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Gift to CARE, IRC to Provide Support for Women and Girls in Pandemic Response

Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE
Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE

(New York / San Francisco, April 30, 2020) – As the global race to combat the spread of COVID- 19 continues, CARE and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) today announced a $5 million gift from Sheryl Sandberg and Tom Bernthal. This critical funding will strengthen efforts to support women and girls, who find themselves disproportionately on the frontlines battling this pandemic and will be hurt most by the virus, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries.

“Women and girls are on the frontlines of this epidemic,” Sheryl Sandberg said. “They’re more vulnerable to disease and poverty. And they’re essential to delivering health care worldwide and keeping families nourished, educated, and healthy. So supporting them is key to minimizing the harm caused by this pandemic and protecting communities in the long run. We must do all we can to keep women and girls safe and well.”

The pandemic is having a profound impact on women and girls, especially those living in poverty, in conflict settings, and in refugee camps, according to the findings from a Global Rapid Gender Analysis by CARE and the IRC. This gift from the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Fund will help support:

  • Preventing domestic violence: Home is not always a safe place during quarantine or isolation, especially when coupled with economic hardship. Reducing gender-based violence, which is exacerbated by this pandemic, needs to be an integral part of the emergency response
  • Maintaining health access: As limited healthcare resources are diverted to the crisis, there is a risk that women’s health needs will be shortchanged. Women must have access to quality and safe health care, including sexual and reproductive health.
  • Positioning women as leaders: A global recession will hit hard for women and girls, yet they are often left out of decision making. Sharing the power must be a priority as economic rebuilding begins.

“From CARE’s 75 years of humanitarian response work, we know that disasters like this pandemic disproportionally affect the vulnerable,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE. “We will see this with COVID-19 as well, in developing countries and with women and girls. In communities around the world, where women are the primary caregivers at home and on the frontlines of healthcare in their communities, we need to ensure that women are protected and empowered as workers and leaders in the response. This gift from Sheryl and Tom will do just that by bolstering CARE’s response in 63 countries.”

“Women and girls are the biggest losers in every emergency, suffering violence as well as poverty, and their needs are often neglected by government donors, so it is especially valuable to receive significant private support,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “This gift is crucial in helping us reach a segment of the population whose needs often remain overlooked in times of crises and we are immensely grateful to Sheryl and Tom for their partnership and support of the IRC.”

About CARE

CARE is the leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty by lifting up women and girls. It reached 68 million vulnerable people in 100 countries around the world in 2019. Since the onset of COVID, CARE has pivoted its life-saving food security, health services, educational, and women’s empowerment programming to directly fighting the spread and impact of the disease. As of April 17th, 2020, CARE has reached 107.4 million people with COVID-specific or adapted programs. 1.9 million people have been directly reached with hygiene messaging, 601,000 with hygiene kits, 773,000 with increased water, 114,000 with food or cash/vouchers and 22,800 with handwashing stations.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.

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