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UNFPA, Ministry of Youth and Sports to arm young women with self-defense techniques

UNFPA, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and the Egyptian kickboxing Federation, launched an initiative dubbed “No to Harassment,” to arm over 1000 young women from 27 governorates with self-defense skills.

This comes as part of UNFPA’s and the Ministry’s efforts to prioritize the needs of women and girls and put an end to sexual harassment.

“The initiative utilizes sports for development,” Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports said at an event held to launch the initiative. “We’re launching this initiative to teach and train girls to defend themselves against gender-based violence.”

The initiative targets women aged 18-35 and will include 5-day training workshops, after which participants will receive certificates.

The launching of this nationwide initiative is one of the initial events to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, slated for November 25.

The launch event was attended by Richard Dictus, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt; Manal Eid, UNFPA Youth Programme Specialist; Mohamed Sobeih, Head of the Egyptian Kickboxing Federation and Essam Youssef, prominent TV personality.

“For the United Nations, the youth are really important,” Dictus said. “Through the cooperation with MoYS, the youth will learn from such initiative that combines training with awareness-raising.”

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

UNFPA continues to prioritize the needs of women and girls, as part of its overall effort to achieve the three transformative results; ending unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal deaths and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030.

On June 4, 2014, a new law was passed which criminalizes sexual harassment for the first time in modern Egyptian history. According to the law, verbal, physical, behavioral, phone and online sexual harassment attract a prison sentence of 6 months – 5 years, and up to LE 50,000 in fines.