ESCWA, in partnership with the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University, ABAAD Resource Centre for Gender Equality and UN-Women Regional Office for Arab States, organized a series of activities and events to commemorate the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence for the year 2016.
The first activity included an online video competition targeting youth (up to 25 years old) in the Arab region. Youth were requested to submit a 30-second video addressing a question on How to stop violence against women?. Kourken Papazian was selected as the winner of this competition for his video ‘Covering Up’. A first year student at LAU, Papazian will be hosted by a T.V. show to honor his work, which will also be promoted on UN Radio.
The second activity of the campaign was hosted by ESCWA on 9 December 2016. It included a panel discussion on “Estimating the Cost of Violence against Women in the Arab Region”. The panel discussion aimed at raising awareness and galvanizing action to ensure safe spaces for all. Speakers addressed the situation of violence against women in the region, case studies on emergency safe sheltering for women and girls survivors of gender-based violence and the ESCWA intervention on estimating the cost of violence against women in the Arab region. The panel discussion that was facilitated by Director of IWSAW Lina Abirafeh, included various discussants: Regional Director of UN-Women Arab States Office Mohamed Naciri, who provided an overview of the situation of violence against women in the Arab region; and Founder and Director of ABAAD Ghida Anani, who provided an on-the-ground example of services for survivors of violence offered by Abaad’s shelter. The discussion was concluded by an intervention from Director of ESCWA Center for Women Mehrinaz El Awady, who presented ESCWA and UN Women joint initiative to address violence against women through their two-phased regional project on estimating the economic cost of violence.
In closure of this campaign, ESCWA and its partners held today a public event aimed at engaging the public and shaping public opinion on the topic. This event featured the launch of the song “Kermali” by the artist Mike Massy (produced with the participation of women survivors of violence); a musical performance by the band “Bint Al Massarwa”; and a theatre play on protection of women from sexual violence. In her opening remarks at the event, El Awady emphasized the importance of estimating the economic cost of violence as a policy tool towards reform. She shared best practices in this area from the international and regional levels, including the Egyptian experience.