Kids playing with marbles- CC via Wikimedia Kids playing with marbles- CC via Wikimedia

Egypt’s 1st national anti-bullying campaign against peer-to-peer violence

Thu, Sep. 6, 2018
CAIRO - 6 September 2018- Under the auspices of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), Egypt’s first national campaign calling to end peer-to-peer violence was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE) in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and funded by the European Union (EU).

Bullying is a type of violence intentionally and repeatedly exercised by a child on another child in person or online, ranging from physical harm to verbal and psychological abuse which can lead to exclusion, depression and sometimes suicide. It is a terrible phenomenon against which several actors have decided to join hands.

“No child should experience the anxiety and hurt that bullying puts them through, which – just as all types of violence against children – is likely to impair healthy brain development, cause low self-esteem and in severe cases can lead to suicidal feelings,” stated Dr. Azza Al Ashmawy, Secretary General of NCCM. “This campaign urges children, parents and caregivers to speak up against bullying in educational and non-educational settings and seek guidance from trained professionals through the national Child Helpline 16000 that provides 24/7 support and is also an active channel to report severe cases in which the safety of a child is at risk.”

According to the latest global data, slightly more than 1 in 3 students aged 13-15 around the world experience bullying. While girls and boys are equally at risk of being bullied, girls are more likely to become victims of psychological forms of bullying and boys are more at risk of physical violence and threats.

A study conducted by NCCM and UNICEF in 2015 on three governorates showed that the highest level of violence facing children occurs at home, followed by school; with 29 to 47% of children (aged 13-17) reported that physical violence among peers was commonplace.

“The Ministry is fully supporting this important national campaign that we hope will raise awareness among our students, teachers and their communities to identify and address bullying,” said Dr. Tarek Shawky, Minister of Education and Technical Education, “As Egypt steadily moves towards a full transformation of its education system through Education 2.0, creating a safe and enjoyable learning environment for children is among our priorities.”

Private sector partners have showed their support to the campaign cause by committing to help spread its messages through their platforms. A number of national celebrities as well as UNICEF Egypt Ambassadors Actor Ahmed Helmy and Actress Mona Zaki, are echoing the campaign messages on social media and sharing their stance against bullying. The campaign encourages children and young people around the country to voice their experiences, views and solutions to end bullying using the campaign hashtag #IAmAgainstBullying.

“With the launch of this campaign, we are witnessing the continuation of national efforts to end all forms of violence against children in Egypt. We support these efforts through the different programmes the EU funds in the country, specifically through the project ‘Expanding Access to Education and Protection for At Risk Children’,” said Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt. “It is essential for the wellbeing and development of children to invest resources and efforts to secure a safe learning environment for all girls and boys, an environment that is free from peer to peer bullying at school and elsewhere,” he added.

The campaign launched last week, will last until the first week of October and will consist of three Public Service Announcements that will be disseminated on broadcast and social media, as well as outdoor awareness billboards that will be seen across Egypt. The digital platforms of the campaign partners will also disseminate advice and tips to children, parents, teachers and caregivers on ways to face bullying.

“Bullying disrupts the right of children to play and to learn. All children will benefit from a culture that refuses and speaks up against bullying, and keeps them safe from harm,” stated Mr. Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt. “We are optimistic that national efforts to prevent and respond to violence in and outside schools will continue to be enhanced by our partners.”
 
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