FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company, announced a long-term investment of more than ...
UNDP: Aswan made significant progress under Waai Program for enhancing awareness, educating communities
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in Egypt Alessandro Gracassetti said the Upper Egypt city of Aswan has made significant progress in enhancing public awareness and engagement with critical social issues, particularly under the Waai Program for Community Development.
He made the remarks during his visit to Aswan as part of preparations for celebrating the International Women’s Day on March 8th.
“Our partnership with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the European Union aims to support the Ministry’s social protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while raising awareness of the critical social protection issues facing the most vulnerable communities,” he said.
“Today, we are proud to witness the remarkable impact the joint project has had on the ground, and the crucial role of the Waai Program in enhancing awareness and educating communities,” he added.
“With each campaign, the Waai Program further mobilizes local knowledge to promote social protection issues and empower communities to bring about the change they want to see,” he said.
“This highlights the importance of raising awareness in communities, cultivating future leaders who are knowledgeable about these social issues and aware of their potential for driving community development,” he expounded.
The recently launched ‘FGM is a Crime’ campaign builds on the Ministry’s goal to end FGM by educating communities about the dangers and risks associated with this harmful practice, which thankfully has been declining in recent years. FGM prevalence among girls and women from the age of 0-19 years old decreased from 21% in 2014 to 14 % in 2021 (EFHS, 2021), he added.
The recent campaign is paving the way for even further change. So far, the campaign has reached more than 875,000 beneficiaries, he added.
“We cannot overlook the critical role played by Civil Society Organizations and community social workers in disseminating such crucial messages in their respective local communities,” he highlighted.
“I want to thank the women leaders present here today. You are key pillars of society and agents of change who led by example, while supporting the project’s mandate of effectively communicating critical messages relating to COVID-19, child marriage, FGM, and other vital issues within your communities,” he said.
MoSS directorates, community social workers, and CSOs contracted by the project are contributing to enhancing public awareness of critical social protection issues under the Waai Program, in 27 governorates, including villages targeted by Hayah Karima.
It is fitting that we are gathered here today in Benban, the first village to declare the abandonment of FGM, in 2006, he noted.
In the wake of that declaration, UNDP visited Benban the same year to commend the community for its work and achievements, he said.
He underscored “The EU has been a strong partner in this cause, providing substantial support through various initiatives and programs aimed at eradicating FGM, including the ‘FGM Free Village Model’ project.”
Since then, community members in Benban have been at the forefront of raising awareness.
“Today, we can see the fine example Benban has set for others to follow, and the positive path they have paved,” he highlighted.
“I look forward to continuing our cooperation with the community members here in Benban, as they inspire others to drive positive change in their own communities,” he said.
“Finally, I would like to highlight the strategic partnership between the ministry, the EU and UNDP, which serves as an example of the significant results that can be attained through strategic cooperation,” he said.
“I look forward to learning more about the campaign’s recent successes against FGM and hearing from community social workers and beneficiaries about their experiences,” he said, adding “I am also excited to see the theatrical performance about the social protection issues of the Waai Program.”
“It is important to remember that the performing arts does not only entertain us; it is also powerful mediums of expression with great potential to inform, educate, and raise social awareness,” he said, adding “It can contribute to community development by inspiring us to strive towards positive social change.”