De Beers Group announced a $200,000 donation across its four producer partner countries. Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa are among those who are getting support from the group. The step is taken to assist women’s shelters and support organizations to respond to an increase in gender-based violence resulting from the COVID-19 situation.
The donation will be equally shared by Botswana, Canada, Namibia, and South Africa. It adds to the contributions De Beers Group has already announced in its host countries to support the COVID-19 affected people. The amount exceeds $5 million across monetary and in-kind support. The help is basically for – procurement of medical supplies, logistical support, vulnerability assessment support plans, food security for vulnerable households, water supply to communities, COVID-19 awareness and education, and local clinical support.
The lockdown and social distancing measures introduced around the world exacerbate the risk of gender-based violence. There has been a global increase in cases reported, including in the countries in which De Beers Group operates.
There are some gender-based violence support services currently closed, and those that remain open under increasing demand. De Beers Group’s funding will support the capacity of women’s shelters and organizations in host communities to meet the increase in immediate needs, as well as beyond lockdown periods. De Beers Group is working with local stakeholders in each country, including its long-term partner, UN Women, to tailor an approach that is appropriate to local contexts.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group and UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champion, said: “As the world faces unprecedented health and economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 virus, many women and children are also being exposed to a significantly increased risk of gender-based violence while having limited ability to access support services and finding those services are under extreme pressure.
“De Beers Group has a longstanding commitment to supporting women and girls in the communities where we operate, and right now many need this support more than ever. The funding we are providing will assist women’s support organizations to continue delivering critical services to survivors of gender-based violence during the current situation and help protect against it in the future.”
In addition to the contributions, De Beers Group is immensely supporting its host countries and communities. Mr. Cleaver will donate 30 percent of his salary over the next three months to charitable organizations supporting vulnerable people in Southern Africa.
Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office, said: “As economic and social pressures and fear have grown over recent weeks, we have seen a significant and deeply concerning surge in domestic violence throughout the world, what UN Women has termed the ‘Shadow Pandemic’, that is already being felt in Southern Africa with calls of distress from women more than doubling. Current restrictions on movement – locking women in with their violent intimate partners – is exacerbating the situation, so we must ensure women can continue to access essential support services safely as we work to beat COVID-19.”
In southern Africa, De Beers Group and UN Women are identifying key funding priority areas through a holistic emergency pathway approach. The group ensures that the support reaches out to those who are in need. Support may be in the form of transportation, accommodation, basic supplies, counseling, etc. In Canada, the funding will support four shelters in the communities surrounding De Beers Group’s Gahcho Kué and Victor operations.