The annual ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign’ led by UN Women concluded in December 2015, but the topic remains relevant all year round. The campaign calls upon activists, governments and United Nations partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls.

The 2015 campaign theme, ’From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All’, speaks significantly to the work of UNRWA in Gaza. UNRWA, through its relief and social services and education programmes and its Gender Initiative, continued the awareness-raising activities on early marriage, adolescent health, gender-based violence (GBV) and women’s human rights. These activities were held in coordination with local organizations and seven women programme centres (WPCs). Community development social workers from the relief and social services programme (RSSP), in coordination with lawyers from the legal units at the WPCs, conducted a series of awareness sessions targeting male and females students from UNRWA preparatory schools across the Gaza Strip. Issues including early marriage, GBV, and adolescent health were discussed. A total of 443 females and 254 males benefited from the awareness sessions conducted at the WPCs.

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Fifteen-year-old Mohamed al-Nimja was among 18 other students from al-Maghazi Preparatory Boys School B who came to al-Maghazi WPC to attend an awareness session facilitated by an RSSP community development social worker and a lawyer from the legal unit at the WPC. “I came here to know more about women’s rights – we are trying to understand things correctly,” said Mohamed. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam.

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Maha Abu Singir, a student from al-Maghazi Girls’ Secondary School, engages in a discussion with a lawyer from the legal unit at al-Maghazi WPC during the activities held for the 16 days campaign. “I came here today because I wanted to know more about this campaign, about my rights. I wanted to continue my education because I know that it is my power. I wanted to be a source of pride for my family and for my community as well,” Maha commented confidently. “I know that being deprived of a good education will result in being deprived of many other things; therefore, education is very important to women in my community,” she added. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam


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Ayman Abu Musabeh, a lawyer from the legal unit at al-Maghazi WPC, explains to a group of male students the aim of this campaign and why it is so important. “Our target is preparatory schools students. We gave them the chance to see things differently, and then they spread the knowledge they gain through these awareness sessions,” said Mr. Musabeh. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam