Sawa is an independent, non-profit civil society organization established in 1998 by a group of female volunteers active in women’s issues. It aims to eliminate violence against women and children in all its forms and at all levels, through support services and community awareness-raising.
“We aim to be the lead organization working against the prevailing culture of violence and promoting a culture of peace and security, which serves human and community development in order to achieve a democratic society based on the principles of equality and social justice and on human rights.”
Sawa is a Palestinian nonprofit organization working against all types of violence against women and children. It aims at spreading a culture of non-violence and gender equality in Palestinian society through helping violence victims and advising community members in complete confidentiality. To best serve the community, Sawa networks with other interested parties, uses up-to-date technology and employs well-trained staff who can effectively render support and advice to violence victims.
1. Contribute toward eliminating all types of violence against women and children, especially gender-based and domestic violence.
2. To provide an opportunity for victims of violence to access safe support and protection.
3. To raise community awareness and bring the issue of violence out from the household domain into the community sphere.
4. To promote the spirit and values of voluntarism and mobilize community resources and support in addressing the issue of violence against women and children.
5. To be social entrepreneurs, using new technologies to provide social services.
Call Center—Women’s and Children’s Protection Line: A free national line providing preliminary support and guidance for women, male and female youth, and children who have experienced any form of violence, abuse, or neglect. In addition, the program provides accompaniment services to hospitals or the police for victims of physical, sexual, or psychological violence, and referrals to specialized organizations.
Our work is not limited to supporting callers over the phone; Sawa also provides counseling and support through e-mail, for those whose circumstances prevent their contacting us by phone.
The Call Center also offers medical and legal guidance in order to answer the specific needs of callers. The Call Center is staffed by a team of trained counselors skilled in offering support using communications technologies.
Outreach Education and Mobile Clinic: Sawa conducts workshops and awareness-raising meetings for different sectors of the community, publishes printed educational materials on physical and sexual violence, sex education topics, in addition to training professionals working in fields relevant to our work.
Volunteer and Training Program: Recruits, trains, and supports male and female volunteers to offer counseling and supporting, and awareness-raising activities through our programs.
History and Accomplishments
1998- Establishment of the Women’s Protection Hotline through volunteer efforts and individual donations of necessities such as office space and equipment. Volunteers received the appropriate training and began to operate the Hotline.
2004- Establishment of the Child Protection Helpline 121, aiming to provide support and counseling to children and male and female youth experiencing any type of violence, abuse, or neglect.
2005- Sawa becomes a member of Child Helpline International (CHI), which includes members from 120 ountries.
2006- Palestinian Telecommunications provides a free phone line to the Call Center.
2006- Start of the volunteer training course for the 121 Helpline, which took 80 hours in total.
2007- Trained Sawa staff begin operating the Helpline and providing psychological support to callers, and documenting incoming calls by hand daily.
2007- Sawa begins offering training to professionals in various fields on how to work with women and children victims of violence.
2007- In cooperation with the Forum for Palestinian Non‐Governmental Organizations against Violence against Women, Sawa publishes a report documenting and discussing so-called “honor killings” (femicide).
2009- In keeping with Sawa’s commitment to shed light on topics considered “taboo”, Sawa publishes a report on the trafficking of women in Palestine, which generated great interest at many different levels.
2009- Sawa begins using its Caller Information Database to document incoming calls, increasing call documentation from 300 calls monthly to 100 calls monthly.
2010- Volunteer training hours increase from 80 hours to 110 hours due to the addition of 30 hours of practical, on-the-job training.
2010- Sawa wins the Arab Gulf Fund for United Nations Development for pioneering human development projects under the category for civil society organizations. The 2010 prize was awarded for projects strengthening the use of new communications technologies to develop rural and marginalized communities.
2010- Implementation of the “Let’s Talk!” project, which aims to bolster a culture of communication and open and direct discussion between parents and children during the period of adolescence.
2011- Establishment of the Mobile Clinic Program which aims to raise awareness in distant and marginalized areas on the subjects of women’s and children’s rights and the different forms of violence, based upon needs documented through the Call Center.
2011- Integration of a PRI system, a phone line including 30 lines in one. This system allows Sawa to receive more calls without unacceptable pressure on the line. The system has contributed to raising the average number of documented calls to more than 1600 calls per month.
2011- Canadian company PC Best donates a soft-phone program which can be integrated with the Caller Information Database to open in the same window, which helps Call Center counselors to concentrate on supporting callers. This has increased the number of beneficiaries and raised the number of documented calls to more than 2000 each month.
2011- Sawa begins participating in an interesting regional project aiming to involve men and boys in the struggle against gender-based violence in the Middle East. Sawa began the project by conducting an intensive training course for a number of men working in civil society in the Hebron Governorate, building their capacity to work with other men from influential sectors to eliminate violence against women.
2011- Publication of the report “Reality and Challenges—Child Protection Helpline Palestine 121”, which includes analysis of documented incoming calls during the period from 2009 to mid-2011 and the data collected by Sawa.
1998-2011- Over the past 13 years Sawa has trained 600 male and female volunteers, in addition to training dozens of professionals, including doctors, police officers, public prosecutors, and professional counselors, both in Palestine and outside the country—in 2010, a training course was conducted in Iraqi Kurdistan.
2012- Child Helpline International chooses Sawa’s Legal Advisor Jalal Khader to be a member of the New Communications Technologies Advisory Council, along with representatives of 6 other countries.
2012- The French Consulate identifies Sawa as a candidate to apply for the 2012 Human Rights Prize of the Republic of France.