Egypt is located in the eastern part of North Africa and partly in the Middle East due to the associated Sinai Peninsula. The landscape consists mainly of the desert and the Nile acts as the life-giving artery. Unfortunately, the river is threatened by climate change and is one of the world’s most polluted rivers.
After some turbulent years as a result of the Arab Spring, the country has stabilized both economically and politically. However, job opportunities are limited and this creates great frustration, especially among young men and women. The authorities’ strategy for children’s rights has improved somewhat, but there are many shortcomings in the implementation of concrete measures to improve children’s rights. Some of the country’s challenges are a lack of access to education, especially for girls and children with disabilities, a high incidence of violence at school and in close relationships, as well as an inability to meet the needs of refugees.
Some results from the past year
Plan International works to strengthen all children’s and young people’s right to survival, development, protection and participation through our programs. During the past year, we have developed an educational program aimed at refugee children. In addition, we have arranged for young people to participate and influence in their local communities towards local authorities by creating meeting places for dialogue and discussion. Through our entrepreneurial projects, we have also ensured that young people gain increased competence in technical subjects to improve their opportunities in the labor market.
security and protection against violence
Refugee children receive education and support
Eleven-year-old Rana used to live in Aleppo, Syria, but she does not want to talk about it. Almost four years ago, she and her family were forced to flee their old lives due to the ongoing conflict in their home country. For Rana, it was a very traumatic journey, and a mental strain that will affect her for the rest of her life. Together with our Syrian partner organization, Plan International has opened a facility for children fleeing Syria. There they can go to school and can receive psychosocial support.
opportunity to participate in society
Young people focus on war and conflict through theater
More than half of Egypt’s population is under the age of 24. In addition, the country has one of the world’s lowest participation in working life among women, it is estimated that only 24 percent of women over the age of 15 look for work. Young Egyptians see a different future for women. To facilitate increased participation, Plan International has involved 6,000 young people in the project “Our meeting room”.
Here, the participants focus on societal problems through various media. The group that works with disseminating information through art has highlighted problems related to war and conflict through theater. Here the young people illustrated how they can best deal with the problems and act together for a peaceful future.
Egypt’s promising opinion leaders
After many years in Plan International’s project, Al Shaimaa is a strong young woman who aims high. She wants to stop genital mutilation and make an impression all over the world.
21-year-old Al Shaimaa is studying veterinary medicine at the university and is a member of Plan International’s global youth panel.
– Being part of Plan International’s operations has made me change my way of thinking. Before, I was okay with female genital mutilation because I did not know it properly. I thought that was the way it was in our culture and that there was nothing wrong with it, she says.
– Now I understand exactly what it is and what risks and challenges it entails for girls. I am completely against it and I talk openly about it.
Al Shaimaa also clearly distances himself from child marriage.
– I think it is important that we become more people who inform about this, we must start acting in the small things instead of waiting, she says.
Al Shaimaa has been involved in Plan International’s projects since she was ten years old. She has been involved in everything from litter-free streets to conflict management over the years. A more recent experience is her participation in a conference for women’s rights in Zimbabwe.
– It was very interesting and an eye opener because we have a lot in common with other African countries.
She believes that Plan International has supported her in a life-changing change.
– I have become stronger as a person and less shy. It has also given me a stronger voice in the family. When I was going to travel at my first conference with Plan International, my uncles were against it, but I managed to convince them and that is just one example, she says.
Her involvement in society has led to several parties trying to recruit her, but first and foremost, she must complete her education.
– I want to work in my field, but I also want to continue to develop and create a strategy for young people’s development, I want to make an impact globally.
Facts about Egypt
Population: 95 million
Life expectancy: 71 years
Infant mortality rate: 19 per 1000 births
Proportion of children starting school: 95.1%
Proportion of women in parliament: 14.9%