To fight sexual harassment, Egypt and UN team up to train women on kickboxing

Egypt’s Ministry of Youth and Sports on Friday wrapped up the activities of its “No to Harassment” initiative in Sharqiya Governorate, done in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Egyptian Kickboxing Federation.

Launched on Wednesday, the initiative aimed to arm over 1,000 young women from 27 governorates with self-defense skills.

It comes as part of the UNFPA’s and the ministry’s efforts to prioritize the needs of women/girls and put an end to sexual harassment, the UNFPA said in a statement.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Sharqiya Governorate, Wael al-Alfi, added that the initiative also included lectures to involve the topic of harassment and its punishment into law.

And it also involved teaching participants on self-defense, he said, such as identifying weak points in the human body, utilizing surrounding environment as an aid, various and common grips and ways to evade them.

“The initiative utilizes sports for development,”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 women 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 also one of the initial events to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence slated for November 25.

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.

The UNFPA said that an overall effort is in place to achieve three transformative results; ending the unmet needs 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 six months to five years, and up to LE50,000 in fines.

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