The Spotlight Initiative: Ending violence against women and girls
With the aim of ending all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, the European Union and the United Nations have been collaborating since 2017 to empower, promote, and protect the rights of women and girls worldwide. The Spotlight Initiative is a EUR 500 million programme that deploys targeted, large-scale investments in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific.
In Africa, the initiative aims to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, including harmful practices, and it will scale up existing initiatives on fighting female genital mutilation and child marriage across the region. In Zimbabwe, for example, a group of young volunteers, known as Innovators Against Gender-Based Violence, developed a WhatsApp group called “Taking a Stand Against GBV” to educate, inform, discuss, and provide referral services to survivors and women experiencing gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Southeast Asia, the initiative is focused on ending trafficking in women and girls and labour exploitation and is known as the Safe and Fair Programme. UN Women is working to respond to the needs of women migrant workers in the region during COVID-19, and is working closely with service providers to take support services online.
In Latin America, the initiative focuses on ending femicide, and in Honduras, UN Women has partnered with OXFAM to work on movement building to reach the most marginalized populations in the country, such as indigenous women, young women and girls, afro-Honduran women, trans women, and women with disabilities.
In the Pacific, the initiative is working on ending domestic violence in the region. In Papua New Guinea, UN Women is supporting safe houses to reopen and remain operational under the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
In the Caribbean, the initiative aims to tackle family violence, and in Trinidad and Tobago, UN Women is supporting civil society organizations during the pandemic to promote prevention actions through online education.
Finally, in Central Asia, the initiative is responding to sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, UN Women is working with community influencers to develop social media ads with important tips on behaviour change. On both Instagram and Facebook, the ads were shared more than three thousand times.