Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK invests in global grassroot efforts to tackle gender-based violence [November 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 28 November 2023.

The UK marks 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence, renewing efforts to work with partners to prevent violence and empower women and girls worldwide.

  • UK marks the annual 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence with renewed efforts to work with partners to prevent violence and empower women and girls around the world
  • Development Minister Andrew Mitchell announces new support that will help women’s rights organisations in more than 70 countries
  • Lord Ahmad visits Colombia to meet survivors and see UK-funded support programmes a year on since the UK’s landmark Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) conference

The UK is investing in grassroots women’s rights organisations on the frontline of tackling violence against women and girls around the world, it is announced today.

Development Minister Andrew Mitchell is announcing the new support at an event in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on Tuesday 28 November, as Lord Ahmad visits Colombia to meet survivors and see the UK’s work in action.

To mark the 16 Days of Activism, the UK is announcing a new package of support including:

  • up to £18 million in new support for grassroots women’s rights organisations across 70 countries to tackle gender-based violence in communities, focusing on the most marginalised as part of the UK’s biggest ever funding boost to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Funding will improve access to services including legal aid, shelters, and health care for survivors, support more effective legislation, and help to shift harmful attitudes and behaviours to prevent violence before it starts
  • the first round of successful grantees under the What Works to Prevent Violence: Impact at Scale programme which will initially support 8 women’s rights organisations in Malawi, India, Pakistan, Somalia, Eswatini, Uganda and Madagascar to implement innovative, locally-led approaches to drive down rates of violence in homes, schools, universities and workplaces
  • a new £15 million UK-funded programme in Somalia to reach more than 117,000 people with help to advance the rights of women and girls in humanitarian crisis through mental health support, training for health workers to recognise signs of violence and the establishment of centres to bring together medical, legal and psychosocial services

At the halfway point of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, no country is on track to eliminate violence against women and girls by 2030. Despite the scale of the problem, UK-funded evidence shows that violence is preventable and can be reduced by 50% by focusing on the most effective approaches.

International Development Minister, Andrew Mitchell said:

Our support to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women helped reach over 400,000 women and girls in 2022, but there is more to be done.

We are stepping up our support for grassroots organisations in more than 70 countries around the world and new funding will go towards tackling gender-based violence to help empower women and girls everywhere.

These announcements come as Lord Ahmad, Special Representative for PSVI, visits Colombia, accompanied by HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh.

The minister will see how UK-funded programmes are supporting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) including with legal representation and psychological support, and formally hand over the chair of the International Alliance on PSVI – a growing network of 25 members established by the UK, including governments, the UN, survivors and civil society – to Colombia for 2024.

The Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Minister of State (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Commonwealth and United Nations) Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

I am proud of the progress we have made over the past year in further tackling conflict-related sexual violence.

The UK and Colombia are united in our desire to achieve further justice and redress for victims of the appalling sexual violence that took place during the Colombian conflict – and for survivors around the world.

I am in Colombia this week to listen and learn from survivors’ stories and witness the inspiring efforts of the organisations who support them. Their voices and bravery to step forward continue to inspire global action.

In the year since the UK hosted the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) conference where more than 50 countries signed a declaration agreed to urgent action, the UK has lead efforts to champion survivors and hold perpetrators to account including through sanctions. As well as work in Colombia, this includes strengthening national accountability in Ethiopia, Guinea, Ukraine, and South Sudan through the UN.

Abigail Erikson, Chief of the UN Trust Fund said:

The UN Trust Fund is extremely grateful to the Government of the United Kingdom for this contribution and the impact it will have on women and girl survivors and those at risk of violence, whose lives count on the critical and lifesaving work of civil society and women’s rights organisations.