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16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence December 2018 Rural Damascus

English

With a view to raising awareness about GBV-related issues, emphasizing the rejection of thisand all forms of violence, introducing the concept and types of GBV, discussing its causes and consequences, proposing solutions to reduce it, and stressing the importance of reporting in case of exposure, the Syrian Society for Social Development organized an event on the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence under the slogan Safety and Equality atHome, at Work and Everywhere at the SSSD community centres in Rural Damascus (Jaramana, al-Hameh, ‘Adra Industrial Zone) and in the ‘Adra Workers’ Housing neighbourhood.

The event included activities and awareness sessions carried out within the community centres. The aim of the event was to recapitulate and highlight the awareness campaigns carried out throughout 2018 on all GBV-related topics that targeted all age groups. Several outdoor activities were also carried out, including candlelit marches in both Jaramana and al-Hameh and the distribution of leaflets on GBV-related issues.

 

1 - Jaramana

During the 16-day campaign against GBV, the SSSD team targeted women throughawareness-raising sessionson sexual harassment and abuse, early marriage and intimate partner violence,the importance of education for girls andwomen’s right to work, with a view to women’s empowermentin various aspects of life.

In addition, external activities were carried out that aimed at raising awareness among adolescent boys and girls about the concept of gender discrimination and the importance of gender equality. Such activities included a mixed-gender football match held at the Jaramana Municipal Stadium between the CC adolescentsand a similar mixed-gender basketball game played at the Jaramana Basketball Court. The two games were punctuated by several recreational activities and dances performed by the CC adolescents, awareness activities about women’s rights,with emphasis on women’s right to work and the importance of gender equality in terms of opportunities, services and available/provided resources.

With the participation of the Women’s Committees, children of the Child Protection Club and some school girls, wall paintings were executedon the wall of the Haitham Abdu-s-Salam School, expressing the rights of the child and the right of the girl to education. The first mural featured raised hands representing fundamental rights, each handrepresenting one of these rights (the rights to equality, to education, to health care, to opinion, to play, etc.). The second mural, entitled Teach them…, reflected the importance of education for children regardless of gender. The third muralfeatured the campaign’s mottoSafety and Equality at Home, at Work and Everywhere. The fourth muralrepresenteda group of children carrying their notebooks.The fifth mural was a graffiti with the slogan Education IS Safety.At the end of the activity the children distributed GBV leaflets to passers-by and all participants were thanked for their assistance.

In order to emphasize the importance of reporting GBV in case of exposure, a candlelit vigil was carried out in the vicinity of the Swords Square, Jaramana, with members of the Women’s Committees and children of the CP Club holding placards about gender equality, women’s rights, No to Violence signs and the importance of GBV reporting.

After that, the march began around the Swords Square, led by the Damascus Scouts Band, with the participation of SSSD volunteers and the CP Club, carrying placards with GBV-related slogans.At the end of the march, the Scouts performed their music in the courtyard and Women’s Committee members and female passers-by raised placardsagainst gender discrimination. Anti-GBV leaflets were distributed and a panto sketch featured a battered woman who resorted tolaw to solve her problem. “Violence against women is inadmissible,” said a man from the audience.“With determination and perseverance women can overcome violence against them,” said a woman.

After that, a drama sketch about early marriage was presented, highlighting the problems facing girls married off at an early age. The performance was an occasion to discuss the causes and consequences of GBV. “This marriage is unlawful and must be invalidated,” commented a man.

Weconcluded the activity with a final march around the Squarewith the participation of the Scouts, the CP Club and Women’s Committee members.

In order to emphasize the complementary roles of men and women, the right of women to choose the work they want and their ability to exercise all professions, one of the streets of the Karm Smadi neighbourhood was specially prepared and the CC female volunteers dressed in the outfit of occupationsusually reserved for men (wall painter,gas seller,mechanic,blacksmith, etc.). Every volunteer carried a slogan (“I can,”We’re equal, aren’t we?”“What prevents?”) in order to emphasize gender equality. One of the women said, “There’s nothing shameful in work. It’s one of women’s rights. What you’re doing is really wonderful!” Another woman shared a personal experience. “I was truly thrilled by what I saw because I had experienced a phase in my life when I had to connect a gas cylinder, repair faucets, etc., all by myself,” she said. One woman enquired about the reason why women were dressed like that, while other womenwere surprisedthat women could exercisesuch professions. So, it was explained to them that the aim was to express the importance of women’s role in community and their ability to play it effectively.

