East Jerusalem: fighting violence against women through their inclusion
20-12-2018 | di COOPI

East Jerusalem: fighting violence against women through their inclusion

The state of poverty and lack of future perspectives in East Jerusalem as related to the current geo-political context have been having serious psychological consequences on the lives of Palestinian people. Over the last few years, the Arab Center for Counseling and Education (ACCE) has been reporting an increase in anxiety disorders, with serious consequences at family and school level. Besides cases of domestic violence happening more and more often, students’ attention span and their ability to achieve results are also being damaged, resulting in an increase in school dropout rates among male and female students (ACCE, Strategic Plan 2016-2020).

The impact of the Israeli occupation - alongside gender inequality being the result of socio-cultural barriers - has been aggravating the conditions of most Palestinian women in East Jerusalem. Many of them have been, and are, victims of violence. Their rights are not always recognised and they are frequently forced to face an unequal situation in terms of participation in the labor force and of remuneration. Indeed, only 19% of women are employed, earning an average 41% less than men.

The COOPI project "Our lives, our future. Protection resilience and empowerment of East Jerusalem most vulnerable Palestinian women” funded by AICS (the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) and launched in October, aims to address the protection needs of the most vulnerable population in East Jerusalem. The project will focus on women who are survivors or at risk of gender and/or political violence in Silwan and Issawya, two of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

COOPI works in partnership with two local organizations (ACCE and YWCA, the Young Women's Christian Association) in order to guarantee access to gender-based violence response services and local technical-vocational trainings for more than 900 women.

The expected results are the following:

  • Community-based organizations will be trained in gender protection and gender violence in order to address emergency situations;
  • 20 women in Issawya and Silwan will be trained in leadership skills and psychosocial first aid in order to become agents of change within the community;
  • 90 women survived or at risk of violence will be involved in psychosocial support groups and referred to the appropriate local service providers;
  • Around 800 women will be referred to individual counseling services offered duiring community open days.

Additionally, the project will allow to develop the technical skills of 120 women in order to enhance their inclusion in the job market. Over the span of 20 “career days”, COOPI and the project partners will introduce vocational training courses and opportunities in terms of income generation and improvement in the quality of life. 120 women will be trained in hair-styling and make up, with a personal tutor providing them support in recruiting and starting their private micro-business.

The intervention will develop a multi-sectorial support network able to break the isolation of the vulnerable women in Silwan and Issawya. By investing in their potential, the project will foster their economic empowerment with a positive impact on family and community life.