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MANILA, Philippines, 24 February 2020 — The Government of Japan will provide a grant aid over 147 million Japanese Yen (approximately 1.35 million US Dollar, or 68.9 million Philippine Peso) through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Philippines, for “the Project for the Capacity Building of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority for Supporting Social Reintegration of Former Female Soldiers”, to consolidate a peace dividend in the historic transition underway in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) by addressing unique needs of women for their protection from violence and reproductive health as well as livelihoods.

The Exchange of Notes for the project was signed on the 24th of February 2020 at the Embassy of Japan in Pasay City, Metro Manila, between H.E. Mr. Koji Haneda, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, and Mr. Iori Kato, UNFPA Country Representative to the Philippines.  

This project aims to assist the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in addressing the protection and health needs of women and girls after decades of conflict and violence in the BARMM areas further exacerbated their vulnerabilities.   Japan’s grants will be utilized for an innovative approach to integrating the demobilization, reintegration and women’s empowerment by transforming female ex-soldiers from Bangsamoro Islamic Women Auxiliary Brigade (BIWAB) into the providers of social/gender services in their communities as ‘para-social workers’ who provide psychosocial support for gender-based violence survivors and facilitate referral to other necessary care. The project also seeks to further reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity in BARMM, through the integration of traditional birth attendants into the health system and the provision of critical life-saving equipment, as well as to expand family planning as a priority set forth in the new Bangsamoro Development Plan.  The project will also help deepen inter-generational dialogues at the grassroots level to promote a ‘culture of peace’ and prevention of sexual violence and child marriage in BARMM. The one-year project seeks to cover the needs of a total of 600,000 women of reproductive age (15-49 years old) in Lanao Del Sur Province, Maguindanao Province and Marawi City.

Japan has been a major donor to UNFPA’s core resources, and has provided additional funds to UNFPA’s humanitarian and peacebuilding initiatives worldwide e.g. for enhancing access to information and services for sexual and reproductive health and protection from GBV for women and young people affected by emergencies. The new partnership with UNFPA in the Philippines further reinforces Japan’s commitment to the UN Security Council Resolution (1325) on Women, Peace, and Security.  The Japanese Ambassador Mr. Haneda emphasized, "Together with the UNFPA, we also aim to provide the means for gender equality, employment, and prevention of violence against women... By the end of this initiative, we hope to see a pool of empowered former female soldiers, able to rejoin society as equipped individuals with much potential."

Atty. Raissa Jajurie, Minister of the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development, conveyed “Our gratitude to the Government of Japan and UNFPA Philippines for their continuous support in empowering the Bangsamoro women and girls towards equitable and sustainable growth of the Bangsamoro region.  The Ministry is committed to innovating efforts to address issues concerning especially women and girls in BARMM. All the more for that reason, this Japan-UNFPA support is very much appreciated.”

This project is born out of a common notion shared by Japan and UNFPA that empowering women and girls, ending gender-based violence, and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health are keys to building peace, eradicating poverty and enhancing resilience,” noted Mr. Kato, UNFPA Country Representative. “This will be a unique contribution to addressing the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus in the BARMM from the gender lens, and I would like to thank the Government of Japan for making that possible.” 




About UNFPA in the Philippines: 

United Nations Population Fund is the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations, working towards achieving “three zeros” everywhere by 2030: zero unmet need for modern contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence. UNFPA marked its 50th anniversary in the Philippines in 2019.  It has been working in Mindanao since 1996, from the former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and now in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), as poor sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) conditions among women and young people, as well as prevalence of gender-based violence, form part of the root causes and also consequences of protracted conflicts and frequent natural disasters faced by the region.


For more information, please contact: 

UNFPA Philippines

Ms. Angeli Regala

Media and Communications Officer

Tel:  +63 917 308 3395