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Denmark announces additional funds for UNFPA Sexual and Reproductive Health Supplies

12 October 2018
Minister for Development Cooperation in Denmark, Ms. Ulla Tørnæs (L) shares a moment with Rhoda, a refugee mother and her baby in Rhino Camp refugee settlement. Looking on is UNFPA Uganda Representative Mr Alain Sibenaler. PHOTO: UNFPA/Prossy Nakanjako

Arua, Uganda – 9th September: The Minister for Development Cooperation in Denmark, Ms. Ulla Tørnæs on Tuesday announced that her Government has earmarked additional DKK 50 million, approximately USD 7.5 million towards UNFPA supplies.  Ms. Tørnæs made this announcement during her visit to Loketo Women’s Group in Ariwa Refugee Settlement, Rhino Camp, Arua district in West Nile sub-region, Uganda.

“I have been looking forward to this visit, the issue of sexual and reproductive health is a key priority to the Government of Denmark,’ said Ms. Tørnæs.

“It is unfair when I listen to your stories and learn about what you have gone through, including gender-based violence. I am happy that Denmark in partnership with UNFPA can support.”

According to UNFPA Nordic Office, the additional 50 million Krona towards Supplies will help protect women and youth against unwanted pregnancies. 

“Thank you @Ulla_Tornaes & @DanishMFA for your long-standing & extremely valuable support,” UNFPA Nordic Office acknowledged in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, just after Minister Tørnæs made the announcement.

In December 2017, The Government of Denmark and UNFPA signed a DKK 85 million agreement towards improving women and young people’s health in Uganda. With the additional funds, the support that UNFPA Uganda has received from the Government of Denmark to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights interventions in Uganda will come to a total of DKK 135 million, approximately USD 20 million for interventions over the next five years.

During her two day visit to Uganda, Minister Tørnæs interacted with refugee women of Loketa Women’s group.  The group, now supported by UNFPA through Care Uganda was initially founded by 40 refugee women who settled in Ariwa, Rhino Camp after fleeing armed conflict in South Sudan in 2016.

“When we came from South Sudan, we were traumatized, we needed psychosocial support,” said Mary Ajonye, the Chairperson of the Group. The women informed Minister Tørnæs  that they decided to come together and form a group to help each other build a social base for support, share experiences, skills and promote quick recovery from the traumatic experiences they had in Sudan and on the way to Uganda.


Minister for Development Cooperation in Denmark, Ms. Ulla Tørnæs 
shares a sporty moment with the refugee girls. PHOTO: UNFPA/Prossy 
Nakankajo

With funding from the Danish Government, the women now have a safe meeting space where they discuss sensitive issues such as gender-based violence and receive information on reproductive health and rights, as well as conflict management and counselling. Through trainings on income generation activities and saving, the women have been able to start a savings scheme.

Loketa Women’s Group also provides support to the Junior Drama Group, which is comprised of refugee teenage girls – predominantly girls who dropped out of school and young mothers. The Drama group conducts community sensitization on teenage pregnancy, prevention of gender-based violence, family planning and HIV/AIDS through drama and songs on weekends. Their aim is to encourage young girls to stay in school, as well as return back to school in case they had dropped out due to a pregnancy.

Mr. Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Representative, commended the Government of Denmark for this significant contribution.  “UNFPA has a long standing partnership with the Government of Denmark, thank you Madam Minister for bringing such good news to the women and young people in Uganda. This kind of support will take us a long way to ensure zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal death, and zero tolerance to gender-based violence and harmful practices,” said Mr. Sibenaler.

Story by  Prossy Jonker Nakanjako