Japan joins hands with UNFPA by funding USD 4.6 million to support women and girls’ health

UNFPA Sri Lanka will implement the new project “ENSURE: Ensuring access to life-saving sexual & reproductive health and providing gender based violence prevention and response services for women, girls and vulnerable groups” with the funding by the Government of Japan. This USD 4.6 million-worth project and will provide mobile clinic service and essential commodities such as hygiene kits to women, girls and vulnerable groups affected by the current crisis in Sri Lanka.

In order to implement the project, UNFPA and the Government of Japan in Sri Lanka will work closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Empowerment and partners from government and non-governmental organisations to save 3 million women, girls and youth in seven districts in five provinces including Northern, Eastern and Central Provinces.  The targeted districts were identified by using the district-level poverty rate, incident rate of violence by intimate partner and the project aims to protect those severely affected by the breakdown of the economy and protracted socio-economic crisis.

Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, H. E. MIZUKOSHI Hideaki stressed the importance of protecting the women and girls especially in vulnerable communities in the rural areas where the access to the health service has been a challenge for the local people due to the price hike and income reduction. Ambassador MIZUKOSHI also reiterated Japan’s strong commitment to continue the support for women’s health and protection of women and girls as a sincere friend of Sri Lanka.

In 2022, the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan 2022 estimated 5.7 million people in Sri Lanka are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, with over 4.9 million being food insecure. Prices of menstrual health products skyrocketed from March with tax hikes. With a sanitary pad packet of 10 costing over Rs. 300, women are forced to sacrifice their hygiene for buying a kilo or two of rice to feed their family instead. Increasing cost of medical care and shortage of essential medicines are depriving women and girls of urgent and lifesaving basic and comprehensive medical care.

Commenting on the project, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka Mr. Kunle Adeniyi noted that, "It is vital we identify and ensure women and girls to attain their full potential. With the ENSURE initiative, UNFPA and the Government of Japan are dedicated to ensuring that women, young people, and persons with disabilities have continuous access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services. We are also dedicated to strengthening health and protection systems at the district and divisional levels by supporting shelter services and providing vital medicines and commodities to address gender-based violence and ensure women deliver safely. I look forward to working together with all of our partners as we start this endeavor".