The donation will support the Bank's projects to promote gender equality and social inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean
Note: Video clips of the event will be available after 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will receive a $2.4 million donation from the Danish government to its Gender and Diversity Multi-Donor Fund to expand activities to promote gender equality and social inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Contribution Letter was signed today by Peter Taksøe-Jensen, the Ambassador of Denmark to the United States, and Luis Alberto Moreno, the president of the IDB.
President Moreno noted that Denmark, which has been a member of the Bank since 1976, has a long history of working with the IDB to promote development in the region. “With this important contribution, Denmark is helping to ensure that economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will benefit all sectors of society,” Moreno said. “A region that enfranchises its women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-descendants will be both more prosperous and more just.”
Ambassador Taksøe-Jensen stressed that “Women and men should have equal opportunities. No matter whether it is about equal access to bank loans, hospital and health services, to schools and universities or to work, women are a huge and often untapped resource in many Latin American countries. Therefore, for years Denmark has worked determinedly and constantly in order to incorporate gender initiatives across our development work.”
The Gender and Diversity Multi-Donor Fund was created in 2009 to contribute to the equitable and culturally appropriate development of IDB member countries by fostering gender equality, combating discrimination, and supporting development with identity. Activities of the Fund help ensure that gender, ethnic and racial diversity are addressed by the development projects financed by the Bank throughout the region. The total donations to the fund, including contributions from the Bank’s ordinary capital, now amount to more than $23 million.
The Ambassador was accompanied on a visit to the Bank’s Washington, D.C. headquarters by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary, who is in the American capital for the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters.
Before the signing, they heard a presentation by Carmen María Madriz, IDB Executive Director for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and Kei Kawabata, manager of the IDB’s Social Sector Department. Madriz, representing the Board of Directors, described the institutional commitment to respond forcefully to the challenges of gender and diversity and Kawabata described some of the key projects the Bank is financing to improve the quality of life for women, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants in the region.
Madriz noted that the IDB’s Board approved a new and comprehensive gender policy in 2010 and an action plan with dedicated resources for its implementation. Kawabata noted that Latin America and the Caribbean remains one of the most unequal regions in the world. In particular, indigenous people and Afro-descendants continue to be the poorest segments of the region’s socio-economic strata and have limited access to basic social services such as education and health.
“Although the region has achieved gender equality in education and made significant strides in the labor force and in the political sphere, important challenges still remain,” Kawabata said.
For example, gender-based violence continues to negatively affect the lives and well-being of women, their family members and communities in the region. Violence against women not only leads to injuries and deaths; it contributes to increased violence by children and youths who witness violence in the home.
At the same time, Kawabata noted that there are many innovative initiatives in the region to address these issues. Programs such as Sexto Sentido in Nicaragua and Program H in Brazil have been shown to change the attitudes and violent conduct of young men toward young women.
The IDB funds numerous projects around the region to promote well-being, empowerment of women, and social inclusion. The Ciudad Mujer project in El Salvador, for example, provides services for the prevention of and response to violence, training in entrepreneurship and job skills, counseling on reproductive health, and orientation on education, as well as temporary child care so that women can avail themselves of those services, all of which are offered under the same roof. MiBanco in Peru has provided training to 100,000 women as part of an effort to empower women entrepreneurs.
The IDB also supports indigenous communities through programs such as Origins, in Chile, which helps improve agricultural productivity while promoting cultural survival, and another project with the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organization of the Amazon River Basin (COICA), which trains indigenous peoples to better represent their communities in climate change negotiations.