66-north

66°North and UN Women receive grants to create jobs for refugee women

Stella Samúelsdóttir Executive Director at UN Women Iceland, Aldís Eik Arnarsdóttir and Bjarney Harðardóttir from 66°North and Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation.

66°North and UN Women have received grants from the Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund for development cooperation to work on a job creation project for refugee women from developing countries in Turkey. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation and Bjarney Harðardóttir from 66°North signed an agreement yesterday for a grant of nearly ISK 30 million from the Ministry against an equivalent contribution from the company.

The project aims at creating jobs for women fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They receive training in clothing manufacturing with financial independence as the guiding principle. They learn to reuse materials and thereby strengthen the circular economy within the SADA center that houses them. This cooperation project is the first of its kind in Turkey and is being operated in cooperation with UN Women, and UN Women in Iceland will be contributing to the project and monitoring it.

Minister Þórdís Kolbrún stated that the contribution of 66°North and UN Women in Iceland illustrates what companies and civil society organisations in Iceland are capable of when it comes to development cooperation. “Most of the refugee women have lost their spouses and are the breadwinners of their households. They are in distress and their rights are limited. This project generates revenue for the ongoing activities of the SADA Centre, which is their sole source of revenue, support network and shelter,” said Þórdís Kolbrún at the signing of the agreement.

“It is a real pleasure to see this partnership with UN Women and the SADA Center become a reality that would not have been possible without support from the Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund,” said Bjarney Harðardóttir of 66°North. “The company has always had equality and sustainability at the forefront and the circular economy is the guiding principle for the business where we reuse and give leftover materials a new life. In this project, we are supporting the empowerment of refugee women, while at the same time promoting sustainability.”

“A cooperative project like this, involving the government, private companies, NGOs and an international organisation, is a new and incredibly exciting opportunity for UN Women in Iceland,” said Stella Samúelsdóttir, the executive director of UN Women in Iceland. ‘’The project directly affects the employment opportunities of refugee women and contributes to their financial independence and the development of a circular economy. I hope that the project will provide incentives for other companies to participate in development cooperation and humanitarian projects, while also strengthening the sustainability and financial independence of women and girls around the world. We at UN Women in Iceland are very grateful for the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and 66°North and are very much looking forward to the cooperation for the next three years.”

The project fits well with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including the Goals for gender equality (Goal No 5), decent work and economic growth (Goal No 8), innovation and infrastructure (Goal No 9) and partnerships for the goals (Goal No 17).

The Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Fund supports companies that are interested in contributing to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by entering cooperation projects in developing States. Support for the advancement of economic and business activities offers an opportunity to promote competitiveness in future markets. Particulars can be found at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website: www.utn.is/atvinnulifssjodur.

Pictured: (L) Bjarney Harðardóttir CEO, 66°North and ( R) Stella Samúelsdóttir Executive Director at UN Women Iceland

Photo by: Sigtryggur Ari, for Fréttablaðið

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