Gender and Sustainable Development

 An Egyptian woman working actively to produce an authentic Egyptian product.

Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. The Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) project has adapted the ‘One Product One Village’ (OVOP) model to support the production of a different craft for several villages. In 2015, nine new OVOP interventions were established and are fully operational. These include handloom embroidery, alabaster, leather accessories, kilims, sand pottery, ceramics, general carpentry, wooden serving bowls, and laser cutting. The total number of trained beneficiaries in these workshops is 225 (205 women and 20 men).

In addition, in 2015, the Social Fund for Development (SFD) in cooperation with UNDP, supported women profiting from Micro and Small Enterprises and provided both financial and non-financial services.  Financial services has been provided to 87,807 women who own micro- and small enterprises, and women receiving loans from SFD (42%). Lastly, through the SFD 15,175 job opportunities were created in 20 Governorates implementing the Cash for Work Model.


Gender and Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding

 Legal aid offices provide free legal assistance to the most vulnerable especially women.

For the rights of girls, UNDP has been supporting national efforts aimed at combatting FGM since 2003 through building the capacities of the National Population Council to mainstream anti-FGM discourse in line ministries, develop awareness campaigns, as well as build the capacities of 20 civil society organizations in 10 Governorates who are working on the ground to reach out to different population groups including men, women, religious leaders, media personnel, community leaders. These efforts contributed to the passing of the law criminalizing FGM in 2008, the adoption of a national strategy for combatting FGM which eventually led to the decrease in FGM prevalence rates among girls in 15-17 age group from 74% in DHS 2008 to 61% as per the results of the 2014 Egypt Demographic Health Survey (DHS) which was launched in May 2015.

Ensuring women’s equal participation in governance processes, and also encouraging more women leaders across all regions is key in further strengthening policies and legislation for greater gender equality. UNDP works to ensure that women are engaged at all stages of formal and informal peace processes and that their priorities inform the agenda for conflict prevention, early recovery from crises and durable peace. Additionally, in 2015, UNDP Egypt supported 20 training courses on topics such as conflict analysis and sensitivity, peacebuilding, and border issues, which were attended by 249 participants from more than 20 African Countries, 31.7% were women. These trainings were organized by the Cairo Center for Conflict Prevention and Peace-Keeping in Africa (CCCPA) affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Through the Support to Legal Aid and Dispute Settlement in Family Courts project, and in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, we have contributed to increasing legal access of the poor, especially women, through the establishment of 16 legal aid offices within family courts supporting 72,591 cases between 2008 and 2015; out of which 54,776 were women (75%).

Furthermore, we have been helping women with the issuance of national identity cards, under the Elections project that supports “The Citizenship Initiative”, which is led by UN Women and aims at increasing the citizenship rights of women. As of December, around 200,000 women received their National identity cards through the initiative in various governorates, while more than 300,000 have been registered.


Gender and Climate and disaster resilience

Alt text for imageHaja Karima's, one of the micro-loans recipients, smile and determination helped her to overcome the unexpected tragedy of her family.

UNDP Egypt supports the engagement of women in the climate and disaster resilience policies that address the needs of women and men, while also encouraging participation of women’s networks in national, regional and global decision making on the environment and climate change. Under the umbrella of the BioEnergy for Sustainable Rural Development project, 1000 household gas units in 18 different governorates, were created at zero cost.

Egyptian women villagers were the first to embrace the idea of the project, and most importantly the main beneficiaries of the project. 10 women engineers out of 16 entered this field and are now fully trained. Furthermore, the Medicinal Plants Conservation Project in the St. Catherine Protectorate, South Sinai, that protects fragile and threated resources, managed to sustain and expand economic opportunities for the local community, and reinforce and support the role of women as active participants in this programme.


Gender and Innovation

Promoting gender equality through innovation is key. The Mentorship Programme is a part of the partnership between UNDP and Microsoft, where it connects established professionals with aspiring Egyptian youth. Mentorship is a mutually beneficial exchange whereby a more experienced individual (the mentor) shares her skills and knowledge with a less experienced individual (the mentee) who is willing to benefit and learn. Through mentoring, both individuals gain a rewarding experience with a lasting impact across Egyptian society. Mentors meet with their mentees for a duration of 6 months on regular basis to guide them through their future career steps and aid their personal development. Since its launch in December 2013, the programme had 155 women Mentors out of 185, in addition to 170 matched women Mentees.

Furthermore, the first Social Innovation Hub was launched at the National Council for Women, aiming to empower young talented women to achieve more through technology. UNDP has partnered with Microsoft in the creation of the Hub, to address the gender gap in Egypt through fostering innovation and entrepreneurship among young women. The hub aims to reach 5,000 young women in Egypt – to expose them to computer science for the first time, to bridge the gap between public education, and job market needs, and to foster employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young women developers.

The Hub was launched with the presence of Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, in January, 2016, while meeting with some of the young women already utilizing technology to develop solutions. The Social Innovation Hub is a part of Microsoft’s ‘Aspire Woman’ Initiative that aims to empower young women leaders of the future, and is initially open in Cairo, expanding to four other regions in Egypt including Ismailia, Aswan, Luxor, and Alexandria.

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