At the virtual ceremony to award small grants to civil society organisations to commence projects that advocate and address gender equality and women’s empowerment.

A ceremony was held today to award small grants to 6 selected NGO’s to commence their proposed projects that advocate and address gender equality and women’s empowerment. The small grants will further support local civil society groups to increase their engagement in addressing social and gender norms, and work with communities to advocate and enhance women’s economic empowerment, and empower young girls and women in the public and political sphere.

Supported by the Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the grants were awarded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives to the following selected recipients:

•             Equal Rights Initiative

•             Public Interest Law Centre

•             Youth Initiate

•             Land Sea Maldives

•             Women Enhancement, and,

•             Moms Offering Moms Support (MOMS).

The NGO’s will work towards addressing social and gender norms that hinder women, to meaningfully engage women in decisions that will ultimately affect them, their families and communities, to harness women’s leadership in public and political life, to equip women with innovative tools and non-conventional skills-sets, to cultivate women’s economic independence and leadership, and to position women as catalysts of change.

The projects that will be undertaken by the NGO’s include but are not limited to various capacity building initiatives including awareness and information sessions, dialogues with women leaders, creating women cooperatives, vocational training, increasing digital literacy among women and building capacity of Women’s Development Committees. The projects while empowering women and increasing their capacity also includes sessions with the larger community to address social and gender issues.

The projects proposed by each of the NGO’s will be undertaken across the Maldives focusing predominantly on women and girls in the greater Malé region; islands in Small grants supported by @dfat go out to local NGO’s to undertake gender equality & women’s empowerment initiatives across Maldives from Greater Malé region as well as Haa Alif, Haa Dhaal, Raa, Baa, Alif Alif, Alif Dhaal, Thaa, Laamu, Gaafu Dhaal, Gnaviyaniand Addu Atolls, with content disseminated across the Maldives through social media.  

Despite the progress made on gender equality, there are still significant barriers to women’s representation and participation at the decision-making level in the Maldives. UNDP’s programmatic interventions to address the issue will be through numerous streams to ensure that an enabling environment is created for women to participate and increase their representation at the decision-making level. Interventions include capacity building of women leaders, increasing knowledge and understanding of gender issues through gender sensitization and civic education workshops, improving access to engage in the political sphere through political parties, CSOs and media. The grants awarded today to the CSO’s will thus lend to supporting women’s participation in the public and political sphere.

Working together with development partners, UNDP is fully committed to build on our support to national partners and actors to assist the Maldives in strengthening Democratic Governance, and increasing women’s meaningful participation in public life as a means of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Upon completion, the NGO small grants will contribute towards SDG 5 – Gender Equality, SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


Speech by UNDP Resident Representative ad interim, Vera Hakim at the ceremony

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