(Koror, Palau) – As we celebrate the 25th year anniversary of the Mechesil Belau (Women of Palau) Conference with the Republic of Palau, the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) together with UN Women is proud to mark the launch of an emergency preparedness, response and recovery project in the country aimed at empowering women.
The ‘Women’s Empowerment through Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Response and Recovery’ project, funded by WPHF aims to partner with eight locally based organisations to train 200 community women in disaster preparedness, response and recovery, to be first responders and community leaders in humanitarian response.
The project will be implemented through Palau Red Cross Society and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment Belau (C-WEB) and will work with local women’s organisations to organize trainings across eight of the most vulnerable of Palau’s 16 states.
“We are excited to be partnering with Palau Red Cross and C-WEB in the implementation of this critical initiative in Palau that target’s women’s empowerment in the disaster management space, a timely and topical intervention in the face of a changing climate,”
said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Representative, Nicolas Burniat.
Communities in the Pacific tend to be the most vulnerable to disasters and have a higher degree of vulnerability to climate change than other regions given the isolated nature of the islands and our geography. Being situated in the Northern Pacific adds to Palau’s vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters.
“Women and girls tend to be additionally disadvantaged during disasters and the aim of this project will be to reduce some of those inherent inequalities by investing in gendered capacity building to enable women to prepare, respond, and lead early recovery in times of disasters,” said Mr. Burniat.
Palau Red Cross Society is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization, established in 1997 and the Centre for Women’s Empowerment Belau is a national based organisation in Palau started in 2014 to promote gender equality. They are two of the eight Pacific organisations that UN Women is supporting through critical funding made possible by WPHF, which is contributing close to USD$300,000 towards the project. WPHF is a rapid financing mechanism supporting quality interventions to enhance the capacity of local women to prevent conflict, respond to crises, and seize key peacebuilding opportunities.
“WPHF is thrilled to see the rapid financing that we mobilize from around the world directly support the women of Palau, strengthening their agency to be key players in the humanitarian response of their communities. The objectives of the proposed project resonate deeply with the vision of our fund, and we are confident this investment will produce dividends for women’s enhanced capacity to engage and lead in essential recovery efforts in the northern Pacific,”
said WPHF Head of Secretariat, Ghita El-Khyari.
“The Palau Red Cross Society is grateful for the support from UN Women and WPHF to enable this important project. All partners and stakeholders are deeply committed to the overall goal of empowering local Palauan women at the grassroots level to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from any form of disasters. We strongly believe and are confident that this timely project will further advance local capacities throughout the disaster management continuum,” said Palau Red Cross Society Executive Director J. Maireng Sengebau.
The project activities are expected to begin in September this year and end in February of year 2020.
The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) is the only global financing mechanism dedicated exclusively to supporting the participation of women and their organizations in peacebuilding and humanitarian action. WPHF is an innovative partnership between the United Nations, member states, and civil society. Generous support for WPHF comes from the governments of Australia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, and Lithuania.