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Democracy, Human Rights and Governance


Moot Court participant argues his case to judges
A Moot Court participant argues his case to judges. Student teams from Law Faculties around Egypt argue hypothetical cases before a panel of judges to demonstrate their skills in legal research, problem solving, and presentation methods.

Emerging from a period of change that began in January 2011, Egyptians’ commitment to a more stable and prosperous future has never been stronger. USAID is working in partnership with the Egyptian people to support their expressed desire for more transparent, participatory, and responsive government. To do so, USAID supports Egyptian-led reforms that reflect the priorities voiced in the constitution Egyptians adopted in January 2014 and “Egypt Vision 2030”, the new sustainable development strategy announced by the Egyptian government in March 2015. 

USAID works with key government institutions to support Egyptian-led governance and rule of law reforms. These reforms are improving the delivery of essential public services and increase citizens’ ability to influence decisions made by Egypt’s government. To complement these activities, USAID supports international and Egyptian organizations that raise awareness of and advocate for improved public services and increased civic participation on key rights. These projects combat gender-based violence and trafficking in persons; promote gender equality and civic participation; advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities; and encourage religious tolerance. 

Results since 2010

  • Contributed to strengthening the penal code against sexual harassment of women.
  • Helped 78,500 women receive national IDs required to vote and access public services.
  • Informed decentralization provisions mandated in 2012 and 2014 constitutions.
  • Procured over one million election commodities, such as ballot boxes and seals.
  • Fielded almost 200 international election observers for the 2014 constitutional referendum and presidential election and the 2015 parliamentary election combined.

Current Activities

Political Processes Support: This activity works with the Egyptian government and civil society stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of election authorities to administer elections and increase voter awareness of elections. It supports the development of the official nationwide voter information and education campaigns led by Egypt’s election commissions as well as the delivery of civil society-led campaigns ahead of elections. It provides professional development training to governmental and non-governmental electoral stakeholders on key electoral and democratic principles and international best practices on various election-related issues. This activity assists with the procurement of essential election materials such as ballot boxes, seals, and secure envelopes that enhance the integrity and transparency of elections. Implementing Partner: International Foundation for Electoral Systems; Life of Project: May 1, 2012-May 31, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $14.9 million. 

Women’s Political Empowerment: This multi-donor activity promotes political participation among women and members of marginalized groups. It helps women obtain national identification documents needed to become registered voters and provides training and capacity building to women who are potentially interested in running for parliament or local offices. It advocates for electoral and political processes that include women and provides training to key stakeholders and the media on the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment. To date, this activity has resulted in 182,000 women across Egypt (78,500 through USAID funding) obtaining national ID cards. Implementing Partner: UN Women; Project Dates: February 9, 2012-June 30, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $1.4 million.

Youth Civic Engagement (Tamkeen): This activity helps school-aged girls develop the skills they need to be leaders in their communities. It also develops the ability of small community-based civil society organizations (CSOs) to use social media; conduct strategic planning; and design, implement, monitor, and evaluate projects that increase girls’ civic engagement. More than 5,400 beneficiaries have received voter and civic education through this activity. In addition, 40 small CSOs have received training on raising the civic awareness of female youth. The activity has supported nine networking meetings in three governorates during which CSOs, as well as school-aged girls, were able to share experiences, success stories, best practices, and lessons learned. Implementing Partner: Coptic Orphans Support Association; Total USAID Funding: $1.8 million.

Safe Cities Free from Violence Against Women and Girls: This multi-donor project initially worked to combat sexual harassment in public. As a result of its success both at the community level and in promoting legislation to combat sexual violence, its scope has expanded to include support mechanisms for survivors of violence against women. The Safe Cities project is strengthening shelters and other first-contact service providers and enhancing community-based services for rehabilitation, health, and legal support for survivors and their families. It supports advocacy on changing perceptions and uses innovative awareness-raising tools such as interactive community theater, storytelling, and art to promote a culture of zero-tolerance for violence against women – and a culture of responsibility towards the survivors of this abuse. Implementing Partner: UN Women; Life of Project: October 1, 2013-September 30, 2019; Total USAID Funding: $7 million.

