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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Women and Children

May 6, 2011


“The status of the world’s women is not only a matter of morality and justice. It is also a political, economic, and social imperative. Put simply, the world cannot make lasting progress if women and girls in the 21st century are denied their rights and left behind.” – Secretary Clinton

Programs for Women and Children Supported by PRM:

  • Vocational skills training and provision of livelihood activities for refugee women
  • Sensitization of women's human rights and status in society
  • Psychosocial support for survivors of rape and torture
  • Reproductive health services, including in crisis settings
  • Distribution of alternate and/or fuel efficient cooking devices
  • Legal protection and assistance for survivors of gender-based violence
  • Programs to discourage female genital cutting

Violence against women and children is a problem of pandemic proportions. The United Nations estimates that at least one out of every three women globally will be beaten, raped, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Refugee women and children and unaccompanied minors are especially vulnerable to violence, trafficking, and sexual exploitation and abuse during times of crisis and upheaval.

There is both a humanitarian and strategic imperative to promote the rights of women and protect vulnerable women and children from violence, particularly in conflict zones. Children make up nearly one-half of the populations of concern to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a major partner organization of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

How We Help

Since 2000, PRM has provided over $55 million in gender-based violence programming and has engaged with international organization and NGO partners to develop policies to better address the unique needs of women and children in conflict situations, including programming for health, education, recreation, and child protection activities.

Recent PRM-supported programs include awareness activities and training of health workers in Afghanistan, counseling and assistance to survivors of gender-based violence in Colombia, health and referral services in Ethiopia, and a safe house for unaccompanied refugee women and girls in Kenya.

In addition to our humanitarian assistance programs, PRM works to promote family planning and women’s reproductive health and rights by providing support to the UN Population Fund. PRM also collaborates on other family planning and reproductive health programs funded by the U.S. government’s Global Health Initiative. The Initiative aims to help countries strengthen their health systems, with a particular focus on bolstering the health of women, newborns, and children by combating infectious diseases and providing quality health services.

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