Spotlight Initiative Fights Violence Against Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, 650,000 women and girls received gender-based violence services through a joint UN-EU program aimed at eradicating what is perhaps one of the most widespread human rights violations. 

This is only one of the accomplishments included in the Spotlight Initiative’s 2020-21 impact report, which was released on Friday in New York. 

Rising to the Challenge describes how the partners quickly altered programs to combat the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls during the global crisis. 

The Spotlight Initiative is the world’s most targeted endeavor to stop violence against women and girls in all forms. 

It aided civil society organizations in quickly adapting to the changing environment and strengthening online services such as telecounselling and hotlines, in addition to scaling up services during the pandemic. 

With $146 million committed to date, funds were also transferred to support more local and grassroots organizations. 

A total of 880,000 men and boys were also taught about positive masculinity, respectful family connections, nonviolent dispute resolution, and parenting. 

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), gave an update on some of the initiatives taking place around the world. 

Violence against women and girls, which happens in all countries, is frequently exacerbated by other humanitarian crises and has only gotten worse since the outbreak. 

Although robust tactics and legal frameworks can not guarantee the cessation of gender-based violence, they are “essential to making a dent in this global scourge. 

To build on the initiative’s successes thus far, the EU and UN have decided to create the Spotlight Global Platform, which includes a knowledge center, community of practice, and “advocacy instrument” based on the initiative’s practical experience. 

Despite the horrific effects of violence against women and girls around the world, Olaf Skoog, Ambassador of the EU Delegation, stated the collaboration has delivered great outcomes.