Ambassador Berger addressing community members of Dawar village in Benban, Aswan on FGM


Ambassador Berger addressing community members of Dawar village of Benban in Aswan on FGM

5 March 2023

Dear guests, representatives of Benban and its religious leaders, dear colleagues from UNDP, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Aswan Governorate, dear Dr Mona Amin.

Thank you for extending the invitation to the European Union to this event, in this historic place where the successful campaign against FGM was launched 18 years ago.  From the very start until today, the EU has accompanied and supported this very important civil society initiative. 

I would like to commend the efforts exerted through the different social protection initiatives led by MoSS and other ministerial initiatives that have served the most vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic and recent crisis caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Let me emphasis that the EU, its Member States, and European financial institutions are committed to support Egypt during these difficult times.

The EU is proud to support the Egyptian Government efforts under The Waai Programme to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women including Female Genital Mutilation and early child marriage.

Gender based violence is not only a violation of human rights.  It is a horrific phenomenon, which has devastating consequences on health, education among other negative social impacts.  The facts are shocking across the world: one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence. One in five girls today are victims of child sexual abuse. Online violence is on the rise, with one in two young women experiencing gender-based cyber violence.

The EU and its Member States attach great importance to actions against gender-based violence.  Together with the UN, the EU launched a gender initiative, 'Spotlight', to address harmful practices including violence against women and girls around the globe.  EU funded programmes support a wide range of areas including access to education, school feeding, child protection and development, street children, and girlsempowerment, and protection from child marriage, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices.

Today, this event witnesses a key milestones of the campaign against FGM and to increase the awareness of everyone towards this important issue.

Through this project, we are supporting the different activities of the Waai Programme.  Training for and by the social workers (Rural Raaedat) have been delivered to increase the awareness across the country and in particular the villages benefiting from Hayah Karima initiative.

It is great to see the effectiveness of the Waai programme through the work done by the community social workers and the handicrafts produced by the women of Beneban Village.

We still have a lot of work in front of us toward securing a brighter future for girls and women, especially in the times of recent health and economic crisis.  Thus, we are looking forward for more intensive campaigns and trainings through the Rural Raaedat and different media tools.

The European Union remains committed to supporting the Waai Programme and in particular combating any sort of violence against women.  A great appreciation to the leadership of H.E. Dr. Niveen El Kabbag and the UNDP for their commitment and for the cooperation with the European Union.  And a great appreciation for the people of Benban, for their foresight, enthusiasm and strong perseverance to eradicate FGM, a crime and violation of women and girls rights.