From Where I Stand: “My biggest achievement is that I have changed myself and changed people.”
Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Mohamed Magdy is a volunteer in Imbaba, Giza with UN Women’s Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) programme, working to raise awareness of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Before joining the programme, Mohamed did not have constructive thoughts and beliefs about gender equality and women’s empowerment, but now he is working to change his community to become safer for and more inclusive of women and girls.
“I knew about the programme but I wasn’t very interested until one day while walking on the streets I saw a girl get physically harassed by a tuktuk driver. She screamed and fainted due to the shock of the harassment. Seeing her like that pushed me to join the programme, in order to stop other incidents like this from happening again.
After joining the programme, I learned about the different forms of violence that women face and the effect it has on them – this is something I had never noticed or realized before. In addition to the programme activities, I always try to talk with my friends and my community members to raise their awareness of this issue and convince them to help stop violence against women.
I also try to encourage my married friends to support their wives in pursuing their careers and talents, so that they can benefit themselves and the community as a whole. Some of them don’t listen to me. My biggest challenge is trying to talk with those who believe that a woman can only do household chores and cook - that they cannot work. However, I managed to convince others and change the way treat their wives and now, they allow them to work.
Before joining the programme, I didn’t have constructive thoughts about these issues and I never paid attention to them; but now, I have constructed positive ideas and beliefs about gender equality and women’s empowerment.
My biggest achievement is that I have changed myself and changed people. I have changed what people around me think of women, how they speak to them and treat them.”
This programme is implemented by UN Women in partnership with The National Council for Women, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, CARE International in Egypt, and five local NGOs in the intervention areas, and with the generous support of USAID/Egypt.
Youth volunteers are one of the main active players in the programme and its objective of raising awareness of gender equality and women’s empowerment in communities. Different creative methodologies are used to raise awareness, such as interactive theater, sports days, art therapy, and self-defense training. Mohamed is a volunteer in the interactive theater and sports days activities.
Mohamed’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal 5 that aims to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.