Tackling violence against women in the time of COVID-19
When the pandemic first hit Egypt in the Spring of 2020, UN Women Egypt Country Office (ECO) repurposed some of its key programme strategies and introduced new ones to support the Government of Egypt’s measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on women. Outlined in a national policy paper on Egypt’s Rapid Response to Women’s Situation during the COVID-19 Outbreak, issues of women’s economic security, handling an increase in unpaid care work in the home, and tackling violence against women and girls were central to the national response. UN Women ECO and development partners were keen to support such efforts.
In close cooperation with the National Council for Women, UN Women is supporting national efforts to prevent VAWG and protect its survivors both at the policy and grassroots levels. The efforts include producing analysis on the potential impact the pandemic may have on women in Egypt; and increasing awareness about the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on women through telephone surveys conducted in partnership with the National Council for Women and the Women’s Observatory/Baseera. UN Women’s support on EVAW continues to prioritise partnering with the institutions providing direct support to survivors of violence, including the Women Complaints Office (WCO) of the National Council for Women to support survivor’s access to necessary services including pro bono legal aid and mental health practitioners; and the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s shelters for survivors through digitalization and supporting the revision of Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs); - and supporting the efforts of Egyptian civil society at the grassroots level to mobilize community members and raise their awareness on the impact COVID-19 may have on the prevalence of VAWG.
At the center of UN Women’s efforts amid COVID-19 crisis was supporting women’s mental health. UN Women joined forces with national partners to train psychosocial workers and offer online psychosocial support sessions -among other services-. UN Women in partnership with the National Council for Women and in collaboration with several partners, including Safe Kids, Shezlong, and Egypt Today Magazine launched an initiative to promote Egyptian women’s mental health in May 2020. The initiative was entitled "Our Mental Health is a Priority" and is aimed to provide practical advice through informative videos featuring psychologists and experts discussing how to face the mental health hardships caused by the coronavirus, including quarantine, curfew and anxiety caused by staying at home for longer periods than usual.
The first video, entitled "Balance in the Time of Corona" aims at understanding the impact of the current situation on our mental health and the steps that we need to take to overcome this crisis safely.
UN Women Egypt’s programme of work on ending violence against women and girls is made possible through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Government of Spain and the European Union.