Support for Persons with Disabilities (Karama): This activity will work with journalists to support persons with disabilities by developing relationships that advocate on behalf of disabled persons and a national coalition to improve understanding of opportunities for advocacy and action. Karama will also leverage the media to promote positive examples of persons with disabilities who are engaged and active in their communities in order to change commonly held perceptions of disabled people. The activity will help organizations and journalists to identify the government’s responsibility to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in the areas of health, education, training, employment and rehabilitation. Project activities will also highlight the rights and needs of primary caregivers, usually women in the family, who are responsible for ensuring that healthcare and education are provided. Implementing Partner: Internews; Life of Project: September 30, 2015-September 29, 2017; Total USAID Funding: $498,950.

Promoting Civic Education Among Youth in North Sinai: This activity builds a culture of civic participation and volunteerism among youth in conflict-affected North Sinai through high-impact civic education. The activity helped establish a volunteer center that promotes a culture of volunteerism and provides youth an alternate way to improve their communities. This activity helped train 2,200 youth to exercise their political rights at the community-level, such as through their tribal government or school elections, and 2,400 grassroots community leaders participated in workshops on the importance of including youth in community decision-making. Ten project beneficiaries now serve as deputies to tribal leaders, increasing the number of youth in senior tribal leadership roles from zero to ten. One project beneficiary won a seat in Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections. In addition, through this activity, 240 young people worked together to plan, design, and implement eight projects that respond to community-identified priorities. Implementing Partner: El-Gora Community Development Society; Life of Project: January 2, 2008-May 29, 2019; Total USAID Funding: $1.9 million.

Positive Life Alternatives for Egyptian Youth At-Risk of Irregular Migration: In response to the conclusions in the State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report and in support of the Government of Egypt’s commitments under the Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants and the Valletta Action Plan on Migration, this activity focuses on prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of trafficking victims, and prosecution of traffickers. Prevention efforts include public awareness-raising campaigns through traditional and new media and workshops to inform Egyptians about the dangers associated with irregular migration, the risks of becoming a victim of trafficking, and options for safe and regular migration. To complement the awareness-raising campaigns and further deter irregular migration, prevention efforts also include vocational training in the tourism sector for youth. Protection interventions combine USAID’s expertise in democracy and economic growth to support Egypt’s efforts to ensure that victims of trafficking are properly identified and that they receive comprehensive services such as shelter, social and psychosocial counselling, health care services, legal counselling, vocational training, and livelihood support. Prosecution activities support government efforts to improve training on trafficking in persons to strengthen prosecutors’ knowledge of the law and their skills to investigate human trafficking safely and effectively. Implementing Partner: International Organization on Migration; Life of Project: September 30, 2015-December 30, 2017; Total USAID Funding: $3.2 million.

Strengthening the Capacity of the Egyptian Judiciary: This activity provides training on mediation, international conventions, and intellectual property to judges and officials from the Ministry of Justice. It also provides professional development in areas such as leadership, case management, and the use of analytic and problem-solving approaches in applying the law when adjudicating cases. This activity is strengthening the quality of instruction at Egypt’s National Center for Judicial Studies by helping instructors increase their understanding of and ability to apply best practices in judicial education. The 1,000 judges and officials receiving training from this activity will help to advance the effectiveness of judicial institutions, which is critical to Egypt’s reform goals. Implementing Partner: American Bar Association; Life of Project: December 15, 2014-December 14, 2017; Total USAID Funding: $4.9 million. 

Continuing Legal Education for Young Lawyers: This activity provides training on contemporary legal issues and on developing legal skills for young Egyptian lawyers to make them more effective participants in the justice system. Project activities have strengthened the essential professional skills of more than 2,000 young lawyers and recent law graduates. In addition, this activity works with law faculties of Egyptian universities to provide training on interactive teaching, integration of skills training into courses, and establishment of law clinics. Nearly 800 law students from all eleven Egyptian public university faculties of law have participated in one or more trainings, moot court competitions, or legal writing competitions. Implementing Partner: American Bar Association; Life of Project: May 26, 2008-February 29, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $5.7 million.  

Effective Planning and Services Project: This activity supports Egyptian-led efforts to decentralize its government as mandated by Egypt’s new constitution. Assistance is provided to the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform and other Egyptian government institutions to implement fiscal, administrative, and political decentralization reforms. USAID is also supporting the development of 14 one-stop shop service centers in Upper Egypt and Ismailia that provide services such as issuing building permits and small business licenses in a transparent, convenient, and efficient manner. Implementing Partner: AECOM; Life of Project: September 30, 2012-September 30, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $9.6 million.

Last updated: October 11, 2016

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