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UNFPA’s 7th Country Programme (CP7) of Assistance heralding a new era of partnerships and opportunities for progress has been initiated to run from 2022-2026, approved by the Executive Board on February the 3rd. The programme itself stems from the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), whilst UNFPA commitment is evidenced in its leadership to support women and girls. The country office will prioritise two out of the three Transformative Results in addressing unmet need for family planning, in addition to reduction in GBV and other harmful practices against women and girls. 

UNFPA will deliver on the outputs through strategic partnerships in reaching the nationally owned results. In this context, implementing partnership agreements have been signed between UNFPA and the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services (MoGFSS), Maldives National University (MNU), Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and the Society for Health Education (SHE).

The empowerment of women and girls and ensuring gender equality is one of the key areas of the new CP7. The partnership agreement with the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services was signed  by Minister Hon. Aishath Mohamed Didi and UNFPA Country Director Mr. Kunle Adneiyi, on 7th March to deliver on the transformative result of ending GBV and harmful practices, which will contribute to the newly endorsed Gender Equality Action Plan. The Minister in her remarks assured that the sustainable development goal 5 on gender equality will be given high priority and will ensure women and girls reach their full potential through bringing about transformational shifts.

UNFPA CD Kunle Adeniyi and Minister Aishath Moahmed Didi sign the partnership agreement

UNFPA is also partnering with the Ministry of Health with the agreement signed on the 7th of March. The Minister Hon. Ahmed Naseem stresses the importance of strengthening the national family planning programme, to address the unmet need for family planning, rising unwanted pregnancies and high prevalence of infertility. Both the minister and Mr. Adeniyi agreed on the need to provide reproductive health services in a more holistic manner, from a development and rights based perspective to ensure every pregnancy and child are wanted. .

Minister Naseem signs the partnership agreement between UNFPA and Ministry of Health

For the first time UNFPA also signed its partnership agreement with the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) to  reduce  gender based violence (GBV) and provide support to survivors at community level.  The MRC Secretary General Fathimath Himya highlights the important work that needs to be done “to address gender based violence and to empower our communities to better address challenges faced by women and girls”. The agreement signed on the 6th of March with MRC will contribute to  prevent all forms of gender-based violence and to draw attention to this issue by engaging the civil society and local communities galvanising a solid network of support.

MRC SG Fathimath Himya with Mr. Adeniyi signing the first ever partnership agreement with MRC

In the area of advancing sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), one of UNFPA’s long-standing partnerships was renewed with the signing of the agreement with the Society for Health Education (SHE), SHE chairperson Mr. Hussain Haleem mentioned the challenges and sensitivity of working to advance SRHR and thanked UNFPA for their continued efforts in supporting the organisation to provide reproductive health information; especially in reaching the marginalised and those furthest left behind.

UNFPA Country Team with long-standing partner Society of Health Education team

One of the main components of the CP7 is to acquire young people with knowledge on SRH, life skills, leadership and empowerment. However, the challenge of the lack of trained professionals to deliver the Life Skills Based Reproductive Health Education (LSBRHE) hinders the successful delivery of UNFPA’s CSE (comprehensive sexuality education) and SRH/FP programme. Thus, UNFPA’s partnership with the Maldives National University will play a critical role in building the capacity of teachers and health service providers. Present with the Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohamed Shareef, this agreement signed on the 8th of March will facilitate in building the human capital and delivering quality services within the health sector and the education sector. Within academia, the partnership will look into exchange of knowledge across the region and world as UNFPA remains committed to educating more young people on sexual and reproductive health and empowering them to become leaders within the community.

Vice Chancellor Dr. Mohamed Shareef and CD Mr. Adeniyi at the Maldivian National University

Many hands make light work - thus, with the help of our partners and other stakeholders, UNFPA is heralding the ambitious 7th Country Programme with the aim to deliver progress and reach our goals in the Maldives. We will strive to rely on expertise and reach the furthest behind first, leaving no one behind.