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A delegation from UNFPA and the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) conducted a visit to Assiut on July 3, to follow up on the comprehensive services and response program addressing violence against women in the Upper Egyptian governorate. This program is carried out in partnership with the National Council for Women (NCW), the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Etijah Youth and Development Consultancy.

The delegation comprised Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative in Egypt, and Mr. Park Wankyu, KOICA Deputy Country Director, head of the KOICA performance management team, Gyeunh Lee, among other UNFPA and KOICA officials.

The visit started with a stop at the Anti-Violence against Women Unit at Assiut University, where the delegation learned about the unit's mandate, informal and formal referral channels and the sensitization activities and services offered to students.

The Anti-Violence against Women Unit in Assiut University is one of 27 anti-violence against women units across 27 national universities in Egypt, offering informative sessions, educational camps for students, on-campus campaigns as well as reporting processes and documentation of incidents of violence against women on campus, in partnership with NCW.

UNFPA aims to continue expanding the services across all universities, while supporting them to maintain outreach and students’ engagement activities - which it set out to do in 2018. The delegation also had the opportunity to meet some of the volunteer students engaged with the Unit and to listen to their experiences. It was also a wonderful opportunity for UNFPA and the delegation to witness some of their talents and discuss further the needs of young women in their communities. 

The delegation then met with the President of Assiut University, Dr. Tarek El-Gammal, and his deputy Dr. Maha Ghanem, who is the first woman to be Deputy President of a university in Upper Egypt, announced by Mr. Park as “a historic opportunity to meet such inspiring woman during their visit.”

This was followed by a visit to the Safe Women’s Clinic at Assiut University Hospital, offering comprehensive medical services and referral for women subjected to violence since 2020. The clinic was officially inaugurated in March 2021, in partnership with NCW, and is the first clinic in Upper Egypt and currently one of eight Safe Women clinics along with Qasr al-Ainy, Mansoura, Ain Shams, Benha, Beni Suef, Minya and 6th of October university hospitals.

During this on-site visit, the delegation met the medical staff in charge of the daily operations and learned further about the referral and medical procedures offered to victims of violence, from the Head Nurse and her team as well as the Head of Safe Women’s clinic. It is worth noting that UNFPA supports the full furnishing, equipment and capacity building programs for each clinic that is followed by a careful planning for the case management process, reporting and filing.

The delegation then headed to the Assiut Youth Center as their final stop, where they attended a musical performance titled “Noura,” tackling social norms and harmful practices against women and girls. The performance is created by young girls who developed the script, music, lyrics and all details to reflect their lives and interests. 

This comes as part of the “Noura Framework,” which aims at building girls’ health and social assets as well as their educational skills and empowers them economically to achieve a better future for themselves. The program was recently sponsored by Her Excellency the First Lady of Egypt Mrs. Intissar al-Sisi.

“We are proud to contribute to the national roadmap to increase women’s participation in education, and economy. To stand against violence against women, we start early with the girls to educate them through Noura. We are very proud that Assiut is among the first governorates where UNFPA will launch this national initiative,” Meijer said.

The interventions come under the “Preventing and Combating Gender-Based Violence in Egypt” project, implemented by UNFPA under the Multilateral Cooperation Program for Gender Equality in Egypt (2021-2024) supported by KOICA, and in partnership with NCW and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The program was signed in June 2021 under the auspices of the Ministry of International Cooperation (MOIC), in light of the Korean Government’s earlier announcement to designate Egypt as an official development assistance (ODA) priority partner country during the period of 2021-2025.