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Dear Ms. Muradova,
Dear Mr. Singh,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Violence against women and girls has increased dramatically during the pandemic.
Reports of domestic violence are rising worldwide.
Calls to helplines have increased up to fivefold.
Hidden behind the closed doors of lockdowns, this violence is a shadow pandemic.
We need to break the silence.
We need to take action to address gender-based violence.
UNDP Azerbaijan has joined forces with its long-term partners -- the State Committee for Women, Children and Family Affairs and USAID.
Together, we will help improve access for women to essential services such as health, legal aid and social support.
This is in line with the new National Action Plan for Preventing Domestic Violence, which was just announced last week.
Over the next four years we will be working closely with the network of nine Women’s Resource Centres that we have helped set up throughout Azerbaijan.
Since 2011, these centers have been providing a safe space for over 6,000 women to meet, network, exchange ideas and forge partnerships.
This t new project will help expand this scope of these services.
For example: through the use of mobile clinics, the project will provide psychological support and family counselling for over 1,100 survivors of domestic violence.
We will help expand the provision of training and business advisory services for women entrepreneurs by working together with the private sector to create more opportunities for vocational training and internships.
By empowering women to gain economic independence – we can help reduce their vulnerability to domestic violence.
And we will also work on changing attitudes and behaviors through community-based sessions, advocacy campaigns and education on gender issues for men and boys.
Because - ending violence against women is everyone’s business.
We need to stand up for women and girls – together.
On behalf of UNDP, I would like to thank the State Committee for Women, Children and Family Affairs and the Women Resource Centers for the excellent long-term partnership and cooperation – and thank USAID for their generous support and commitment to this important cause.