What does the Singapore National Committee for UN Women do?
The Singapore chapter of UNIFEM was established in 1999 to develop nations all over South East Asia through economic empowerment programs, governance and leadership initiatives and conflict area support (to help women in war torn countries). There’s also the UNIFEM Trust Fund, working to eliminate violence against women.
What are you working on now?
We have Project Inspire, which gives young people (aged 18-35) a chance to win US$25,000 (S$31,470) to work on their ideas for aid through education, training and social entrepreneurship. Then, there’s the STOP Sex Trafficking Campaign which petitions the public to demand greater protection of children and young people. You can join the fight at Sound Out, which we launched last year. There’s also Buy to Save, where we work with fashion brands to sell garments at charity sales. More than $200,000 has been raised so far. With our Day Off Campaign, we aim to get employers to give domestic workers a regular day off. In addition, we have Help Anna, an online effort to stop gender based violence, be it domestic abuse, domestic worker abuse, sex trafficking or labour trafficking. To support the cause, we have “A Call for Help”, an interactive iPhone application which promotes awareness against domestic violence.
What are some challenges faced by UN Women?
Our biggest challenge right now is fundraising in a tough economic climate. With so many other worthy compelling causes, we have to be more strategic in communicating our cause and explaining why it is so important, if not necessary, to empower women and children.
How can people help out?
A great way to help is to find out more about the issue and to start talking about it. Channelling that motivation into action could come in the form of sharing your thoughts, opinions and expertise for the cause that interests you. Becoming a member or a volunteer at our events and campaigns is just one of the ways you can start. Donations are always welcome, but we also recognize that the best way to gain the most mileage out of every dollar is to tap into the hearts and minds of individuals.