European Union supports Egypt in collaboration with UNICEF to expand educational opportunities and enforce child protection systems
The European Union (EU) and the Government of Egypt (GoE), represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation, the Ministry of Education, and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched today the five-year programme “Expanding Access to Education and Protection for at Risk Children in Egypt”. The programme’s budget amounts to a total of 36 million Euro- out of which the EU has contributed 30 million Euro- to increase the access to education of the most vulnerable and socially excluded children and to strengthen child protection in up to 15 selected Egyptian governorates.
“Through its substantial contribution to this programme, the European Union is partnering with the Egyptian Government, as well as with UNICEF, to address some of the most critical needs of Egypt’s poorest children, namely access to quality education and child protection,” said the Chargé d’ Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to Egypt, Reinhold Brender. He added “Investing in children today is a good step to ensure a brighter tomorrow.”
“Decreasing and preventing the number of out-of-school children at the primary school age; as well as integrating children with minor disabilities in the education system are two key priority areas for the Ministry”, says the Minister of Education Dr. El Hilali El Shernini. “The EU and UNICEF are working with the Ministry to expand community schools and the inclusive public schools to accommodate the needs of around 36,000 children.”
From her part, Dr. Maissa Shawky, Deputy Minister of Health and Population and Representative of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood stated: “The National council for Childhood and Motherhood is working hard on activating the roles and duties of the Child Protection Committees that are stipulated in the Egyptian Child Law. This requires amendments to the Law and its executive regulations in order to specify the sub ordinance of the Committees and their terms of reference; as well as the linkage with the Child Helpline to enable response to the most vulnerable children and protect them from all forms of maltreatment and abuse”.
The Programme aims at establishing 1,200 community schools, enrolling 30,000 new pupils, upgrading 200 public primary schools to cater to the needs of around 6,000 children with disabilities. Moreover, 100,000 children will benefit from improved teaching and a more child-friendly environment in the targeted schools. Finally, 20,000 children will be supported by more effective child protection mechanisms through 15 Child Protection Committees (CPC) in 15 Governorates operating in line with the Egyptian Constitution and Child Law to protect Egyptian children from maltreatment.
“It is vital to take every opportunity to invest in education and respond to children at risk. The EU-UNICEF global partnership extends to Egypt, working closely with the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood to support these two basic child rights,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt. “Together we are committed to actions that will lead to tangible improvements in the lives of every child in Egypt.”
During the launch event, which took place at Hafiz Ibrahim primary school in Cairo, the Governor of Assuit Engineer Yasser El Dessouky has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF to coordinate efforts on activation of Child Protection Committees as a first step towards strengthening their services on the governorate, district and village level in Assuit.