The Government of the Republic of Korea has given the United Nations agency on sexual and reproductive health and rights agency – UNFPA – US$ 200,000 (more than MK200 million) to supplement its on-going response in Mulanje and Phalombe, which were among the districts affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
UNFPA is expected to use part of the support to procure winterised dignity kits for distribution to women of reproductive age, including adolescent girls in the two districts. The dignity kits contain hygiene and sanitary items, as well as other items tailored to the needs of women and girls of reproductive age.
The kits will help women and girls maintain their dignity during the current humanitarian crises.
In a statement released on Friday, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, DO Bong-kae, expressed hope that their humanitarian assistance would help residents in affected areas swiftly and bring stability to their daily lives and recover from the damage.
The UNFPA Representative, Ms. Nelida Rodrigues, said the funding has come at the right time as the needs on the ground keeps growing against a background of a shrinking resource base.
“UNFPA is grateful to the Government of the Republic of Korea for coming forward with the support at this critical time,” she said. “With this timely intervention, UNFPA will ensure that adolescent girls and young women in the targeted districts have access to life-saving sexual reproductive health and rights services and commodities, especially dignity kits,” said Rodrigues.
She added that the resources will help mitigate the risks of public health and other protection issues especially gender based violence prevention and response to the affected communities, especially women and girls are currently facing.
“The cyclone displaced thousands of people from their homes to overcrowded temporary shelters,” she said. “In these temporary shelters, women and girls faced increased risks of violence, sexual exploitation and abuse and lack of the very basic items. We are working with local authorities and partners to ensure that we help maintain girls and women’s self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations.”
The UNFPA Country Representative further disclosed that they will use the dignity kits as an entry point to begin working with women and girls, understanding gender based violence risks in the shelters as well as the sexual and reproductive rights they deserve.
“The kits are not only important for managing menstrual health but they also provide a safe entry point for possible disclosures of gender based violence incidents and referrals, delivering sexual and reproductive health information, and psychosocial support for women and girls,” the UNFPA Representative added.
In addition to sanitary supplies and basic hygiene items, UNFPA will also add items such as solar lanterns and winter blankets in the dignity kit package, to help the affected population cope with the approaching winter season.
The financial support from the Republic of Korea will directly benefit 3,800 girls and women with dignity kits and winter blankets for their hygiene, mobility and safety during the acute emergency period. In addition, 760 girls and women who are in the status of the most vulnerable will receive solar torches for their protection and safety.