Gaza, 17 January 2019 – UN-Habitat jointly with UN Women held a closing ceremony to celebrate with partners, beneficiaries and stakeholders the achievements of the two-year innovative programme that aimed to advance women’s and youth’s human rights and improve their participation in post- conflict reconstruction and recovery in the Gaza Strip

The programme was funded by the Government of Kingdom of Belgium **and implemented by UN-Habitat and UN Women, in cooperation with the Palestinian Housing Council, AISHA Association for Women and Child Protection, and Gateway for Outsourcing Information, with the objective of improving the urban environment and the living conditions of the marginalized groups, in particular children and youth. Through this project digital technologies **(such as MineCraft) were utilized as a lever for women’s and youth’s participation in establishing three safe and gender responsive public spaces that promote participation, accountability, empowerment and inclusion; benefiting more than 130,000 residents who suffer from continues stress and fragile social cohesion.

Three safe and inclusive public spaces were developed under this programme, the third and last public space, located in Al-Zawayda town – middle of Gaza Strip, was inaugurated on Dec 31, 2018. The development of Al-Zawayda community garden was accompanied by several activities that promoted community engagement, especially youth and women, in the post-conflict reconstruction process in Gaza Strip, women empowerment, and youth and adolescent’s civic engagement. More than 4,450 youth and adolescents benefited from training programs and awareness raising workshops on civic participation, gender equality concepts and GBV prevention and response.

Digital technologies as a pillar were utilized to build the capacity of 17 young educated female architects, local councils’ staff and professionals on the development of gender inclusive, safe and accessible public infrastructure that are free from violence against women. Taking the advantage of the growing ICT business in the Gaza Strip, digital application on CEDAW and UNSCR 1235 and online reporting application to report SGBV were developed to increase the awareness of women and adolescent girls on their human rights and their diverse roles especially in post-conflict and fragile settings. Nine female architects were offered paid job placements in the targeted municipalities and were engaged in the participatory design process of the public spaces, with aim of giving them the needed skills and expertise to enter the labor market.