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With this report, VOICE set out to understand better what is happening to women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis, how their organizations are being affected, and how gender inequalities are manifesting in their homes and work lives during the pandemic.

What impact does a nationwide lockdown have on violence against women and girls? What about economic downturn? How are their organizations supported? Through an online survey, and with responses from over 200 women- and girl-led organizations around the world, VOICE is glad to open up the conversation about violence against women and girls at a time of global crisis for our collective learning. We can not ignore the effect that COVID-19 is having on the multiple forms of violence against women and girls, and we must listen to their voices to know best what to do about it. We must do better for them, and with them.


Who holds the power in a pandemic?


The research for "We Must Do Better" comes from a feminist commitment to the descriptions, perspectives, and analyses of women and girls in various countries around the world, as they spoke from their own experiences and realities.

The survey was intentionally designed to engage with, and encourage critique of, the ways in which the architecture of humanitarian aid interventions do or do not speak to the actual contexts and needs of women and girls; the ways in which they have been centered or marginalized in response to the pandemic, and the degrees to which they have been invited to shape the aid response, if at all. 

From our work, we know that local women and girl-led organizations and networks are the key to addressing violence against women and girls, yet, despite high-level global commitment among humanitarian actors to increase funding for local and national implementing agencies, progress towards the localization of this humanitarian action, including with violence response, has been far too slow. 
 
The significant funding gaps for women- and girl-led organizations limit their ability to scale up and have impact when they need to respond to emergencies, grow their programs, secure additional funding for their activities, and better serve their communities. As you can imagine, a global pandemic heavily compounds these challenges. But while we can't fix the pandemic, we can fix the lack of access to resources and funding for these essential organizations. 

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