Egypt: CEYP – Spaces for Civic Engagement and Youth Participation

CEYP started in 2012 as a youth project and by slowly adopting gender sensitive approaches as well as incorporating an additional component on combating sexual harassment in 2014. CEYP has adapted a full fledge gender approach, trying to incorporate our values on gender equality in all our activities. Our process is also reflected in our partnering ministry which has adopted to our changes and core values throughout the years. We thus would like to apply as project to the 2015 Gender Prize of the GIZ.

1. Project Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcX7zG3s_6o

2. Documentation of the anti sexual harassment music festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXPREotmq24

1. Documentation of the WenDo trainings – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kleTTVFnE1Y

Promoting Gender Equality

Living and working in Egypt means to live in a social construct of traditional gender roles which are clearly defined by tying women to the domestic and men to the public spheres. In 2011, the UNDP published the results of the Gender Inequality Index ranking Egypt on the 126th out of 148 countries. The project Spaces for Civic Engagement and Youth Participation (CEYP), active in Egypt since 2012, seeks to create gender sensitive and safe spaces for youth to become active in. As a project we are constantly pushing the boundaries by consciously empowering women to “intrude” the existing gender predefined public space, claiming the right for safer spaces and participating in community offered activities. We encourage men and women to jointly break gender stereotypes.

From classic civic engagement trainings to creative awareness raising workshops on sexual harassment, all our activities are based on our vision to offer trainings which convey the message of equal responsibilities, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men within and for their communities. In addition to ensuring gender sensitive selection of participants in all our project trainings, CEYP is first and foremost emphasizing on the content in order to address and challenge the traditionally coined values of the participating youth such as stereotyped gender roles and behavioural codex of men and women by using innovative youth-friendly learning tools such as arts or participatory learning approaches.

Working with youth can be a game changer in development. Youth can benefit from the impact, can create the impact or can be the multiplier of the impact. Youth can be challenged. Youth can be animated to reflect on their societies and values. Youth when given a perspective and knowledge is able to change a country. Youth are not only beneficiaries but also change makers in the process. Equipped with the right gender mainstreaming mind-sets, they will not only pass the values on to their friends but also to family members and the community as such.

In 2014 the project was able to take its activities and efforts a step further by including an additional component focusing on empowerment of girls and women in order to tackle the issue of sexual harassment in public spaces. Empowerment of women and girls is addressed in many forms: in awareness raising activities for both men and women, through self-defence trainings for women and by training women and girls on physical awareness and protection of boundaries in their everyday lives. In a male dominated country, those activities are a huge contribution towards gender equality.

Overview on our activities:

Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy: In collaboration with partners at MoYS, a draft for an internal anti-sexual harassment policy has been submitted to the Ministry’s decision-makers to protect all employees from sexual harassment. The policy draft presents recommendations for legal protection, awareness raising among employees, accountability and decentralized prevention.

Better Society ToT: 15 trainers were trained on the conduction of community activities to raise awareness on the topic of sexual harassment using creative tools and simplified messages.

Civic Engagement training: 14 trainers were trained in order to facilitate civic engagement trainings and encouraged 80 youth (40% women) to successfully participate in civic engagement trainings in youth centers who in turn developed initiatives and visions for their communities

Yalla Fun: 192 boys were involved in art activities discussing the topic of gender equality through rap, graffiti and other forms of arts

WenDo ToT: A pool of 25 female trainers has been established to provide trainings on self-defence and self-assertion and are currently conducting WenDo workshops to empower women and girls in Cairo and other governorates.

WenDo Workshops: 1000 girls have undergone the basic WenDo classes and are aware of personal boundaries, verbal and physical self-defence techniques. Most of the participants confirm a long term boost of confidence after attending the training.

