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UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - The General Initiative Fund for Refugee Women


UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - The General Initiative Fund for Refugee Women

1 December 1998


The General Initiative Fund for Refugee Women (GIF) was launched in 1996 as a discretionary fund to encourage innovative and unproven activities for refugee women. Successful GIF projects are later integrated into the regular programmes, so the GIF does not fund projects over successive years.


The Fund encourages new initiatives aimed at improving the lives of refugee women by focusing on their potential and opportunities. After a successful pilot or testing period, these projects can be integrated into regular programming.

Management and funding

The GIF is managed by the office of the Senior Coordinator for Refugee Women at Headquarters in Geneva. Programme officers in participating countries administer the GIF projects, which are implemented by UNHCR and/or by its partners and are closely monitored by field office staff.

In 1996 and 1997 the GIF funded: an environmental conservation project in the Sudan; the development and dissemination (among Somali refugees in Kenya) of a video on positive alternatives to Female Genital Mutilation; and peaceful conflict resolution for Sudanese refugees in Uganda. Refugee women participated in planning, implementing and monitoring of all these projects.

Projects for 1999

Each year, projects submitted for funding under the GIF far exceed available resources. Priority is given to projects which reflect UNHCR's policy concerns for refugee women. In 1999, projects funded by the GIF will focus on: enhancing the rights-based approach to addressing the needs of refugee women; combating violence against refugee women; empowering refugee women to participate in community management; and, encouraging the participation of women in the peace process.

The rights-based approach

Recent experience indicates that raising refugees' and returnees' awareness of the rights of women enhances women's ability to enjoy these rights and advocate for positive change. The GIF will fund projects in Liberia, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and countries in Eastern Europe to train refugee women and men in human rights, in general, and women's rights, in particular. Special targeted training of returnee women in leadership positions will also be supported to advocate for changes in marriage, land and inheritance laws and policies that discriminate against women.

Self- empowerment

In 1999, the GIF will fund projects that improve on traditional-skills training by incorporating aspects of business management, market access and non-traditional, but economically viable, skills. The GIF will also support training in community-management skills, literacy and numeracy to encourage women to assume positions of leadership and influence in the community.

Combating violence against women

The GIF will support community responses to violence against women, such as Refugee Task Forces, which address negative attitudes towards victims of violence, attempt to deter further violent attacks, and assist survivors with counselling and support. Training for camp officials, staff and elders to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence will also be funded.

Women in the peace process

In 1999, the GIF will fund the participation of women in peaceful conflict resolution and negotiation-skills building and in peace missions. Countries to benefit from these projects are Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Budget US$

ActivitiesSpecial Programmes
Rights-Based Approach:
Community Services57,600
Combating Violence Against Women:
Community Services33,000
Women in the Peace Process: Community Services52,000