Yukon organizations offering programs that address gender-based violence could have access to a new funding pot available for similar groups across the country.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is accepting applications for programs that could be funded through a $19.6 million federal Safer + Stronger Grants program.
The program aims to provide critical support for organizations working to address issues around gender-based violence to deal with an anticipated influx of supports needed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as support their ability to help address, prevent and reduce gender-based violence.
In a Jan. 21 interview, Andrea Gunraj, the foundation’s vice-president of public engagement, said she hopes to see a number of programs in the North as well as rural and remote communities receive funding, noting gender-based violence rates tend to be higher in those areas.
In the Yukon, she said, rates are about three times what they are elsewhere in the country.
There are a number of factors that can make it difficult for those dealing with gender-based violence in more remote areas to get help, ranging from fewer options for those seeking help to less available transportation.
Restrictions that have come due to COVID-19, leaving many isolated in their homes, have created “a perfect storm”, she said.
Groups can receive between $10,000 to $200,000 to be used by Sept. 30 for “a range of activities and approaches to address gender-based violence in the COVID-19 pandemic”, it’s stated on the foundation’s website.
Among those activities could be counselling; crisis intervention; digital and phone-based resources; prevention work such as advocacy, research, public engagement and the like; training; or additional staff that are required to safely deliver services.
“We want organizations to tell us what they do,” Gunraj said, adding the foundation has worked with a number of Yukon organizations previously and is hoping the grants will result in further efforts in the territory to address gender-based violence.
Among Yukon projects the foundation has funded in the past were a series of workshops for front-line agencies responding to violence against women and social justice issues offered by the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society; a six-month support system to build sustainable businesses and livelihoods in the north by MakeWay; and a program focused on healthy relationships offered by Help and Hope for Families.
Gunraj said many organizations across the country have adapted well to delivering programs online in order to meet COVID-19 regulations.
“They’re using all the tools,” she said, while also acknowledging the challenges that come with that. Not everyone who needs the services offered by organizations delivering programming have access to technology, she said.
While libraries remain open in the Yukon, Gunraj said in many other regions libraries and other public spaces that provide internet access are closed, further reducing availability. For others who do have access to technology, there can be challenges if everyone in the family is sharing one laptop.
“It’s really tricky,” she said of delivering programs during the pandemic, but noting groups are doing everything they can. She encouraged anyone interested in applying for a grant to review the criteria at https://canadianwomen.org/safer-stronger-grants/
If organizations are unsure whether their proposal fits with the criteria, they are encouraged to contact one of the grant advisors listed on the website. Applications must be received by Feb. 15.
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