“Creating an Enabling Environment for Adolescent Girls in Egypt”, a USAID programme that improved the situation of adolescent girls and boys in Egypt, contributing to their empowerment

According to UNICEF, Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports, Eng. Nivine Osman, Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, Ms Leslie Reed, USAID Mission Director in Egypt, and Mr Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt celebrated the key milestones achieved throughout the USAID-funded programme ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Adolescent Girls in Egypt’ since its inauguration in December 2017.

This collaborative programme was created to address both individual and community factors to reduce gender disparities, improve girls’ social and economic standing, and contribute to Egypt’s national efforts to reduce the rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It also aimed to teach thousands of adolescent girls and boys important life skills to effect positive change. It also provided girls with more social and economic opportunities.

USAID and UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS), NGOs, and development partners, supported the implementation of “Meshwary” programme for youth empowerment.

Meshwary skilled more than 570,000 adolescents and young people from 2018 to 2022. “Maharty… Lyaqty” (My Skill, my fitness) programme that uses sports to promote gender equality engaged a total of more than 15,000 adolescent girls in 9 governorates.

7,300 adolescents and youth were trained in design thinking and climate change action as part of the ‘Youth Challenge’ initiative, which is a global initiative that helps young people realise their full potential by tackling the world’s most pressing issues in a global competition. In 2022, two Egyptian teams were promoted to the global competition, where one of them, the Soigel team, was named the best team in the world.

Finally, the USAID-supported “Youth for Climate” caravan roved Egypt’s 27 governorates and engaged a total of 150,000 young people and more than 400,000 community members in the climate change discussion and action.

The joint programme, developed in collaboration with the National Council for Women and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, assisted girls in reaching their full potential. The National Girl’s Empowerment Imitative ‘Dawwie’ was placed under the auspices of H.E. Mrs Entissar El Sisi in March 2022. Dawwie’s has reached nearly half a million people on the ground and over 60 million online since its inception.

More than 2,400 service providers were trained on addressing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through a joint USAID-funded programme, with a focus on its medical, legal, and social aspects. Over 270,000 people were involved in community mobilisation and door-to-door campaigns about the harmful effects of FGM. According to the most recent EFHS data (age group 15-17 years), FGM has been decreasing at the national level since 2014, dropping from 61% in 2014 to 36.8% in 2021, demonstrating that adolescent girls can lead the way.

The event showcased the joint programme’s achievements. It also included a panel discussion by young beneficiaries of ‘Meshwary’, ‘Dawwie’ and FGM programmes. During the event, the ‘Youth Challenge’ winning team presented their ‘Soigel’ project.

In conclusion, the successes of USAID’s ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Adolescent Girls in Egypt’ programme demonstrate that when young people have access to relevant skills, information, and quality services, and when the community is willing to listen to their opinions and aspirations, the entire family, community, and nation benefit from a more equitable and prosperous society.

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