CAIRO, Egypt, December 20, 2017/ — In the framework of the European Union’s (EU) Cooperation with Egypt, the closing ceremony of the EU funded ‘Securing Rights and Improving Livelihood of Women’ was held by UN Women in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women (NCW); Mr. Jean Barbé, Head of Human Rights, Civil Society, and Governance Section, EU Delegation to Egypt; and Mr. Jorg Schimmel, UN Women Country Director a.i.
Under this project, UN Women Egypt closely collaborated with key national partners and civil society organizations, including The National Council for Women, The Ministry of Social Solidarity, Misr El Kheir and CARE International in Egypt, among many more, to protect and promote the rights of Egyptian women. This was achieved by increasing the leadership and political empowerment of women in the public sphere, increasing women’s economic security and autonomy in Upper Egypt and in impoverished areas, as well as countering violence against women and girls in public spaces.
This strategic partnership developed between The European Union and UN Women, has raised the awareness and changed the lives of over five-hundred thousand Egyptian Women and their families. The project facilitated the registration process of just under four-hundred thousand National ID cards for women across all 27 governorates, allowing women to access health, education and social services, a right of all Egyptians. Moreover, the project supported over ten thousand women living across marginalized areas to save a total of 2.5 million EGP, through participation in the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) and establishing women-led enterprises. The development of almost four-hundred VSLA’s, coupled with the capacity development of women on business development and asset transfers resulted in the establishment of over nine-hundred business enterprises, 79 of which were registered with the Ministry of Investment.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Jean Barbé reiterated on the EU’s commitment toward gender equality and women empowerment in Egypt, in full alignment with Egypt’s National Strategy for Women Empowerment (2030), and in the framework of the EU Gender Action Plan. “The EU bilateral commitments specifically targeting gender aspects and women and girls’ empowerment currently exceed EUR 20 million,” he added. Barbé elaborated that the EU support seeks to increase political empowerment and promote women participation in public life and access to leadership position, increase economic empowerment and combating Female Genital Mutilation and other sources of violence against women.
“The joint efforts of UN Women and the EU, the NCW, international and national NGOs and communities were crucial in achieving transformative results, and to elevate several interventions from pilot initiatives to national programmes, including the Women Citizenship Initiative, as well as the national gender targets on financial inclusion. UN Women looks forward to further deepen and expand these partnerships, to ensure that the women of Egypt are enabled to take full control of their own life” concluded Jorg Schimmel.
The project also worked to enhance the capacity and awareness of rights holders and duty bearers across Egypt on violence against women and girls – increasing the responsiveness and coverage of legal services for over one-thousand women victims of violence, enhancing the knowledge and capacity of over two thousand community members on the legal support services available, and mobilized the support of over forty-two thousand community members dedicated to combatting sexual harassment and Violence against women in public spaces.
Mr. Jean Barbé underscored the success of the strategic partnership between the European Union and UN Women in advancing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women in Egypt, stating “The project has helped women in remote, rural, or informal areas to improve their living conditions and to access socio-economic services. He was also quick to stress the importance of the role played by the National Council for Women in the overall success of the project, “We appreciate the joint efforts by all partners who worked together. Indeed, the role played by the National Council for Women has been essential in consolidating all efforts.”
‘Securing Rights and Improving Livelihood of Women’ Project was implemented with a contribution over four million euros in grants from the European Union for a period of five years.