Mozambique: Norway Donates U.S.$3.1 Million to Protect Women and Children

The government of Norway has donated US$3.1 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to safeguard the health and protection needs of conflict-affected women and girls in northern Mozambique.

The 30 million Norwegian krona donation will support UNFPA's efforts to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services.

According to a UNFPA press release, the project will last until the end of 2024 and "bridges immediate service delivery with resilience-building efforts to reduce unmet needs, lessen long-term risks and improve development outcomes".

It will support over 400,000 people, with a focus on women of reproductive age, adolescents, youth, and persons with disabilities, from host and displaced communities across Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Niassa provinces.

According to Norway's ambassador to Mozambique, Haakon Gram-Johannessen, "sexual and reproductive health and rights are a priority in Norwegian development cooperation, and we are therefore pleased to support UNFPA's important efforts".

He added that "a person's right to a healthy body and the autonomy, education and healthcare to freely decide who to have sex with and how to avoid sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy are essential for human development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals".

The project is designed to contribute to the Mozambican government's recovery and resilience strategies for the northern region. It will use data to "identify gaps in service quality, delivery, and accessibility and inform evidence-based decision and policy making that puts vulnerable women, girls, and youth at the forefront of implementation".

Islamist terrorism has since 2017 forced around 800,000 people to flee from their homes and livelihoods in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Although the Mozambican defence and security forces, supported by the Rwandan military contingent and soldiers from SAMIM (SADC Military Mission in Mozambique), have had some success in dislodging the terrorists, many people are still waiting for more stability before returning home.

According to UNFPA Mozambique's Resident Representative, Berangere Boell, "one in four people displaced by the conflict are women of reproductive age. Their needs cannot be ignored, and as the conflict continues, their vulnerability and exposure to gender-based violence and health-related complications increase dramatically".

UNFPA points out that the conflict has caused health facilities in eight districts to close, which has affected over half a million people, which includes "displaced women who face a greater risk of complications during childbirth without access to obstetric care, as well as female survivors of violence who may experience greater vulnerabilities without immediate access to protection services or post-rape care".

Globally, Norway is among UNFPA's top five donors, ranking second in contributions to UNFPA's core financing in 2021. In Mozambique, UNFPA has partnered with Norway with funding for projects focused on the Covid-19 response, recovery from Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, the 2017 Population and Housing Census, and a United Nations joint program focused on the protection of persons with albinism.

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