With the participation of members of the Women’s Committee, we also heldplacards highlighting the obstacles facing women and preventing them from assuming their role in community. “Deprivation of resources and opportunities harms women and,consequently,causes social disintegration.It also leads to total marginalization of women,” said one woman.

In the meantime, one of the SSSD volunteers,dressed infolk clothes,poured Arabic coffee for passers-by. Leaflets were also distributed. At the end of the activity, CP Clubmembers presented a dabké dance.

Finally, we asked for some supportive messages, such as: “Say what’s on your mind,” “Don’t let the 16-Day event pass like that,” “Be strong,” etc.).

The event was closed at the Waqf Hall, Jaramana, with the CC children and teens performing a group dance and thanking the beneficiaries for their attendance and participation.

 
2 - Al-Hameh

During the 16-day campaign against GBV, the SSSD team targeted women throughawareness-raising sessionson sexual harassment and abuse, early marriage and intimate partner violence,the importance of education for girls andwomen’s right to work, with a view to women’s empowermentin various aspects of life.

In addition, external activities were carried out that aimed at raising awareness among adolescent boys and girls about the concept of gender discrimination and the importance of gender equality. Such activities included a mixed-gender football match held at the Jaramana Municipal Stadium between the CC adolescentsand a similar mixed-gender basketball game played at the Jaramana Basketball Court. The two games were punctuated by several recreational activities and dances performed by the CC adolescents, awareness activities about women’s rights,with emphasis on women’s right to work and the importance of gender equality in terms of opportunities, services and available/provided resources.

With the participation of the Women’s Committees, children of the Child Protection Club and some school girls, wall paintings were executedon the wall of the Haitham Abdu-s-Salam School, expressing the rights of the child and the right of the girl to education. The first mural featured raised hands representing fundamental rights, each handrepresenting one of these rights (the rights to equality, to education, to health care, to opinion, to play, etc.). The second mural, entitled Teach them…, reflected the importance of education for children regardless of gender. The third muralfeatured the campaign’s mottoSafety and Equality at Home, at Work and Everywhere. The fourth muralrepresenteda group of children carrying their notebooks.The fifth mural was a graffiti with the slogan Education IS Safety.At the end of the activity the children distributed GBV leaflets to passers-by and all participants were thanked for their assistance.

In order to emphasize the importance of reporting GBV in case of exposure, a candlelit vigil was carried out in the vicinity of the Swords Square, Jaramana, with members of the Women’s Committees and children of the CP Club holding placards about gender equality, women’s rights, No to Violence signs and the importance of GBV reporting.

After that, the march began around the Swords Square, led by the Damascus Scouts Band, with the participation of SSSD volunteers and the CP Club, carrying placards with GBV-related slogans.At the end of the march, the Scouts performed their music in the courtyard and Women’s Committee members and female passers-by raised placardsagainst gender discrimination. Anti-GBV leaflets were distributed and a panto sketch featured a battered woman who resorted tolaw to solve her problem. “Violence against women is inadmissible,” said a man from the audience.“With determination and perseverance women can overcome violence against them,” said a woman.

After that, a drama sketch about early marriage was presented, highlighting the problems facing girls married off at an early age. The performance was an occasion to discuss the causes and consequences of GBV. “This marriage is unlawful and must be invalidated,” commented a man.

Weconcluded the activity with a final march around the Squarewith the participation of the Scouts, the CP Club and Women’s Committee members.

