately 400 women survivors of VAWG.
In response to the COVID 19, UN Women Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) provided immediate support to 8 Safe Houses in BiH covering their running costs, basic needs of survivors and children placed in the safe houses, and basic personal protection equipment. As a result, immediate support in the first months of the COVID 19 outbreak was provided to survivors of different forms of violence through more than 1500 SOS calls and 1300 persons through phone and online counselling. Comprehensive specialized support services within Safe Houses were provided to 176 women and children. In the months after initial response UN Women BiH has provided more structural support for improved accessibility and availability of specialized services to survivors of violence in all 8 Safe Houses in BiH. Safe Houses were able to provide additional 950 SOS calls, admit 380 women and children and provide 155 different services survivors of domestic.
Ukraine: Aimed at preventing gender-based violence against women and girls 1,200 brochures for perpetrators of domestic violence comprising information on criminalization of domestic violence, as well as educational information on increased domestic work imposed on women, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdowns, promoting respectful relationships between intimate partners and household members were disseminated to men from 13 target communities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
53 staff (22 women, 31 men) of the National Police of Ukraine Departments in eastern oblasts of Ukraine, increased their knowledge on gender mainstreaming as a tool for effective integration of gender equality priorities into their work and on prevention and respond to GBV during COVID-19 pandemic.
In the response to the COVID-19, UN Women Moldova CO has conducted a rapid assessment of women’s needs, affected by gender-based violence and of the systemic response to cases of violence in the context of the Covid-19 crisis through a national NGO. Based on the needs highlighted by partner organizations, UN Women Moldova has provided essential online services through several national NGOs, to around 353 women and girls affected by violence, women's survivors of violence, 156 women migrants (including those affected by violence, or in substantial risk) for a 4-month period. In addition to this, essential products have been provided to 250 women survivors of violence beneficiaries of 15 institutions (shelters, organizations, etc.) and to 3,279 social assistants and social workers, from 36 Territorial structures of social assistance across the country, including the Transnistrian region. They have been assisted during emergency lockdown conditions and equipped with necessary items (food and hygiene products) and personal protection equipment (PPE) during COVID-19 outbreak.
In the context of Joint UN Programme „Strengthening the Republic of Moldova’s National Response to the COVID-19 Crisis”, funded by UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN COVID-19 MPTF), under UN Women CO component, 295 women survivors of violence, 41 indirect beneficiaries’ members of their families and 500 members of multidisciplinary teams in different regions of the country have been provided with essential products.
As part of COVID-19 Response and Recovery Window of the Moldova 2030 SDGs Partnership Fund (SDGPF) in 2021, over 3,000 women in vulnerable situations or part of vulnerable groups (unemployed due to COVID-19 pandemic, living with HIV, from vulnerable families, with disabilities, with more than 4 children, older people within extreme poverty, etc) from both banks of the Nistru river have been supported with essential products (food, hygienic products, PPEs).
PPE items were offered to multidisciplinary teams from Cahul and Ungheni districts to maintain their work/interventions to respond to violence against women and children in times of crisis. Around 1,200 social workers from 70 localities were enabled to provide continuous social assistance to the local population. More than 3,400 vulnerable women and children from Cahul and Ungheni were better able to maintain their well-being and increase their personal protection from COVID-19 by receiving direct support (food, hygiene packages, and PPE items).
Supported by UN Women Kosovo, around 550 women/DV survivors in the shelters were provided with supplies such as food and hygienic kits, bed linen and clothes to shelters. Technical equipment to shelters around Kosovo was also delivered ensuring that the attendance of online learning classes by children in the shelters is not disrupted. Women sheltered in quarantine facility were also provided hygiene packages, clothes, PPE prior to admission. UN Women directly contributed to these results through procuring and delivering these items jointly with UNFPA. Women business owners will be able to benefit from a 2 million Euro worth of grants for allocated by the government as part of its economic recovery package. UN Women contributed to these results by collecting operative data and evidence on the gendered impact of the pandemic in the Rapid Gender Assessment of the Situation and Needs of Women in the Context of COVID-19(RGA), conducted in March-April 2020 and Rapid assessment of the socio-economic impact of the crisis on Kosovan households conducted in April-June 2020. Needs of survivors from non-majority communities were addressed through support to the shelter in North Mitrovica in receiving essential services in North Mitrovica. All DV shelters in Kosovo received working tools including beehives, tailoring and hairdressing tools, baking ovens for the large-scale production of bread and other food items as well as technical equipment. The main aim of this undertaking was to enable income generation for the shelters, in order to foster their economic empowerment and independence in a sustainable fashion. At the same time, provision of these tools offers the opportunity for capacity building for survivors residing in these shelters, who by utilizing these tools gain the ability to use those skills for possible employment opportunities or business start-ups once they leave the shelter. With the average annual turn-over of women in shelters being approximately 600, it can be estimated that up to 600 women will directly and sustainably benefit from the provided equipment Kosovo public at large was informed about:
- The pandemic and key prevention measures;
- The impact of the pandemic on women and women economies;
- DV and GBV through the 16 days of activism campaign; and
- Promotion of Kosovo Police app which can be used to report cases of DV and GBV as well as other incidents and crimes (and which now allows the easy reporting of domestic violence through an updated direct button).
