COVID-19 emergency grants

The global pandemic exposes already vulnerable populations, including torture survivors, to further risks, in particular in locations with high rates of COVID-19 and limited access to care.  A survey of the 171 civil society organizations currently funded by the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture) revealed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the lives of torture survivors. Grantees reported increased demand for humanitarian, medical and psychological assistance from project beneficiaries. Although organizations promptly adapted working methods, they also requested more resources to guarantee service delivery.

In response, the Fund launched a special call for COVID-19 emergency grants with savings generated from the cancellation of the in-person sessions of the Board of Trustees. The call was open to all 2020 grantees who had expressed interest through the survey and 47 applied. Following a competitive process based on specific selection criteria (notably COVID-19 rates and the vulnerability of target group, such as persons on the move and deprived of liberty) the Fund awarded 17 COVID emergency grants to assist nearly 4,000 torture survivors in Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, India, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In addition, the Fund offered recipients of 2020 grants flexible funding arrangements allowing them to pivot on the ground to meet the evolving needs of torture survivors in the unprecedented global context. Balancing accountability with flexibility, the Fund may authorize shifts to project implementation through on-demand adjustments to operational budgets and implementation periods.