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Policy dialogues on violence against girls in Guelma Province

21.05.2019 / Created by (EMWF)
Policy dialogues on violence against girls in Guelma Province

In April 2019, the Information and communication among the youth of Guelma Association (INFO-COM Jeunes de Guelma) organized three policy dialogues, the first one took place at the youth house of Bouchegouf on April 20, the second at the youth house of Oued Zenati on April 27 and the third one at the youth inn in Guelma city in Algeria.

These dialogues were organized as a follow up to the advocacy campaign that INFO-COM Jeunes de Guelma had conducted in 2017 to disseminate articles 333 and 341 of the Criminal Code criminalizing verbal violence and sexual harassment against women and girls in public spaces. The dialogues also aimed at following up on the constraints for applying this law on the ground.

107 people participated in these highly interactive debates, including 7 elected members of the People’s Assembly (APW) of Guelma province and the Municipal People’s Assemblies (APC) of Bouchegouf, Guelma and Heliopolis, in addition to representatives of different political parties and local authorities operating in the sectors of youth and sports, national security, vocational training, academia, education, health, and religious affairs, as well as number of personalities from the private economic sector. Other key players such as Guelma regional radio, several NGOs and activists, lawyers, trade unionists, a university researcher and two young women’s football champions also participated in these meetings.

The debates focused on the situation of violence against women and the different efforts to combat it, including some awareness-raising actions carried out by the Guelma province authorities to support women’s sports associations and create a safe and favourable environment for the practice of sports and leisure activities by all people regardless of their gender. Yet much remains to be done and many recommendations have been proposed to speed up the fight against sexual harassment and verbal abuse against girls in Guelma, such as:

  • Enhancing the role of schools and educational entities in preventing violence against girls and women.
  • Stablishing internal regulations for mutual respect between girls and boys in youth institutions.
  • Reiterating on the role of local NGOs to raise young people and their parents’ awareness and provide them with necessary information, as well as strengthening NGOs capacity to disseminate the laws extensively and reach a wider audience.
  • Engaging religious leaders in transmitting speeches and values ​​of respect and non-violence.
  • Engaging the media through reports, programs, spots, films...
  • Improving school transportation for students living far from schools and training centres, as well as monitoring the behaviour of drivers responsible for school and university transportation.
  • Strengthening security in public gardens and tourist areas by increasing the number of facilitators, police officers and mediators.
  • Facilitating legal procedures to encourage the provision of testimonies and the filing of complaints by the victims as well as by associations as a civil party (e.g., providing the honour certificate for the declaration of cases of verbal violence).
  • Increasing the penalties for abusers regardless of the age of the victim (less or more than 16 years old) and refining the definition of the word harassment in the law, as this current term is quite broad, and it differs from one region to another in Algeria.
  • Raising awareness on sexual harassment and violence against girls on social media and imposing severe sanctions on cyber-harassment.
  • Imposing sanctions on refraining from providing assistance to women who are abused or harassed in public places, as well as on those who refrain from declaring or denouncing these acts.
  • Involving the university to launch thematic scientific and academic research.

To promote equal opportunities in the practice of sport and leisure activities and the occupation of public spaces without discrimination based on gender, it is expected that certain measures will be adopted in the short term by Guelma’s local authorities, including the installation of CCTV cameras and the adoption of agreements between the town halls responsible for school transport and the Vocational Training Department in order to make local school and university transport safer.

In the coming months, INFO-COM will follow up on the commitments and recommendations made during April dialogues and will work with a group of local associations and relevant public institutions to draw up a charter for youth and sports establishments.

These policy dialogues are part of the project CSO WINS project « Capacity building in Southern Mediterranean to open policy dialogue and monitoring for women in society » funded by the European Union.

CSO WINS is coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) within the framework of the action of the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM), in partnership with the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association – Asala, Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), Association Djazairouna for the Victims of Terrorism, Forum Femmes Méditerranée (FFM), the Federation of Women´s Rights’ Leagues (Fédération des ligues des droits des femmes, FLDF) and the Euro-Mediterranean Academic and Scientific Network on Women and Gender (Réseau universitaire et scientifique euro-méditerranéen sur les femmes et le genre – RUSEMEG).

To learn more about the policy dialogues implemented within the framework of the CSO WINS project in 2019 click here.  It is worth mentioning that the aforementioned advocacy campaign won the national contest for the best associative project in Algeria against violence against women and girls by the Ministry of National Solidarity.


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