Sweden supports the UN joint programme for Women's Empowerment in Egypt. The Swedish embassy and Sida celebrated International Women's Day together with Egyptian women, the UN and local partners on a field visit to Luxor and Qena.
On the occasion of International Women's Day 2017 and the celebration of the Year of Egyptian Women, a delegation from the Embassy of Sweden in Cairo and Sida, together with the UN, met with partners on a field visit in the governorates of Luxor and Qena. The visit covered some of the main projects under the umbrella of the UN joint programme for "Social, Economic, and Legal Empowerment of Egyptian Women" that is carried out in partnership with the Egyptian Government and other partner organisations. The aim was to monitor the progress made and to hear women's voices who benefited from the programme.
Since 2013 Sweden has supported the UN joint programme for Women's Empowerment in Egypt, with a total amount of SEK 50 million (approximately 5,6 million USD). The programme is conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
ID cards help women practice their civil rights
The visit to Luxor included a visit at the local branch of the National Council for Women (NCW), where women beneficiaries shared their personal stories about how obtaining a national ID has given them opportunities to exercise their civil rights and have access to services. The women highlighted how getting an ID card was benefitting their lives, for example enabling them to apply for university, vote in elections, getting access to subsidies, pensions, owning land, selling or buying assets and taking a loan. So far in Egypt over 40 000 ID cards have been issued through the support from Sweden.
In Luxor the delegation also paid a visit to Luxor Family Court, where they met with the representatives of the Court, as well as with the Governor of Luxor and with the Deputy Minister for Specialized Courts. At the Court the delegation visited the legal aid office, where women and men receive free legal assistance. A first phase of an automation project was launched in October 2016 in the Luxor Family Court to expedite the implementation of court ruling with regards to the payment of alimony for women.
Local communities refuse female genital mutilation
From Luxor the delegation traveled to Qena where they were met by the Governor of Qena and representatives from the National Population Council, on a visit to a village where local communities refuse the female genital mutilation practice and are advocating for its end. A practice based on religious and cultural demands, and aimed at increasing the prospects of a girl's marriage ability.
The delegation watched a theatre performance by the YPEER, a network of NGOs, which was followed by an interactive discussion. Meetings were also held with a group of medical students, citizens, and local civil society representatives about their work against female genital mutilation.