The Government of Japan to Fund UN Women Programs to Address the Impact of COVID-19 on Women and girls in Africa

The government of Japan has been supporting numerous programs to advance Gender Equality and Women Empowerment across the world. This new contribution of $4,545,454 to UN Women programs aims at protecting the lives and preserving the dignity of women and girls, as well as address the challenges they face in the midst of COVID -19 in Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Europe and Central Asia.


The Government of Japan to Fund UN Women Programs to Address the Impact of COVID-19 on Women and girls in Africa
Photo: UN Women

Women are disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, as more women work in low-paying, insecure and informal jobs, while carrying the bulk of burden on unpaid care work at home. As more countries report infection and lockdown, more domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world are reporting rising calls for help. Confinement is fostering the tension and strain created by security, health, and money worries. In addition, it is increasing isolation for women with violent partners, leading to a perfect storm for controlling and violent behaviour behind closed doors.


Experience from previous disease outbreaks showed that women and men are affected differently. Therefore, having gendered national responses is critical to ensure effective and equitable preventive plans and long-term response interventions for COVID-19.

The contribution of the Government of Japan will enable the implementation of prevention and response programmes to COVID-19 in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa, where UN Women is already working with all stakeholders to ensure that women and girls are at the center of COVID 19 response and recovery plans. Mainly, the programmes address the following areas:


  • Supporting the integration of gender in COVID-19 response and recovery frameworks through gender analysis and provision of data to inform programming
  • Promoting women and girls’ to access and benefit from recovery/restoration of livelihood sources and resilience building measures for COVID-19
  • Promoting the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence and other harmful practices during COVID-19
  • Promoting the leadership and participation of women and girls in COVID 19 response and recovery interventions


With total budget of US$ 909,091 for the four Eastern and Southern Africa countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa), the programmes are starting from June 2020 to May 2021.


In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Japan has been the first donor to express interest to financially support UN Women’s response efforts in addressing the needs of women and girls.


The Government of Japan is an important long-standing partner for UN Women in advancing the mandate on gender equality and women empowerment. The Government of Japan has contributed to a number of UN Women projects in East and Southern Africa region including the LEAP projects in Kenya and South Sudan. The Government of Japan has been strongly committed to promote the concept of ‘human security”, as one of the critical pillars of its foreign policy. This areas of focus is perfectly in line with the objectives of the UN Women programmes aiming at protecting the rights of women and girls affected by the impact of COVID-19, and building their resilience .


UN Women is very delighted to count on the continued and effective support of the Government of Japan since its establishment. The partnership between UN Women and Japan covers a number of areas, such as programme implementations in developing countries, conducting policy dialogues, and collaboration around key international conferences on gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women and Japan will continue to strengthen their partnership to generate change in the lives of women and their communities.