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. UNDP has had a long-standing partnership with the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA)— total budget USD 5.9 million, now recognized as a training center of excellence building African capacities on topics such as conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, border and crisis management, and preventing radicalization and extremism leading to terrorism, Human Trafficking; Gender and Human Rights in peacekeeping/peacebuilding, Women, Peace and Security, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration, Illicit Transfer of Small Arms and Light Weapons. The project also focuses on streamlining gender in all activities and advancing the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in line with UN Security Resolution 1325. In doing so, CCCPA supports the effective participation of women in trainings/workshops/conferences organized, as well as the integration of gender considerations in all phases of the training cycle; women participants represent between 20-30%. Furthermore, the project conducts pre-deployment trainings for peacekeepers following UN Peacekeeping PDT Standards and curricula which was recently updated to reflect a strengthened focus on conduct and discipline, sexual exploitation and abuse, and the protection of civilians, as well as a newly incorporated theme on environmental protection. (SGDs 5 and 16)

Through the ‘Support to Legal Aid and Dispute Settlement in Family Courts’ project— total budget USD 1.9 million, and in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, UNDP has contributed to increasing legal access of the poor, especially women, through the establishment of 23 legal aid offices in family courts and which in return have supported 152,326 cases (75% women) since 2008. In cooperation with the Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), the project completed the setting-up of the ICT infrastructure for the automation of the Prosecution Information Center Headquarters in Nasr City. To date, the automation was also rolled-out in three main Family Prosecution offices and 65 subsidiary family prosecution offices. This component is expected to enhance the operational efficiency of the family prosecution and family courts system and reduce litigation period. The project also aims to establish linkages with Nasser Bank during the coming period which will enhance women’s access to their alimony (SDGs 5 and 16). A subsequent phase of the project is expected to follow suit with a total budget of USD 4.1 million, where necessary funds and resources will be mobilized accordingly.

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 is crucial to accelerating sustainable development, and doing so through innovation is key. Believing in the importance of empowering and promoting the social and economic inclusion of all, while ensuring the availability of equal opportunities and the reduction of inequalities, UNDP is planning on expanding and building on the previous achievements of ‘the Jobs and skills for PwDs with a focus on ICT-based solutions’ project (2014-2016)— total budget 350,000 USD— during the upcoming second phase—estimated budget USD 250,000. It is worth noting that the project contributed to— in collaboration with the ICT Trust Fund, and International Labor Organization (ILO)— supporting the labor market inclusion of PwDs through the use of ICT solutions, with a specific focus on the ICT and tourism sector. The project developed accessible training materials and provided trainings for 600 visually and/ or physically impaired women and men aged 18 to 35 years in 6 targeted governorates. Also, its capacity building targeted training and employment service providers as well as employers meant to facilitate PwDs employment opportunities in the labor market. (SDGs 5, 8 and 10)

Promoting gender equality through STEM and innovation is instrumental. In partnership with Microsoft Egypt and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth, ‘the Masr Works Youth Centers’ project — total USD 1.2 million— allows youth to access various employability services either online or through the 50 Youth Centers providing YouthSpark Employability services. Since its inception, the project created/resulted in more than 100,000 job opportunities, more than 1,400 employers, more than 90,000 youths receiving career advising sessions, and 415,889 youths were trained on technological tools, CS, employability and entrepreneurial skills (of which 55% Women Participants).  (SDGs 4, 5 and 8)

In the same vein, the first ‘Social Innovation Hub’ was launched at the National Council for Women (NCW)— total budget USD 250,000, 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 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 (2 in Cairo and 1 in Ismailia). To date 49 young women have received training and 11 startups were created accordingly. (SDGs 4, 5 and 8)

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