Safe Cities programme
The Safe Cities programme started in Egypt in 2012 as one of the global pilot initiatives to promote an integrated community-based approach to address issues and forms of Violence against Women and Girls (VAW&G) in public spaces. The programme works through members of the community to empower, raise awareness, and provide technical support to make public spaces safer for women and girls, and improve the quality of life for entire families and communities through the creation of safe neighborhoods and communities. UN Women Egypt, in partnership with the government and civil society organizations, provides assistance to three I underprivileged informal settlements in Greater Cairo (Ezbet el Hagana, Mansheyet Naser and Imbaba),, which has created space for partners to participate in the design and implementation of different community-based interventions to eliminate VAW&G.
With the aim to strengthen legislative and institutional frameworks to ensure effective prevention and response to violence against women and girls, UN Women provided technical support to the formulation of the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women, which came into effect in April 2015. Through leveraging UN Women’s unique coordination mandate, the National Council for Women, various line ministries, and civil society organizations came together in a structured approach to develop the strategy and its action plan.
Mobilizing young volunteers and community leaders is key to halt sexual harassment and violence in public spaces in Egypt. In this light, UN Women Egypt provided technical support, including good practices, as well as access to legal and social services for behavioural change at the community level. Interventions such as sports events and interactive community theatre on child abuse and VAW&G proved successful in engaging community members, including men and boys. So far, the Safe Cities programme has reached 20,000 community members.
Looking ahead, urban landscape developments, safer market places as well as safe transport and mobility for women and girls will facilitate a woman and girls-friendly physical environment.
It is worth mentioning that this programme is being implemented with the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Spanish Cooperation.