Gaza Community Mental Health Programme has recently conducted a workshop with the participation of Dr. Mohammed Abu-Shahla, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GCMHP, Ms. Manal Alherbawi, psychologist at GCMHP, Ms. Amal Syam, Director of the Centre for Women’s Affairs, Ms. Reem Freina, Executive Director of Aisha Association for the Protection of Women and Children, and Ms. Heba Zayyan Head of UN Women in Gaza. Representatives of ministries, women organisations, civil societies, and professionals in the field attended the workshop as well.
Dr. Abu-Shahla opened the workshop by welcoming the audience emphasising that celebrating women on this day is a progressive gesture in the sense of moral and value progress rather than financial progress. He pointed out the many accomplishments which women in general and the Palestinian women in specific have achieved. He viewed the leading role which the Palestinian women have at the GCMHP as they are responsible for senior and influential positions inside the programme. He talked about their important role in the professional success of the programme.
During the workshop four papers were presented: ‘The Reality of the Palestinian Woman in the Current Political, Social and Economic Situation,’ presented by Ms. Syam; ‘The Psychological Effects of the Current Situation on the Palestinian Woman in the Gaza Strip,’ presented by Ms. Alherbawi; ‘The reality of the Services Provided for GBV victims and the Level at which they meet the needs of Women in the Gaza Strip,’ presented by Ms. Freina; and finally ‘Interventions and Projects Implemented by UN Women and Future Possibilities,’ presented by Ms. Zayyan.
At the end of the workshop Ms. Enas Jouda from GCMHP chaired a discussion and a Q&A session. The outcome of the workshop was manifested in a number of recommendations some of which include demanding the international community including the UN to pressure the Israeli occupation to lift the siege completely by opening the borders and ending the sanctions on the Strip which would contribute to protecting the women and alleviating the pressure on them. The participants also recommended the necessity to end the Palestinian division and to include the women in the process of reconciliation. In addition, the importance of enhancing the participation of women in the workforce and guaranteeing they have their legal work rights as mentioned in the labour law. Gender mainstreaming is essential in policies, tools and human resources to improve the quality of the services provided for victims of GBV. Also, there is a necessity to activate the national referral system of GBV cases. The participants also added that there should be more support for civil and women organisations along with those that provide mental health services to women in the Gaza Strip through an integrated and effective system of referral and cooperation between all sectors.
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
Public Relations and Media Unit