Press Release: The Closing Conference of the “Safe Cities Free from Violence Against Women and Girls: Ending Violence Against Women Survivor-Centered Approach” Programme

Date: Sunday, September 26, 2021

Photo: Christine Arab, UN Women representative in Egypt.

For Immediate Release

Cairo, 26 September 2021 – Today marks the closing of UN Women’s Safe Cities Free from Violence Against Women and Girls: Ending Violence Against Women Survivor-Centered Approach Programme after eight years of implementation. The programme was carried out in partnership with the National Council for Women (NCW) and the Ministry of Social Solidarity, with the generous support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Key Note speakers included H.E. Dr. Rania El Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation; H.E. Dr. Nivine El Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity; Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women; Judge Amal Ammar, President of the Court of Appeal and Assistant Minister of Justice for Human Rights, Women, Children’s Affairs; Counsellor Ahmed Elsaid, President of the Court of Appeal and Director of the Criminal Research and Training Center at the Public Prosecution Office; and Ms. Nicole Shampaine, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt; with introductory remarks from Ms. Christine Arab, UN Women Country Representative.

Ms. Christine Arab, UN Women Country Representative, explained that “Under Egypt’s National Strategy to End Violence Against Women, in partnership with the Government of Egypt, UN Women’s programme has worked with essential service providers nationally and locally in supporting a survivor-centred approach, which seeks to empower women and girls in need while providing the most immediate services required for them to move forward beyond the violence experienced. Through the long-term support of USAID, the programme has successfully partnered in nationally-led interventions contributing to breaking the silence around VAWG at the community and national level”.

For her part, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, stated that the international partnerships concluded by the Ministry of International Cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners bolstered the efforts undertaken by the Government of Egypt and stakeholders to empower women, protect them from different forms of violence, and engage them in economic activities. H.E.El-Mashat further commended the collaboration between stakeholders as represented by the partnership between the UN Women and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and between the National Council for Women (NCW) and the Ministry of Social Solidarity, to implement the program to end violence against women and girls, which fostered Egypt’s efforts with regards to the provision of a female-friendly environment that shall avert all sorts of violence.

In her remarks, H.E. Dr. Nivine El Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity highlighted that women occupy a top priority in all of the ministry's programs, with a special focus on girls, rural women, women heads of household, women with disabilities, women at risk or survivors of all forms of violence and economic exploitation, in addition to elderly women. H.E the Minister also praised the support of the political leadership and the efforts of the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior and International Cooperation, the Public Persecutor’s Office, the National Council for Women and the National Council for Human Rights, in addition to the efforts of NGOs and youth in achieving unprecedented national progress in many milestones in recent years.

In her speech, H.E.Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, expressed her gratitude for what Egyptian women are experiencing now in light of the political will and true belief of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President of the Republic with regards to women’s empowerment, adding that the state agencies and institutions seek to empower Egyptian women in all fields through the implementation of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, most importantly protecting women from all forms of violence against them. H.E. Dr. Morsy also noted that integrating women’s rights is an essential pillar for their empowerment and advancement, while thanking all who contributed to the implementation of this significant programme.

During the event, U.S. Chargé D'Affaires Nicole Shampaine said, “The United States invested $8 million in the Safe Cities program, which laid the foundation for policy reforms, service provision, and national advocacy efforts to criminalize sexual harassment for the first time in Egypt’s history. By working to advance women’s economic and social empowerment, the United States is committed to helping Egypt build an economically stable, sustainable future.”

The conference also included an interactive panel discussion on effective prevention and response measures to end violence against women and girls. Among the panelists were Ms. Amal Tawifk, Director of the Women’s Complaints Office at the National Council for Women; Ms. Amina Tarraf, Associate Professor for Social Policies at the Ministry of Social Solidarity; Ms. Nehad Abolkomsan, Senior Lawyer and Chairperson of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights; Ms. Iqbal Elsamaloty, Chairperson of Future Eve Association and Ms. Mariam Naoum; Award-winning Scriptwriter and Gender Champion.

Photo: From left to right (Ms. Nehad Abolkomsan, Senior Lawyer and Chairperson of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, Ms. Amina Tarraf, Associate Professor for Social Policies at the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Ms. Amal Tawifk, Director of the Women’s Complaints Office at the National Council for Women, Ms. Gielan El Messiri, Deputy Country representative at UN Women Egypt, Ms. Iqbal Elsamaloty, Chairperson of Future Eve Association, and Ms. Mariam Naoum; Award-winning Scriptwriter and Gender Champion.

With the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, a leading donor in addressing violence against women in Egypt and combining two of UN Women’s global flagship programmes – “Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces” and “Prevention and Essential Services”- interventions were implemented, under Egypt’s National Strategy to End Violence Against Women, nationally and in selected cities across five governorates (Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Minya, and Beni Suef). A holistic approach was applied to reduce violence against women and girls while providing survivors with adequate legal and psychosocial support and access to safe spaces. Using this approach, the programme expanded access to affordable and quality psychosocial support services and enhanced case management capacities among local CSOs.

The most significant gains in recent years have been the strengthening of core essential response services for women and girls who have experienced violence. Through the strong commitment of the National Council for Women and the Ministry of Social Solidarity, national entities have deepened their capacities, and have improved the quality, accessibility and coordination of provided services. Achievements include the physical upgrade of shelters in selected governorates. National data and knowledge products to enhance the prevention and response to violence against women and girls has also been supported, including up-to-date information on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women in the home.

The programme resulted in the development of a globally award-winning film “Between Two Seas” now streaming on Netflix. The programme worked with civil society at the community level to foster locally-shaped and owned behavioral change, raising awareness on prevention and response, and mobilising greater community-level support for those who come forward to report. Further, and using a unique participatory methodology where local women and community leaders work together, safe public spaces for women, hosting a myriad of activities have been established under the programme in partnership with the National Council for Women and local authorities in Imbaba and Ezbet el Hagganah. The programme also established the country’s first women-friendly market in Zenien creating a safe workplace for hundreds of women vendors and their children and a safe market for thousands of women customers.

For more information, please contact:

Read in Arabic.