In order to emphasize the complementary roles of men and women, the right of women to choose the work they want and their ability to exercise all professions, one of the streets of the Karm Smadi neighbourhood was specially prepared and the CC female volunteers dressed in the outfit of occupationsusually reserved for men (wall painter,gas seller,mechanic,blacksmith, etc.). Every volunteer carried a slogan (“I can,”We’re equal, aren’t we?”“What prevents?”) in order to emphasize gender equality. One of the women said, “There’s nothing shameful in work. It’s one of women’s rights. What you’re doing is really wonderful!” Another woman shared a personal experience. “I was truly thrilled by what I saw because I had experienced a phase in my life when I had to connect a gas cylinder, repair faucets, etc., all by myself,” she said. One woman enquired about the reason why women were dressed like that, while other womenwere surprisedthat women could exercisesuch professions. So, it was explained to them that the aim was to express the importance of women’s role in community and their ability to play it effectively.

With the participation of members of the Women’s Committee, we also heldplacards highlighting the obstacles facing women and preventing them from assuming their role in community. “Deprivation of resources and opportunities harms women and,consequently,causes social disintegration.It also leads to total marginalization of women,” said one woman.

In the meantime, one of the SSSD volunteers,dressed infolk clothes,poured Arabic coffee for passers-by. Leaflets were also distributed. At the end of the activity, CP Clubmembers presented a dabké dance.

Finally, we asked for some supportive messages, such as: “Say what’s on your mind,” “Don’t let the 16-Day event pass like that,” “Be strong,” etc.).

The event was closed at the Waqf Hall, Jaramana, with the CC children and teens performing a group dance and thanking the beneficiaries for their attendance and participation.

3 - Sett Zeinab

The 16-day event to combat violence against women coincided with the opening of the Sett Zeinab Community Centre, which was an occasion to introduce the community to GBV-related topics and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

The Centrewas prepared to receive various age and community groups. The event lasted from December 1 to December 10 and included awareness sessions on various GBV-related topics, targeting various groups, as well as recreational activities and singing in whichall the CC’s children and adolescents, boys and girls alike, participated.

4 - ‘Adra

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, the SSSD team operating at the‘Adra Industrial Zone and ‘Adra Workers’Housing carried out several awareness and recreational activities.

Based on the fact that women are halfthe society and raise the other half, and sinceknowledge is our safe-conduct to the future and education is indispensable for girls, a library was designed in the form of a girl’s head and assembled at the Farah Community Centre, ‘Adra Industrial Zone. This event was part of the 16-Daysof Activism Against Gender-based Violence, in recognition of women’s right to complete their education and raise awareness against depriving the girls of their lawful right to get educated.The CC’s women arranged the books on the bookshelves and set up a mechanism to borrow books. One of them said, “You truly made my day! Even though I am old, I really want to borrow books, readand broaden my culture!”

At the end of the activity, two video clips were presented, one discussing the importance of education for girls and the other explaining the obstacles to girls’ education. Products of women who followed the vocational training courses at the CC were also exhibited.

Regarding external campaigns, several awareness sessions were held at the ‘Adra el-Balad School on GBV-related topics, in addition to recreational activities targeting children and adolescent boys and girls.

At the AbuRashed Hall, ‘Adra Workers’ Housing, various awareness-raising activities on GBV-related topics were conducted, such asan awareness presentation on reproductive health issues, in view of the absence of a nearby medical point that women can visit. Breast cancer was also focused on, with methods of self-examination presented, as well as and the importance of periodic checking at the doctor’s. Drama sketches, songs and recreational activities were also presented.

Other activities were held at al-Laith Hall, ‘Adra Industrial Zone, with awareness and recreational activities.

One of the girls: “Thanks to the Farah Centre, thanks to their support and encouragement, I returned to my school.To all who participated in such a wonderful humanitarian work I say: THANK YOU!”

The event was concluded with a promo presentation of all campaigns carried out from the beginning of the year. Thus, the women could recapitulateall the major topics discussed with them during the year, most notably the early marriage campaign, the girl’s right to education campaign and the importance of reporting GBV and intimate partner violence. The womenrecalled many of the details discussed during those campaigns and the information they hadlearned.