The United Nations Organization for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, also known as UN Women, has completed its long-term program to combat violence against women after eight years.
The program with the title “Safe Cities Free From Violence Against Women and Girls: Ending Violence Against Women Survivor-Centered Approach “, was carried out in collaboration with the National Council for Women (NCW) and the Ministry of Social Solidarity in Egypt with generous support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Top speakers attended the closing ceremony: Rania Al-Mashat, Minister for International Cooperation; Nivine El-Kabbaj, Minister for Social Solidarity; Maya Morsy, President of NCW; Amal Ammar, President of the Court of Appeal and Deputy Minister of Justice for Human Rights, Women, Children’s Affairs; Ahmed Elsaid, President of the Court of Appeal and Director of the Prosecutor’s Criminal Research and Training Center; Nicole Shampaine, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy in Egypt; and Christine Arab, UN Women Country Representative.
There was also an interactive panel discussion on effective prevention and response measures to end violence against women and girls. Among the panellists were Amal Tawifk, Director of the Women’s Complaints Office at NCW; Amina Tarraf, Associate Professor of Social Policy at the Ministry of Social Solidarity; Nehad Abolkomsan, Senior Lawyer and Chair of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights; Iqbal Elsamaloty, Chairman of the Future Eve Association; and Mariam Naoum; Award-winning screenwriter and gender champion.
What is this program about?
For 10 years, the global initiative of UN Women, Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls, has worked with leading women’s organizations, local and national governments, UN agencies and other partners to develop comprehensive approaches to prevention and assessment and assess responses to sexual harassment of women and girls in public spaces in different settings.
Ending violence against women and girls (VAW & G) requires an integrated approach. In order to provide comprehensive and targeted services for VAW&G victims, UN Women Egypt aimed with this program to establish a referral system geared towards survivors. Case management at the local level through emergency shelters and specialized service providers ensures that victims do not become lonely while recovering from violence. Innovative community mobilization and capacity building sessions for shelter staff and community leaders ensure the social reintegration of survivors. The program also works with local and international civil society organizations to develop spaces that are free from all forms of violence against women and girls in areas inside and outside Cairo.
Christine Arab said: “As part of the Egyptian National Strategy to End Violence Against Women, the UN Women program, in collaboration with the Egyptian government, has worked with key service providers at the national and local levels to support a survivor-centered approach towards this aims to empower women and girls in need while providing the most immediate services necessary to move them beyond the violence they have experienced. With long-term support from USAID, the program has successfully participated in nationally-led interventions that have helped break the silence about the VAWG at the community and national levels. “
Minister Al-Mashat said that the international partnerships established by the Ministry of International Cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners support the efforts of the Egyptian government and stakeholders to empower women, protect them from various forms of violence and engage them in economic matters Activities.
She praised the collaboration between stakeholders represented through the partnership between UN Women and USAID, as well as between NCW and the Department of Social Solidarity, to implement the Program to End Violence Against Women and Girls, which is Egypt’s efforts to provide a women-friendly environment that aims to avert all kinds of violence.
12 projects for the economic empowerment of women
Al-Mashat stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation’s ongoing portfolio includes 12 projects aimed at achieving SDG 5: Gender Equality. These include: promoting gender equitable jobs in Egypt; Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Egypt; Building safe cities in Alexandria; Financial and economic inclusion of women in rural Egypt; Empowering Women and Financial and Economic Inclusion in Rural Egypt: Response to COVID-19; and other projects that promote the empowerment of women and open up perspectives for economic and social opportunities for women and girls.
The development finance contracted by the Ministry of International Cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners to support the empowerment of women and their participation in development efforts amounts to around 3.3 billion 15% for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); 14% for education; 9% for agriculture; 6% each for irrigation and governance; and 3% each for the trade, investment, social protection, transport, water and sanitation sectors.
Women’s affairs are a top priority for the Ministry of Social Solidarity
Minister El Kabbaj stressed that women are the top priority in all of the Ministry’s programs, with a particular focus on girls, rural women, householders, women with disabilities, women at risk or survivors of all forms of violence and economic exploitation, alongside older women.
The Minister also praised the support of the political leadership and the efforts of the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and International Cooperation, the NCW Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Council for Human Rights, as well as the efforts of NGOs and young people who have seen many in recent years Milestones have made unprecedented national progress.
State authorities want to empower Egyptian women
Maya Morsy expressed her gratitude for what Egyptian women are currently experiencing in light of the current political will in relation to women’s empowerment, adding that government agencies and institutions are committed to helping Egyptian women in all areas through the implementation of the National Strategy Empowerment to strengthen of Egyptian Women 2030, especially the protection of women from all forms of violence against them. Morsy also noted that the integration of women’s rights was an essential pillar for their empowerment and advancement, and thanked everyone who contributed to the implementation of this important program.
USA invest 8 million US dollars in Safe Cities program
Nicole Shampaine said, “The United States has invested $ 8 million in the Safe Cities program, which laid the groundwork for political reform, service delivery and national lobbying to increase sexual harassment for the first time in Egypt’s history criminalize. By promoting the economic and social empowerment of women, the United States is committed to helping Egypt build an economically stable and sustainable future. “
The US government will continue to support women’s empowerment and economic growth in line with Egypt’s 2030 Vision. The Safe Cities project is part of the $ 30 billion Americans have invested in Egypt through USAID since 1978, Shampaine added.
With the support of USAID, the interventions “Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces” and “Prevention and Basic Services” were implemented as part of the Egyptian National Strategy to End Violence against Women in selected cities in five governorates: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Minya, and Beni Suef.
A holistic approach has been taken to reduce violence against women and girls and to provide survivors with adequate legal and psychosocial support and access to safe spaces. With this approach, the program expanded access to affordable and high quality mental health support services and improved the case management capacities of local civil society organizations.
The most significant advances in recent years have been the strengthening of basic services for women and girls who have experienced violence. With the strong commitment of NCW and the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the national institutions have strengthened their capacities and improved the quality, accessibility and coordination of the services provided. Achievements include the physical upgrading of accommodations in selected governorates. National data and knowledge products to improve the prevention and response to violence against women and girls were also supported, including updated information on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the household.
The program resulted in the development of the worldwide award-winning film “Between Two Seas”, which is now streamed on Netflix. The program worked with community-level civil society to encourage local and empowered behavior change, raise awareness of prevention and response, and mobilize greater community-level support for those who come forward to report. In addition, as part of the program, in collaboration with the National Women’s Council and the local authorities in Imbaba and Ezbet el. Using a unique participatory methodology where local women and community leaders work together, create safe public spaces for women to host a variety of Hagganah activities. The program also established the country’s first women-friendly market in Zenien, creating a secure job for hundreds of shop assistants and their children and a safe market for thousands of female customers.