Igmadi: More than 1000 girls have been reached by Igmadi which combines the elements of Zumba, WenDo and info sessions on sexual harassment to strengthen the confidence of the participating women

Capacity Building of Youth Centre Staff: a gender sensitive training manual has been developed and is to be piloted next year as aiming at increasing the capacity of youth center staff to develop gender sensitive and youth oriented activities in their centers which shall increase the attractiveness of their respected centres

Youth Centre renovations: 8 youth centers were renovated in 2014. Renovations focused on creating a more attractive space for girls by adding changing rooms and bathrooms for girls

Gender as quality feature of our work

Gender was continuously mainstreamed during project design and implementation. The ministry staff was strongly introduced to the topic of sexual harassment and gender equality during the first multi-stakeholder meeting in 2014. They quickly understood the approach applied by GIZ and supported the gender focus throughout implementation. This especially became obvious in the selection of trainers for TOT or when selecting the youth centre managers for their training. The Ministry of Youth and Sports especially appreciated the strong focus on boys during the art sessions raising the awareness of boys on sexual harassment. In addition, the TOT on sexual harassment included 20 male trainers from a total of 26 trainers covering several governorates including Sinai, Luxor and Fayoum. Furthermore the Ministry adopted the WenDo approach and planned to mainstream the activity in youth centers all over Egypt. Especially when it comes to the topic of sexual harassment it is even more important to have male trainers involved and engaged.

Gender and RBM

Monitoring and evaluation is an essential managerial steering tool and provides the frame to systematically document the impact of the activities – the negative as well as the positive. Most of the projects indicators are person-related gender specific indicators either measuring the empowerment of women and girls or the increase of awareness of young men and boys on the topic of sexual harassment. Both contribute to a long-term behavioural impact, however outside of our measurable system, that women feel safer in public spaces. In terms of non-person related indicators, CEYP has clearly articulated gender objectives such as renovation of youth centres must be gender sensitive. Further CEYP has created internal milestones in regards to the multiple trainings conducted which guarantee a gender sensitive selection of participants.

Collaboration with the partner

Collaborating with a ministerial entity is a current challenge looking at the bureaucratic, unstable and socially conservative culture widespread in Egypt. Looking at the situation from the outside, we find a very progressive, liberal and active civil society working on the topic of gender equality and particular on the topic of sexual harassment. Youth initiatives and youth led organisations such as Imprint Movement (Bassma), HarassMap, Igmadi or the Ded Ata7roush movement (anti-sexual harassment movement organisation) stand for gender equality, stronger presence and voices of women in public and private spaces, breaking social stereotypes on gender roles, all considered “radical” ideas in contrary to a country’s long conservative socio-cultural heritage and conservative views on gender roles and gender equality.

The challenge in this context was, and still is, on how to bring all stakeholders together to jointly work on a topic and benefit from the knowledge transfer and share the values and the resources available. The multilevel participation from professional individuals, organisations, independent initiatives and also political entities allowed us, GIZ, to fully grow in our capacity as mediators or better so facilitators.

In October 2014 we successfully brought representatives of civil society organizations and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports together in order to talk and brainstorm on how to take forward the Ministry’s “Better Society free from Sexual Harassment” campaign. Having Mrs. Imany, a 50 year established conservative ministry employee in a 80s fashionable trouser suit next to Nihal, a bike riding leftist women’s rights activist, was a clash of cultures and a very interesting discussion. Shaming statements from the ministries sides regarding the girls fault when being harassed led almost to an escalation of the meeting. Looking back at the starting point and the 180 degrees turn the MoYS was able to undergo by listening and actively engaging with civil society is tremendous.

In December of 2014, the project kicked off the campaign with a large music festival, named “Raise your Voice against Sexual Harassment” with 3000 youth attending, developed and piloted Training of Trainer Manual: “Better Society Free from Sexual Harassment – Creative approaches to educate and raise awareness on sexual harassment”.

Our three key success factors were

(1) A passionate and open minded team that did not shy away from the heavy discussions and the controversy of the topic between the parties

(2) A ministry that was able to meet civil society on an eye to eye level and open up to new ideas and value construct in regards to gender equality and women rights

(3) Using a creative youth-friendly and youth-led approach that provides space for dialogue, sharing of experiences, creativity and community oriented learning to change behaviours and attitudes regarding sexual harassment in Egypt

 

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