The United Nations and all of its branches have been actively working to better the situation for all those affected by the ongoing Syrian civil war. On February 4, the United Nations, Germany, United Kingdom, Kuwait and Norway co-hosted the " Supporting Syria and the Region " conference in London, raising more than $11 billion in pledges to help the millions of people whose lives have been torn apart by the devastating civil war.
Putting a extra special focus on women, UN Women actively works to support Syrian women who are seeking to build their lives back up from scratch after having fled their home country. From protection and resilience to helping women issue an appeal for peace, here are 5 things UN Women has done in response to the Syrian crisis:
1.Making sure the humanitarian response to crisis takes the needs of Syrian women into account
The UN Women gender assessment of the refugee crisis in Serbia and Macedonia found that the needs of the women were rarely at the "forefront of humanitarian response planning and implementation." UN Women is actively working to change that to ensure the needs of women are taken into account.
2. Enabling women to earn an income with their cash for work programs
UN Women runs three "Oases" safe spaces that offer economic opportunities, day care services, and protection referral services. The “ cash for work ” programme enables Syrian women who are professional tailors and hairdressers to work six hours a day in the workshops and earn a living.
3. Providing shelter and food
Seeing that Jordan is one of the countries that has received the largest influx of Syrian refugees, UN Women has provided shelter and " safe spaces " for these women in the Zaatari refugee camp. They have also worked alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization to ensure the women are provided with food.
4. Ensuring the voices of Syrian women are heard
In January 2014, UN Women made it possible for nearly 50 Syrian women to come together to voice their opinions and appeal for peace at a conference in Geneva.
5. Tackling gender-based violence
In 2013, UN Women lead a study focused on gender-based violence among Syrian refugees in Jordan. The findings revealed the extremely high rates of early marriage and the restrictions on the mobility of women and girls which have limited their access to both work and aid supplies. In addition to that, UN Women launched the " We Just Keep Silent " report in 2014 on gender-based violence among the Syrian refugees in Iraq which revealed increased levels of intimate partner violence. These efforts have been key to coordinating prevention and response to protection of the women and children who are living in camps, sites, and host communities.