New York- US (PANA) -- A new fund managed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has announced over US$9 million in grants to support initiatives in 26 countries to empower women.
The Pan African News Agency (PANA) reports that the new fund is known as Fund for Gender Equality.
The US$68 million multilateral initiative, currently funded by the governments of Spain and Norway, is designed to promote innovative programs focusing on women's economic and political empowerment at local and national levels.
â?This new fund has tremendous potential to bring about concrete and sustainable changes in women's lives.
Very impressive efforts to advance women's political and economic empowerment are under way in every corner of the world.
Yet this work is critically under-funded ," UNIFEM Executive Director Ines Alberdi, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The UNIFEM chief noted that it is important that the fund supports both governme nts and civil society organizations, and very significantly, partnerships between them as well .
The activities of the 27 initiatives which will benefit from the initial grants range from supporting women in the informal sector in Cameroon, Egypt and the Philippines to increasing greater political participation by women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Dominican Republic, Uganda, Morocco and in the Pacific Islands.
The statement said the initiatives also focused on indigenous women and those in high-risk groups, such as women affected by HIV and AIDS, as well as on assistance to women farmers facing food insecurity and climate change and those who were denied inheritance and property rights.
The new grants fall into the fund's Catalytic Grant category - one of two types of high-impact grants aimed to accelerate efforts of dozens of initiatives on the ground.
The second category of Implementation Grants will be announced in June and will focus on the implementation of already-ratified national laws or policies.