Direct funding for women and children affected by femicide and gender-based violence in Mexico

Photo: Spotlight Initiative/Eloísa Farrera
April 11, 2022

CHIHUAHUA AND CHILPANCINGO, Mexico - The isolation and mobility restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have put many women and girls at risk in the place they should be safest - their own homes. For those living with a violent partner or family member, increased time at home can be deadly.

In Mexico, the Spotlight Initiative has partnered with OXFAM Mexico and municipal shelters CONAVIM, INDESOL and SIPINNA to help provide immediate financial assistance to women and girls leaving violent situations. The programme offers direct economic support for three months to women leaving shelters in order to help them cover essential living costs. So far, more than 100 women survivors and/or indirect victims of femicide have been assisted in Chihuahua, the State of Mexico and Guerrero.

"With this money I am going to invest in my wheelbarrow [for selling food] so that I can continue to support my children." - Ernestina*, funding recipient

Additionally, in Guerrero and the State of Mexico, support was granted to 15 children and/or adolescents whose mothers were victims of femicide (the gender-related killing of a woman). Due to their status as orphans, they were at risk of experiencing new episodes of violence if they returned home.

Thanks to these transfers, women and children have been able to cover basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, medicine and clothing.

"With this money I am going to invest in my wheelbarrow (for selling food) so that I can continue to support my children," said Ernestina*, one recipient.

“My 6-year-old boy has Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome," said another recipient, Sofia*. "He has an enlarged tongue and I have to take him every three months for check-ups. My 5-year-old girl needs prescription lenses for her eyes, so the support was really for the children's health and for buying shoes."

“Vulnerability to violence can be reversed when women have access to the means and resources to build and decide the course of their own lives." -  Spotlight Initiative Coordinator of UN Women Mexico, Nayeli Sánchez

During Sofia's three-month stay in the shelter, she was provided with free, comprehensive and confidential care to help her recover from violence. She is now financially independent and works at a factory making surgical materials. 

“The direct transfer programme greatly benefits women and their children who are victims of extreme violence," explains the director of one of the shelters*. "It gives them purchasing power for their most pressing needs. The programme seems simple, but it has a positive impact on women."

“For me it is very valuable help because I have to move from Mexico City to Chilpancingo, Guerrero to take care of my granddaughter," said Maria* whose 24-year-old daughter was killed by her husband. "The funds help me to continue in the fight. It gives me the confidence and the security that we are heard."

The majority of women who leave shelters do not have their own economic resources or access to banking services, which hinders their ability to break the cycle of violence.

“Vulnerability to violence can be reversed when women have access to the means and resources to build and decide the course of their own lives and that of their families," said the Coordinator of the Spotlight Initiative at UN Women Mexico, Nayeli Sánchez. "These actions and programmes are necessary to guarantee the autonomy and agency of women survivors of violence."

CONAVIM: National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women
INDESOL: National Institute for Social Development
SIPINNA: National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents

By Guillermo León, Cecilia Toledo and Eloísa Farrera

*Name withheld to protect safety.

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