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Yangon, Myanmar — Ms. Riikka Laatu, Finnish Ambassador to Myanmar and Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA Representative for Myanmar concluded an agreement for a grant of 4million Euro to support the Women and Girls First Programme Phase II (2020 –2022).

The Finnish contribution will support the implementation of Women and Girls First Programme Phase II in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender-based violence (GBV) and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) across the humanitarian, peacebuilding and development nexus.  The programme covers Kachin, Rakhine, Shan, Mon, Kayin, Kayah and Chin States.

The WGF Programme targets women, girls, young people in conflict-affected areas, including people with special needs e.g. elderly women, women and girls with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ persons and marginalized communities.

In Myanmar, women, girls and young people in conflicted-affected states face many challenges to utilize SRHR, GBV or MHPSS services which have been further amplified by the COVID-19 situation. According to MyanmarDemographic Health Survey 2015-2016, over 20 per cent of ever-married women in Myanmarexperience a form of spousal violence. Depressive and anxiety disorders are reported to be among the top 10 health problems that cause most disability in Myanmar.

The contribution will enable UNFPA to provide technical assistance to national and sub-national authorities to develop, implement and monitor policies; build capacity and expand the delivery of integrated SRHR , GBV and MHPSS services, while encouraging health/care-seeking behaviour through awareness and education; engage community members in behaviour change strategies and facilitate opportunities for inclusion, equal representation, trust-building and positive change.

UNFPA, United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, supports the Government of Myanmar to ensure every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. Building upon the successes and lessons learned of Phase I (2015-2019) UNFPA’s Women and Girls First Programme Phase II seeks to further enhance gender equality and women's empowerment, which can only be achieved through addressing the holistic needs of women and girls, including providing access to quality SRHR and MHPSS services, as well as ending violence against women and girls.

During 2016-2019, Finland provided 3,650,000 Euro for Women and Girls First Programme Phase I. The WGF Programme is supported by Australia, the EU, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden.