Opportunities for vulnerable groups and gender perspectives in Egypt
Equality is about ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to make the most of their live and talents regardless of where they were born, come from, what they believe, gender or whether they have a disability. In our Orange Knowledge project in Egypt, opportunities for marginalized and vulnerable groups and gender perspectives are high on the achievement list.
In this project MSM and its consortium partners intend to enhance water efficiency and food security in Egypt by means of capacity building at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education (HE). People from TVET and HE institutions as well as other stakeholders are being involved in an inclusive way where there is strived for tangible and applicable outputs and disseminate these to farmers, small enterprises, agro-industries and exporters.
Equal opportunities for both men and women in the agricultural sector
The project activities aim to assure equal opportunities for both men and women in the agricultural sector. Research has indicated that a significant role is attributed to women (over 50% of the total labor force in agriculture) in Egypt for the food production and household food security. The project strives to use both male and female faculty members and instructors to conduct research and trainings. The curriculum development activities will address issues on gender in the agricultural sector and include the development of a female talent program.
A gender scan has been carried out by MSM's Gender Experts, Ms. Herma Majoor and Project Manager, Prof. Meine Pieter van Dijk among the two Egyptian educational institutions participating in this project: Kafrelsheikh university (KES) and Sadat City University (ESRI). The gender scan will act as a baseline which will further influence the project activities to achieve gender inclusiveness. The gender scan revealed among others that a gender focal point is of importance, especially because women are the majority of the students and the number is growing steadily. Also, a gradual increase in female staff members has been seen. Both growth numbers could be led back to the discipline that female students have to better their education achievements and the extra efforts made to reach their goals. Furthermore, the institutes don’t have any clear gender policies yet, in which the project will put extra attention to the inclusion of gender in the revised courses as well as developing a female talent program in the institutes.
Women in the agricultural sector
In general, the agricultural sector is quite a male dominated industry, which we also found back in our gender quick scan. Women have to have more qualifications and put in more effort to get to certain positions. Female students have difficulties with gaining employment in the agricultural sector and often do not own their own businesses or land. Nevertheless, the improvements that knowledge institutions introduced over the years ranging from more education to providing more opportunities and employment for women should not be excluded. These activities will be further supported and evaluated during the project.
Low incomes and climate changes are affecting farmers
Egyptian farmers are in the lowest income bracket and from the least educated sector of the population. Their social-economic status would categorize them as a marginalized group among the Egyptian society.
Climate changes further impact this group as a shift in the agricultural landscape is expected, requiring both financial and human resources. Therefore, the development and revision of educational products will therefore also focus on the knowledge dissemination and the upgrading of the skills among this group to assure that small-scale farmer operations remain viable.
Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.
About the project
This project intends to enhance water efficiency and food security in Egypt by means of capacity building at TVET/HE. The project has set up thematic workgroups around identified issues in the Delta and at the edge of the Desert, combining Dutch and Egyptian expertise, involving people at TVET/HE institutions and other stakeholders in an inclusive way, striving for tangible and applicable outputs and disseminate these to farmers, small enterprises, agro-industries and exporters.
Essential water and agricultural investments in Egyptian project to strengthen TVET’s
‘Enhancing water efficiency and food security through Egyptian TVETs’
 Abdel-Gawad, K. I. (2017) The Role of Women in Egyptian Agriculture.