MEPI in Egypt
MEPI is providing critical support to Egyptians as they work to create a more open, democratic, and prosperous society during the country’s historic transition. MEPI works directly with Egyptian civil society groups and with U.S.-based organizations that partner with Egyptian groups. In the lead up to the Fall 2011 elections, MEPI’s civil society partners worked with local communities in 22 of Egypt’s 29 governorates, focusing on the following five overarching objectives:
Transparency: MEPI grantees and partners are working to facilitate a an environment that promotes constructive dialogue, access to information, and government accountability.
• Promoting Awareness of the Election Process: Many Egyptians voted for the first time in the Fall of 2011. Civic organizations worked to address widespread misinformation and lack of knowledge about the voting process through information campaigns, especially targeting youth and women.
• Supporting Media Coverage of Elections: Journalists in Egypt are strengthening their ability to cover future elections objectively through training in how to use facts and analysis to convey information to the public.
Government Responsiveness and Integrity: Civil society activists are raising citizen awareness of the principles of good governance and public integrity, and working together to help make government institutions more responsive to the public.
Inclusion: Projects in this area help marginalized groups make their voices heard and participate more fully in public life.
• Women and Youth: Civil society organizations are mobilizing support for women to play a stronger role in the constitution-drafting process and helping youth communicate their priorities through engaging in dialogue with Egyptian officials through meetings, letters, and events.
• Tolerance: Through creative methods, from films to town-hall meetings, civic groups are promoting constructive dialogue that rejects violence and sectarian divisions.
• Community-Based Advocacy: Projects are working with farmers, fishermen, and other rural communities to identify and articulate to local authorities their priorities for local development and participation.
These projects educate Egyptians about their rights and promote the equal treatment for all Egyptians, including women, youth, and minorities.
Rights: In January and February of 2011, the Egyptian people inspired the world by peacefully marching to demand a government that recognized and protected their human rights. As Egyptians work to build their new political system, MEPI is supporting community-based efforts to educate Egyptians about their rights and promote equal treatment for all Egyptians, including women, youth, and minorities.
• Human Rights Are Everyone’s Rights: MEPI projects are using creative tools such as films, songs, poems, and cartoons to increase public understanding of human rights principles and to emphasize their application to all Egyptians, regardless of gender, faith, or other characteristics.
• Equality Under the Law: With MEPI support, civic activists are promoting equal legal status for women and religious minorities through media and legal advocacy.
Coalition Building: NGOs are taking advantage of a more open environment to network and improve their collective impact through joint strategies and activities.
• Mentoring: Established NGOs are partnering with newer organizations to provide tailored assistance in financial management, outreach, technology, and constituent mobilization.
• Sharing Knowledge: Networking projects are building partnerships among NGOs in different regions of Egypt to educate the public about political participation and the importance of fair and transparent elections.
Economic Opportunity: Reflecting the demands of the Egyptian people for wider economic opportunity, these projects aim to train youth to meet job market needs, increase access to capital for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and support advocacy for economic reforms to promote growth.
• Youth Employment: Through targeted training, job placement, and entrepreneurship training, MEPI helps young Egyptians create their own economic opportunities.
• SME Financing: MEPI is providing technical assistance to Egyptian banks and non-bank financial institutions to help them expand lending to these underserved groups.
• Advocacy for Economic Reform: Chambers of commerce and other business organizations across Egypt are learning how to advocate for economic reforms that will help SMEs.
Egypt Project Highlights
Bokranews.com, a web radio station and online news site, provides Egyptian citizens with vital news coverage of political events in Egypt. Launched in June 2011 by MEPI partner Bokra for Media Production, Media Studies and Human Rights, “Radio Bokra” provides independent media coverage of events relating to the parliamentary, presidential, and local council elections. Read more...
Supporting Egyptian small businesses and entrepreneurs as key engines of growth and job creation is one of MEPI’s top priorities in supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy. Working with its partner the International Institute for Education, MEPI assisted in the creation of the “Endeavor” project to help selected small businesses expand their knowledge, networks, and businesses. Read more...
If you ask Sally Aljbas, the Director of the Siza Nabrawy Center for Law and Women Rights, and other Egyptian women’s rights champions like Dr. Azza Kamel and Esraa Abdel Fattah, representation of Egyptian woman in the political scene could be much higher. MEPI and the Siza Nabrawy Center for Law and Women Rights have partnered to address this critical issue. Read more...
On September 27-29, the Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights hosted a three-day training workshop on "Lessons Learned from Civil Society Practices." 27 participants representing refugee community based organizations (CBO), refugee initiatives, and community leaders from Iraq, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, and the West Bank and Gaza participated in the workshop. The training included lectures and roundtable discussions on international refugee law as well as best practices in advocacy, capacity building and legal aid strategies. Read more...
Five hundred students from 11 Egyptian universities convened to showcase their businesses and compete for seed funding in INJAZ's Young Entrepreneurs Competition in September 2011. Ten winning teams received a total of $50,000 in seed funding, elevating them from the entrepreneurship education phase to becoming startup businesses. Read more...
As part of MEPI’s goal of expanding economic opportunity for all Egyptians, local grantee the Better Life Company for Development and Training (BLDT) is helping about 1,600 Egyptian fishermen in 12 communities in the upper Nile region improve their livelihoods and secure their rights. Read more...
Horytna.net news, an information and entertainment website and web radio station, is providing vital news coverage of events in Egypt for Egyptian citizens. Created by the Andalus Institute with a grant from MEPI, Horytna.net news provided live coverage of the protests in Tahrir Square, and carried timely updates of events happening on the ground during the country’s historic revolution. Read moree...
The new LIFT-OFF Initiative, implemented by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and funded by MEPI, was created in September 2010 to foster a culture of entrepreneurship among youth across North Africa. The official launch of LIFT-OFF took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week in Cairo, Egypt on November 5, 2010. The event, which brought together over 200 youth and key project stakeholders, featured a series of presentations by successful Egyptian entrepreneurs to teach and inspire the young audience. Read more...