The total reach of the cumulative campaigns was over 300 000 people through UN Women Kosovo social media alone. UN Women contribution to all these results was provided through technical and advocacy support.
In Tajikistan, Under UN Women technical guidance, the UNCT members jointly with the Governmental structures (health/ women empowerment/ social protection/ emergency) created joint plans, including on awareness raising and prevention. The final SPT COVID-19 Action Plan’s measures and activities were presented and well aligned with the Government’s position and the COVID-19 request issued by state authorities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RT, CoWFA, MoH, CoES, CYA). The activities were incorporated, along with monitoring indicators ad targets, in the Integrated Socio-Economic Response Framework. The plan also covered awareness raising elements: Dissemination of information about COVID-19, VAWG, VAC, supporting awareness raising campaigns on TV, social media networks, radio broadcasting on COVID-19 and including on the impact on women and girls, general and user-friendly information (videos, leaflets) developed for dissemination among the population. Within the Spotlight Initiative UN Women developed gender-sensitive recommendations for preparedness to and during quarantine period. Recommendations included specific measures to address GBV, protect women health workers, etc. Recommendation were handed over to MFA and other GoT bodies. In this process, the Spotlight Initiative team participated in several meetings with Government officials and various coordination platforms to advocate for the rights of women and girls in the context of COVID-19.
Rapid Gender Assessment
The report on “What Rapid Gender Assessment data says about the impact of COVID-19 on women’s and men’s lives and livelihood in Tajikistan” was prepared and published in three languages by UN Women in cooperation with Z-Analytics. The overall objective of the assessment was to assess COVID-19 impact on women, girls, men, and boys, and to compare gender issues and social norms during the outbreak period. Furthermore, the assessment aimed to increase preparedness and response efforts to the emergency created by COVID-19 and to provide a gendered insight on how the situation has affected women and men differently. The RGA assessment captured 1,500 respondents in total, both women and men above the age of 18 years. The assessment covered all regions of Tajikistan with total population 9,126.6 people. RGA data shows that, overall, 61 percent respondents received information through traditional media sources, such as television, radio, and newspapers. Furthermore, RGA data disaggregated by target regions demonstrate that in Dushanbe, a considerable number of respondents also received information through internet and social media (22 per cent) and from public announcements (3 percent). In GBAO, 19 percent of respondents received information from health workers which is high by 5–7 percentage points then DRS, Sogd and Khatlon and 11 percentage points higher than Dushanbe. Compared to other regions, more users in DRS, Sogd and Khatlon found mobile phones to be an efficient tool in getting information on COVID-19. In Sogd – where people were dependent on traditional media sources was still utilized by a considerable number of people compared to Dushanbe and DRS. Finally, in Khatlon, most respondents (62 per cent) received information on COVID-19 through traditional media sources, followed equally by internet and social media and health centers and family doctors. As indicated by RGA data in this report, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected both women and men from urban and rural areas and among all age groups. Based on RGA results, several conclusions are drawn that summarize the results of the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on these conclusions, several recommendations for various stakeholders, including national authorities and international organizations, as well as the local civil society organizations (CSO) are forwarded.
UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNDP jointly with the Committee on women and family affairs and the EU delegation developed positive transformative messages to the population: The messages in informational videos on promoting positive masculinity and challenging traditional norms among young people, men and women, which were part of the programmatic activities, were adopted to be more focused on men's involvement with care work at home in order to reduce the domestic burden on women, taking into account the increase in self-isolation during COVID-19 and its negative impact of GBV. The COVID-19 response video was also produced by UN Women in cooperation with CoWFA and spread among partners and Gender Thematic Group for further dissemination. The UN Women video on the social media page of the Gender Thematic Group (Facebook) had been viewed more than 18,000.
UN Women in consultation with STP RUNOS and Committee of Women and Family Affairs developed the content for the leaflet on COVID19 impact on women and girls. Family resilience during the pandemic (81,400 copies), which has been disseminated among 596,000 people to promote harmonious and non-violent environment in the families. In addition, UN Women produced COVID-19 related leaflets (COVID-19 and women's vulnerability). These leaflets were aimed to women from vulnerable groups and contained information on help centers and hotlines as well as statistics. Teenage volunteers shared brochures and DVDs (developed by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Human Services) on COVID-19 prevention in their communities.
