UNRWA kicks off 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) with mini TV series

27 November 2019
A student at the UNRWA Rimal Preparatory Girls’ School “A” in Gaza shows off her artwork at a GBV awareness raising event. © 2019 UNRWA photo by Ibrahim Abu Usheiba

On the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), an international advocacy and awareness-raising campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is reiterating its call for gender equality and ending gender based violence under the theme Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV)”. A series of events are being organized in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to mark the Agency’s commitment to respond, prevent and mitigate GBV within Palestine refugee communities.

“Despite years of advocacy by the UN and others on womens rights, so much of what is now universally recognized as GBV is still very difficult to discuss publicly, said the head of the gender section at UNRWA Ms. Sana Jelassi. In the last two years, UNRWA has stepped up its activities in support of women and girls, in large part to empower them in the face of violence they might be facing within their own communities.”

As part of the activities it is planning, UNRWA will screen The Shop of Engineer Linas Father”, a TV mini-series which was entirely shot and produced in Gaza over the last year to raise awareness about gender stereotypes that underpin GBV, child marriage and sexual abuse of boys. The six-episode mini-series uses characters that the Palestine refugee communities can relate to and addresses the complex subject of GBV  by use at times of a comic approach to tackle the issues that might otherwise be too culturally sensitive to discuss even in closed circles.

“When it comes to gender equality, there is so much that we at UNRWA can be proud of,” said UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General Mr. Christian Saunders. “Our schools achieved gender parity in the 1960s and almost two-thirds of the UNRWA budget goes to programmes and services that contribute to achieving gender equality. However, there is so much still to be done and our priority must be to further empower women and to reduce gender gaps, to eliminate all forms of discrimination and prevent and respond to situations of violence and abuse against women and children.”

This year UNRWA provided assistance to nearly 5,000 women, girls, men and boys survivors of GBV. This assistance included psychosocial support, health care, legal counseling and other services despite the reduced funding to the Agency.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140