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8 km women’s race kicks off Destination Egypt 2030

UNFPA Egypt and the Ministry of Youth and Sports organized the first women’s race in Egypt on November 30 in partnership with the National Council for Women and Cairo Runners.

The race fell under the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence and aimed to combat and raise awareness on violence against women and girls.

High Dam, Almena, Saher Elzoghby and Yasmine Zaki performed a concert following the race as part of UNFPA’s Music for Development initiative, which employs creative methods to engage with the youth on issues related to population growth.

The women’s 8 km race, which brought together over 500 girls and women, was followed by a 2 km run for both men and women, who participated to express support for women’s and  girls’ right to safe public spaces.

Nineteen-year-old Nada Gamal and her twin sister Nouran Gamal came in first and second place respectively.

“It was a great experience,” Nada said, “I had to be part of such a significant event.”

The 19-year-old added that participating in a race for women only will encourage her to run in public spaces.

In third place came 52-year-old Amani Khalil, who expressed hope that similar events encouraging women to use the streets to run would continue to take place.

“I am very happy that they are starting to pay attention to the idea of Egyptian girls using the streets to run,” she said, adding that Friday’s race sends a strong message.

UNFPA Assistant Representative Germaine Haddad addressed the participants and highlighted women’s and girls’ rights to public space.

“Girls have the right to run should they choose to,” she said.

Haddad also underlined the connection between female participation and advancing the Egyptian economy.

The race kicks off the Destination Egypt 2030 initiative, curated by UNFPA and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and which aims at mobilizing young people to address developmental challenges through active participation in sports, music, art, community mobilization and capacity building initiatives.

The initiative involves 3-day monthly activities November 2018 to December 2019 across Egypt’s governorates. Each month, the initiative will promote and raise awareness on a different developmental issue through campaigning, community mobilization activities, competitions and training events. It also seeks to promote different historical and touristic sites within the governorates.