According to the report from the Red Crescent Society, a 5-month COVID-19 and EVAWG outreach campaign challenged gender stereotypes and the notion of equality and fair distribution of the housework during the pandemic through the leaflet on Impact of COVID19 on Women and Girls. How to sustain family Resilience During the Pandemic. A progress has been made in the framework of SPT COVID-19 Response Plan and 5-month outreach campaign, which increased awareness of 596,000 in 6 SPT target districts (Isfara, B. Gafurov, Rudaki, Vose, Hissar and Yovon) on COVID-19 safety measures, prevention on violence against women and girls, available VAWG service for SGBV survivors and promoting gender equality relations. Project staff of the Red Crescent Society held several meetings with the local authorities in 6 target districts to inform about the project initiatives and obtain their support in organizing outreach campaigns to remote communities and disseminated the information materials via 120 community volunteers.
UNICEF, UNDP and UN Women jointly with Youth Committee invested in awareness among youth and children, parenting and prevention of violence against a girl-child through the Peer Education Center of the Committee. WHO and UNCT cooperated with the state ministries on development and publishing the infographics and information for the population in multi-media (WHO website). 130,000 young people benefitted from online gender-sensitive awareness-raising and community mobilisation activities led by the newly established Communication Centre at the Committee on Youth and Sport Affairs. The Communication Centre engaged young volunteers in prevention and awareness-raising activities as part of its COVID-19 response measure. UN Women provided logistical support and several informational and educational materials for dissemination. Other partners included UNDP and UNICEF, who equipped the Center with furniture and other items.
Rendering psychological and legal consultations from PSS hub and national hotline was done through the investment on ensuring a 24/7 support, so that women and girls across Tajikistan, both those at risk and those experiencing violence, could have wider access to this service. UN Women provided the hotline with the relevant information on location and availability of services.
COVID 19 and Women living with HIV
People with HIV were also central in planning the activities. 241,058 people reached by non-stigma and discrimination messages towards women living with HIV through a social media campaign designed with the support of 12 women living with HIV.
According to the monitoring report from the official campaign website, accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Odnoklassniki the campaign created a great interest from general population. Messages of the campaign urge peoples to commit to helping create and sustain communities that promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people with HIV and generated over 100840 people in Instagram, 111789 people on Facebook and 28429 people on Odnoklassniki.
Women living with HIV got aware on consequences of COVID-19 impact on women living with HIV and supported by UN Women by distributing 7000 items of the leaflets on “What people living with HIV should know about COVID-19” that provided information to women on how to protect themselves, and how to respond to stigma and discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. 300 women living with HIV from Dushanbe, Sughd and Districts under Central Government Jurisdiction were equipped with key protective gear and sanitizers.
The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, Development partners, Donors, International organizations, UN Agencies, and civil society organizations have been better informed and make evidence-based decisions to address the needs of women living with HIV on COVID-19 context.
According to the multi-stakeholder group consist of active NGOs working in the field of HIV and AIDS, representatives of National Aids Center, representatives of the development agencies, international organizations, HIV networks, including women leaders, gender experts and Tajikistan Network of women living with HIV members, developed recommendations which have been incorporated in National Response plan and addressed immediate needs of WLWH.
UN Women made a significant contribution through identifying the key actors, members of the group and coordination of the multi stakeholder group further activities. UN Women contributed to this through hiring a National Consultant to serve as Senior peer counsellor and monitor and advise other peer counsellors. The consultant engaged with the government and other key stakeholders and monitored the progress of COVID-19 prevention and response actions, especially for women living with HIV. This virtual network of peer counsellors, consisted of 10 members, eight of them have been trained in psychosocial support and peer-counselling in individual and group consultations.
A new Viber group of peer counselors has been created that enables members to pose questions and receive immediate support from others. According to the final report of the local consultant, over 486 consultations on various issues in the context of COVID-19 and DV have been provided by the peer counsellors to WLWH from different regions. Voice notes and videos are regularly shared on sanitation techniques, social distancing, health care facilities contact details such as doctors, hotlines, and more.
This group of peer counsellors revealed that the number of cases of domestic violence has significantly increased among women living with HIV in Tajikistan during the pandemic. Women received online information on HIV treatment or how to access VAW services and support centers they received a comprehensive advice and guidance on services, made available by SPT in Tajikistan.
Due to the significant increase in the number of cases of domestic violence among women living with HIV, as revealed by the group of peer counselors, a mobile application has been developed for people living with HIV to simplify medical information and treatment, to address the urgent needs and connect women to VAW services.
According to the feedback of women engaged in the testing, the application allows people living with HIV to access timely and necessary medical services. The interactive map shows location of medical centers and nongovernmental organizations supporting people living with HIV.
UN Women provided technical guidance and IT support through the local company. The application design is based on the experiences of its developers and HIV activists. For people living with HIV, the app will act as a personal electronic patient card. It will allow the users to stay in touch with doctors online, setting up reminders about when to take medication and schedule appointments. A help button contains links to hotlines on HIV treatment and prevention and psychological and legal support for women.