Egypt and the United States launched on Tuesday the US $39 million Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program over a period of five years, which is implemented by the Pathfinder International Foundation, in cooperation with a group of American and Egyptian partners.
The launch ceremony was attended by Katrina Fotovat, the Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues, Nicole Champagne, Acting US Ambassador to Cairo, Margaret Sancho, Acting Director of the US Agency for International Development in Egypt, Rania al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Nevein al-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, and Maya Morsy President of the National Council for Women,
The program will operate in seven governorates: Cairo, Giza, Beheira, Assiut, Minya, Qena and Sohag, and aims to improve the work environment for women in the private sector, expand financial inclusion, and reduce violence against women and girls.
Through the program, USAID, in collaboration with the Egyptian government, civil society, and private sector stakeholders, intends to enhance women’s ability to access economic opportunities in Egypt through three complementary and mutually supportive goals: improving the work environment for women in the private sector economy, expanding financial inclusion for women, reducing the social and economic impacts of violence against women.
The program will also contribute to the national initiatives launched by the Egyptian government to support the economic and social empowerment of women in line with Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision 2030.
It will work closely with market partners to develop, lead, scale up, sustain, and advocate for innovative solutions to capture the economic and social benefits of gender-inclusive empowerment policies and practices.
The USAID-funded Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program is part of the American people’s investment in Egypt’s human and economic development.
For more than four decades, the American people have partnered with the Egyptian people to foster an environment in which all Egyptians, including women and minorities, can lead healthy and productive lives. Since 1978, the US government, through the USAID, has invested more than $30 billion to support economic development in Egypt, ensuring that future generations have the tools to succeed.
Kabbag said that the Ministry of Social Solidarity participated in the design of the Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program, which works to provide job opportunities for women and empower them, noting that there are 4.1 million families benefiting from Takaful and Karama, noting that work is being done on the requirement of monetary support for health follow-up.
Kabbag indicated that there is an initiative with Nasser Bank through the Mastoura loan, which provides soft loans for women, and job opportunities are provided through the Forsa program in local areas.
The centers hosting battered women work to support and empower women economically, and work to confront violence against women.
The Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program aims to reduce the social and economic impacts of violence against women, reduce social acceptance of harassment and violence against women, improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviors that enhance women’s social and economic participation, and expand the access of women survivors of violence to quality and acceptable services.
For her part, Mashat said that the launch of the Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program, by the USAIS in Egypt and in cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation and relevant national authorities, comes within the framework of the strategic economic partnership between Egypt and the United States, which aims to improve the investment environment and empower women to enhance their participation in the labor market in light of Egypt’s Vision 2030.