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Safe Cities Free From Violence Against Women and Girls

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Speeches Shim

Woman at renovated playground
The Safe Cities project is enhancing community-based services for rehabilitation, health, and legal support for survivors and their families.
UN Women/Nada Ismail

Across the world, violence against women and girls remains one of the most serious human rights violations, both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and discrimination. The issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG) is now positioned as a priority in the Government of Egypt’s Vision 2030.

Through the Safe Cities activity, USAID works to end violence against women and girls by combating sexual harassment, promoting legislative reforms, and improving support mechanisms for victims. This activity also supports advocacy efforts to promote a culture of zero tolerance for violence against women and promotes initiatives to make public spaces safer for women and girls. The activity is implemented under the auspices of the National Council for Women (NCW).

Implementing Partner: UN Women; Life of Project: October 2013 – September 2021; Total Estimated Cost: $8 million; Governorates: Nationwide, with specific interventions in Alexandria, Beni Suef, Cairo, Dakahliya, Fayoum, Giza, Minya, Qalyoubia.


  • Improve policy and legal frameworks to respond and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls.
  • Increase coordination between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government partners to synchronize efforts on combating violence against women and girls.
  • Strengthen the institutional capacities of first responders and the Government of Egypt’s Women’s Complaints Office to improve the quality of services provided to survivors of violence against women and girls.
  • Provide women with access to safe spaces free from violence against women and sexual harassment.
  • Support advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns to change perceptions about violence against women and girls and the blame culture. 


Policy and legal framework

  • Supported the Government of Egypt’s efforts to issue Presidential Decree No. 50 of 2014, which modified articles in the country’s penal code, criminalized sexual harassment in Egypt for the first time in its history, and prescribed severe punishment for sexual assault.
  • Led coordination among the Ministry of Justice, NCW, UN agencies, and other stakeholders in the development of Egypt’s first National Strategy on Combating Violence against Women (2015-2020), which serves as a blueprint for national provision of victim services, a nationwide referral system, and improved legal protection against all forms of violence against women.

Institutional capacities

  • Trained 3,000 service providers, including doctors in local health units, representatives from faith-based organizations, and CSO staff on assisting victims of violence to access health, psychological, and legal services, and economic opportunities. Since 2015, these service providers have helped more than 50,000 people access services and resources, and they have reached 40,000 community members through awareness raising activities.
  • Trained 2,700 prosecutors on how to review and prosecute cases of violence against women, and strengthened their role as first responders to victims of violence.
  • Increased the capacity of the Government of Egypt’s Women’s Complaints Office, which houses the National Domestic Violence Hotline, to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide women survivors of violence with access to pro bono legal services and psychosocial and health support.

Services for women

  • Upgraded four women’s shelters in 6 October City, Alexandria, Mansoura, and Minya governorates to accommodate more survivors and to serve as a one-stop shop for victims of domestic and sexual violence. The number of women and children hosted in the shelters has increased by more than 50 percent since the beginning of the activity.
  • Supported the establishment of Egypt’s first on-campus and university-sanctioned Anti-Harassment Unit at Cairo University to raise awareness among students of the different forms of violence against women, and to provide services and resources to student victims.
  • Facilitated the creation of two community-owned, safe public spaces for women and girls in Imbaba and Ezzbet el Haggana, equipped with safety and security features that diminish the likelihood of sexual harassment, and which provide women’s empowerment activities.

Awareness raising and outreach activities

  • Conducted extensive community outreach through trained community workers who visited more than 18,000 households and provided information on shelters as safe accommodation for women survivors of violence, as well as other resources, including psychosocial support and legal advice. More than 52,000 women were referred to relevant services.
  • Launched three nationwide awareness campaigns on women’s empowerment: “Speak-up” in 2016, “Taa’ Marbouta” in 2017, and “our Mental Health is our Priority” in 2020. As a result, the Government of Egypt, through the NCW, promoted for first time national awareness of the importance of combating and reporting cases of violence against women.
  • Supported the production of the Egyptian film “Between Two Seas”, which spotlights societal issues related to women’s empowerment such as violence against women, female genital mutilation, and denial of education for girls. The film is available on Netflix and received a total of 22 national and international awards from Aswan International Women’s Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, and Festival International du Cinéma de la Diversité Taza (Morocco), among others.
  • Conducted a nation-wide survey on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on women and girls to inform and advance Egypt’s COVID-19 national response and recovery plan.


Last updated: September 23, 2021

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