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Home » Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights

Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights

    Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights

    8/10, Madhaf el-Manial Street

    11th Floor, Apt. 25

    al-Manial, Cairo

    Tel: (202) 532.3649

    (202) 364.9064

    Fax: (202) 363.2352

    Email: [email protected]

    Project Title

    East Africa Four Literacies Program:

    Body Literacy, Word Literacy, Money Literacy and Civil Literacy


    WOMANKIND Worldwide (UK), Kembetta Women’s Self-Help Centre,

    The Ethiopian Women’s Trust, Women’s Association of Tigray, ICEDA

    (Ethiopia), Pokot Kiletat Women Group, Gender and Development Centre

    (Kenya), Save Somali Women and Children, Black Women’s Health and

    Family Support (Somalia), Babiker Badri Scientific Association for

    Women’s Studies, Sudan National Committee on Traditional Practices

    (Sudan), Care for Girls Committee (Egypt).


    WOMANKIND Worldwide

    Responsible Technical Officer

    Abeer Khamis

    Project Site

    Greater Cairo

    Date of Commencing FGC-abandonment activities

    in Egypt


    Project Update, December 2003

    Available on

    “We received our UK partners from WOMANKIND Worldwide from

    12-15 December to discuss and evaluate program work and formulate

    a strategic plan for the coming years.

    Edward Wageni and Sarah Hibberd were able to visit school girls

    in Giza and meet with beneficiaries of the program during their

    visit. The program aims to create and strengthen a network of organizations

    working to improve the rights of women and girls in East Africa,

    through a four-pronged approach targeting education, health, and

    civil and economic rights.

    The Programme

    The East Africa Four Literacies Programme is a partnership of organisations

    from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and the UK. Our goal

    is improving the rights of women, focusing on issues such as female

    genital mutilation, early marriage, and other forms of discrimination

    against girls and women. Our overall aim is to address women’s vulnerability

    and marginal status, through a ‘Four Literacies’ programme targeting

    body literacy, money literacy, word literacy and civil literacy.

    ECWR carries out a number of activities as part of this programme.

    a) Training Sessions

    ECWR has held a number of training sessions focussing on the dangers

    of female genital mutilation and early marriage, in addition to

    building capacity of literacy teachers and holding activity days

    for children.

    The training sessions target health workers in NGOs to train them

    in methods of eliminating FGM and early marriage while at the same

    time raising awareness among the public of the dangers of both.

    The training focusses on:

    – the human body and understanding the value of every part;

    – FGM, early marriage and how both affect girls;

    – FGM as a health risk;

    – Islamic and Christian perspectives;

    – the legal situation;

    – the mechanisms of field work;

    – how to moderate effective discussions with women, including being

    able to answer all their questions;

    Training sessions were also held for teachers of literacy programmes

    in order to:

    build capacity of teachers to enable them to attract students.

    Use dialogue skills to develop the relation between the teacher

    and the students.

    Raise awareness of human roles among teachers to enable them to

    do more than just educate students.

    Through discussions with teachers we identified the main areas of

    importance for them and designed sessions covering the following


    Communication skills and dialogue skills

    Using social awareness in the methods


    Creative methods

    Methods of attracting students

    Activity days for children have included:

    A one-day workshop for young girls to talk about children’s rights

    and to give them the opportunity to learn about this issue through

    play. We discovered their creative potential by planning 3 hours

    of activities for the girls in the public park, aiming to:

    1. discover the creative potential of the girls through asking

    each girl to make a drawing of her hopes for the future.

    2. find out why they chose that particular hope.

    3. spend a relaxed and happy time playing in the park.

    Read more about the girls’ hopes and dreams and see some of their


    A Cultural and Creative Day for children of Mohamed Farid School,

    el-Warrak, north Giza, held in cooperation with the Giza District

    for Learning and Education.

    b) Preventing Early Marriage

    The programme works to support the education of girls to prevent

    their early marriage. We try to establish good relationships with

    families and to befriend them, giving us the chance to talk to them

    and help them and to be regarded as friends in their communities.

    Using this method, we convinced 32 families to allow their daughters

    to return to school by offering them the fees and a few other expenses.

    In this way girls will be safe, their families will not force them

    into early marriage or to take potentially dangerous jobs.

    We have also carried out social research for 60 girls to study

    their circumstances and their needs. We found that they needed more

    assistance than provision of school fees, so we decided to offer

    additional services, including covering the costs of their school

    uniform, books, and stationery.

    CASE STUDY: One girl of 14 years of age was already engaged to

    a bus driver when we met her. He was working in the private sector

    with temporary employment and is a friend of the girl’s brother-in-law,

    who is also a temporary bus driver. Both her brother-in-law and

    her fiance were known to take drugs and her fiance hit her on a

    daily basis to get more money to finance his drug habit. Although

    aware of this, the family had no choice but to marry their daughter

    because of their own lack of income. ECWR offered the family all

    the assistance they needed for their daughter to return to school

    and as a result of this she has now left her fiance and she is continuing

    with her education, insisting that in future she will not be trapped

    in the same way.

    c) Awareness Raising

    We have held 76 discussion sessions with women to discuss FGM,

    early marriage and education. In combination with the training sessions

    we have so far reached around 3000 women.

    d) Local Exchange Visits

    We have made many exchange visits to NGOs working in the areas

    of education, FGM and early marriage to develop a strong network.

    As a result many NGOs now include FGM as part of their work and

    have an increased awareness of issues such as early marriage and

    the importance of education for girls. We have built a strong network

    of 21 NGOs in the area working in the field of education. Information

    is disseminated to all who are concerned to spread awareness and

    to avoid a repetition of the same work.

    e) Joint Website

    In year two of the programme we set up a joint website with information

    about the programme, its mission, activities, research and all partners.

    In year three, we updated the site and launched an Arabic site.

    In addition, a leaflet was designed and printed which gives general

    information about the site along with an insert on education. We

    have received a lot of positive feedback and have made new contacts

    with similar organizations through the website.

    Lessons Learned

    The main lesson we have learnt from our work with the girls in

    Giza is that it requires a lot of effort, time and patience to build

    a good relationship with the families of the girls concerned. This

    length of time however is necessary to gain their trust and eventually

    generates positive results. This does not allow a large number of

    girls to be helped, but what we are able to do is offer effective

    services and raise awareness at a wider level. In addition, our

    experience with these families confirmed the need to use very simple

    methods to reach them as most are illiterate. We have also found

    that it is much easier to work with young people under the age of

    18 and to change their attitudes. At the grassroots level there

    is a lack of awareness of many of the issues we tackle, but once

    people are given the opportunity they are active and ready for change.

    However, a greater level of empowerment is required at this level.

    Regarding the training sessions, the main lessons learned are as


    – firstly we found that it is much more effective to train multipliers

    of information who can spread the information much more widely;

    – secondly, the target group for training sessions must be carefully

    selected in order that the participants are not only interested

    in the subject matter, but are committed to spreading the information

    in order that maximum benefit is generated from the training. We

    discovered that some of our target group although interested in

    the subject matter for their own benefit, were not committed to

    their jobs, which are very low-paid, and therefore disseminating

    the information.

    The East Africa Four Literacies Programme is supported by

    WOMANKIND Worldwide.

    Previous Projects Related to FGC

    Included in FGM campaigning in the past.

    Publications on FGC

    Protection of Women in the Penal Code. Protection of Women Against

    Violence: FGM, Sexual Abuse, Rape and Abduction. Information Booklet.

    Prepared by Ahmed Mohsen.


    For more information and updates on project,

    please contact

    Nihad Abu el-Komsam

    [email protected]