Drive-partner and rider safety is at the core of everything we do at Uber Egypt. It’s one of the reasons we have teamed up with Harassmap, an NGO with a vision to build a society that guarantees the safety of all people from sexual and gender based violence. Here, the NGO Safe Areas unit head Heba Ali Youssif tells us more about Harassmap’s work and their partnership with Uber.
Tell us about Harassmap
Harassmap was initiated in 2010 and we are now registered as an NGO under the umbrella of the Ministry of Social Solidarity. Our main focus is to combat sexual harassment in Egyptian society. We have four programmes. The first one is safe universities and schools. We deal with educational institutions and try to give training to both professors and students. We explain what sexual harassment is, how it can be combated and what to do if it happens. We also encourage universities and schools to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies. The second programme is safe workspaces—which is where we work with Uber. We aim to work with different entities to ensure owners of different workplaces are providing safe workspaces to their employees. The programme does not just focus on sexual harassment but we also concentrate on a bigger scale, which is safe workspaces in general. Under this scope we tackle different issues such as diversity, inclusion, gender equality, women in leadership and equal pay in the workplace. Then we also have marketing and partnerships departments who focus on our NGO publicity and how to cooperate with different NGOs to incorporate the work against sexual harassment in their agenda
Why is the work you do important?
Simply, being able to mobilize different communities like educational institutions, private sector, and other NGOs to work on an important issue like sexual harassment is highly important now. Also, we don’t just work on policy level or grassroots level, we are trying hard to compile both to make our scope inclusive enough to reach our goal. Besides, Harassmap is the only focused NGO that is working specifically on sexual harassment which gives its work specialty within the Egyptian context.
How do you work with Uber?
Our work with Uber started in 2015 where we provided them with a very focused video with all necessary information on sexual harassment. This video was incorporated in the onboarding video which is watched by all drivers, including women, when they join the company. With the new and broader scope of our work with Uber we don’t just provide videos, but also podcasts about sexual harassment and consultations on some of their media campaigns.
What are your plans moving forward for the partnership with Uber?
We have recently started a new scope of work where we consult on some of their various media campaigns when it comes to gender sensitivity and sexual harassment. We have also produced some more extensive video courses that will be sent to driver-partner mobiles to extend their understanding of the issue and on the foreseen plan there will be also a specialized training for some of the companies’ employees so they can deal with any questions the drivers may have on such an important issue.
What should someone do if they feel they have suffered from sexual harassment?
Harassmap highly encourages all riders or drivers who might experience sexual harassment during their ride to report it as soon as they can to Uber. A company like Uber has strong policies and is committed to keeping its riders and drivers safe, so all complaints are taken seriously and are investigated. The complainant should also expect to receive notification of the investigation results as it’s important for them to know what action may have been taken.