Originally posted on UNICEF Egypt website
CAIRO, 11 August 2018- Under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) marked the International Youth Day 2018 through a celebration of "Meshwary" (My Journey) programme that promotes youth employability and empowerment.
Egypt's young population is rapidly growing. Currently, slightly over 8 million people are between 20-24 years, constituting around 9 per cent of the total population. The number of adolescents (aged 10-19) are around 18 million, representing approximately 19 per cent of the total population. In a few years, these adolescent girls and boys will become members of Egypt's workforce and will be potential parents of a future generation. Unlocking social and economic opportunities to support their healthy transition into adulthood, as well as their employability to enter the job market becomes a critical priority.
"Investing in human capital and in the enabling environment surrounding it, is embedded in the Ministry's vision," stated Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, emphasizing the importance of equipping adolescents and youth with life, employability and entrepreneurship skills that are in connection with the job market today, including those skills required by the private sector.
Dr. Sobhy added, "The Ministry of Youth and Sports has a long-standing partnership with UNICEF that - among other areas of cooperation - focuses on skills development through the national programme "Meshwary" and the "Sports for Development" programme. "Meshwary" is operational in 11 governorates, capitalizing on the Ministry's youth centers and collaborating with the private sector to provide adolescents and youth, including those with disabilities, with continuous capacity building opportunities and career guidance, reaching around 72,000 youth in the most disadvantaged areas over the past five years. "Meshwary" will continue this year with a third phase supported by the USAID for four years, in four governorates of Upper Egypt: Assiut, Sohag, Qena and Aswan."
"Meshwary" is supported as part of a larger UNICEF and USAID project to create an enabling environment for adolescents in Egypt, through interventions in addition to "Meshwary", including digital literacy and sports for development. The four-year project adopts the approach of providing adolescents and youth with skills development and social opportunities to become advocates of positive change within their communities, which in turn will also result in reduced gender inequalities and less acceptance of harmful practices especially those affecting girls.
"Through "Meshwary", we contribute to equipping the next generation of Egypt's youth with skills they need to be successful in the labor market - and in life, "stated USAID/Egypt Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin on occasion of the International Youth Day event. "We hope that through this project we help young people- with a special focus on girls- to promote economic inclusion, and be empowered to reach their full potential."
These efforts align with Egypt's Vision 2030 and Egypt's Women Empowerment Strategy 2030, as well as Egypt's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this project, the capacity of Child Protection Committees (CPCs), the Child Helpline, lawyers' syndicate members, prosecutors, local lawyers, social workers and community outreach workers in addressing gender-based harmful practices such as FGM/C, will be enhanced.
"Today, on the International Youth Day, we are celebrating hopes, energies and dreams," said Mr. Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, "By equally empowering adolescents' boys and girls socially and economically today, we contribute to a future generation of adults where the social acceptance of violence and gender inequalities will be reduced."
The event took place on the eve of the International Youth Day in the Olympic Sports Center of Maadi. It was attended by key representatives of various ministries, governmental institutions, international organizations, private sector, civil society and media. The role of the private sector in bridging the gap between skills and job market needs was highlighted in a short talk by Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort General Manager, Mr. Haitham Nassar. Most importantly, the event also witnessed the participation of 50 youth who presented an exhibition of business products and shared their experiences on skills development.