Opportunity Now: Jobs & Health for Women in Egypt

As a divorced woman in Upper Egypt, Sherine Khallaf faced extreme poverty and stigma. "Sherine was not allowed to work to provide for her daughter. She was supposed to stay home, " said Reem Mehanna, Pathfinder’s FORSA Project Director.

“We hired Sherine as an outreach worker for the FORSA project,” Reem said. “She did extremely well in training and began making home visits—raising health awareness among her neighbors. She has become one of our project’s heroes."

Sherine says, “The feeling of contentment after each visit I pay to a family—giving them information helping them and their children become healthier—and my ability to pay for my daughter’s provisions, are extra motives.”

“Women can do work, gain their money, be powerful, and do something important to change lives," said Alaa Hassan Mahmoud, Pathfinder’s M&E Coordinator. "They can do this while gaining the respect of their family and community.”

"The project gives opportunities to a particularly disadvantaged part of the community: young people, especially women. This is about more than just money and health awareness. It’s about empowerment. This is their opportunity to be heard."In 2011, Pathfinder launched the Fostering Opportunities in Rural Southern Areas (FORSA) project, supported by USAID. Last week, Pathfinder Project Director, Reem Mehanna, sat down to share an update. Read why she says FORSA is a “women’s project” and why it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“FORSA” means “opportunity” in Arabic. Why is this name so appropriate?
We work in Assiut and Souhag, two of the poorest, most remote governorates in Upper Egypt. The project gives opportunities to a particularly disadvantaged part of the community—young people, especially women. This is about more than just money and health awareness. It’s about empowerment. This is their opportunity to be heard. Their opportunity to gain experience and exposure to things outside of their day-to-day challenges and obligations.

This is an integrated project. How exactly does FORSA bring together microfinance, economic growth, productivity, and improved health outcomes?
Young women in these communities face dire poverty, so improving their health is not a priority for them at all. If there is money available, she will take her kids or her husband to the doctor. She will not take herself. So we cannot talk about improving health without addressing the extreme poverty.

FORSA is doing both. To spread health awareness in communities and create new jobs, the project trains outreach workers to conduct home visits. Later, we continue to build outreach workers’ skills through the “Egyptian Women Speak Out” program. Some community women who attend this program are offered in-kind microgrants to start their small businesses to secure income for themselves and their families.

What kinds of microenterprises?
Soap making, accessories crafting, bed sheets and linens tailoring, candle making, mushroom farming, pickling, vegetables freezing, food drying and preserving, jam making, or whatever the woman chooses.

Tell me more about these outreach workers. They seem to be at the heart of the project.
They are FORSA’s first target group—community women selected and recruited to work within our local implementing partners to spread health awareness to their neighbors through home visits. So far, we have trained 947 outreach workers from partner NGOs and community-based organizations. The project provides two types of trainings—a course on interpersonal communication skills and counseling, as well medical training for sharing health messages.

According to our project design, 90 percent of these outreach workers are women between the ages of 18 and 30. These outreach jobs help empower women with income, training, experience, and exposure.

"In these communities, women face poverty, poor education, stereotypes, and discriminatory traditions. They often lack self-esteem and awareness about much outside of the role they are given within the family, related to childbearing and rearing. They need information, so we are giving it to them."Take me through a home visit.
Each outreach worker is in charge of 100 households, visiting every one once a month. When she arrives, she assesses the needs of the family and tailors her health messages accordingly. For example, if the household has a women who is breastfeeding, the outreach worker will share information about breastfeeding, nutrition, hygiene of the baby, and so on. If the woman is pregnant, she will talk about safe delivery. Other times, she will spread awareness of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy.

You’ve said that outreach workers carry more than just health messages. With their actions, they are saying, “We, WOMAN, can make a difference.” Why has FORSA chosen to focus specifically on women in this way?
I used to work in the Takamol project, a Pathfinder-led, USAID-funded project in Egypt. I was the gender specialist. Because of my experiences, I have come to see FORSA as a women’s project. The main beneficiaries are women. 

Why women? In these communities, women face poverty, poor education, stereotypes, and discriminatory traditions. They often lack self-esteem and awareness about much outside of the role they are given within the family, related to childbearing and rearing. They need information, so we are giving it to them. For me, this is the challenge facing any female empowerment project—how women see themselves. If a woman is empowered to change how she sees herself, she can change how the whole community sees her. Women can change societies from within. This is also what makes the project sustainable; whatever skills, training, or awareness we give this woman, she is going to act as a positive deviant all the time, if she is convinced.

And don’t forget—in these communities, women are the main actors within the household, even if this is not said openly. If a woman is empowered with greater awareness about her health, she can shift the whole attitude of her family toward health and hygiene, toward using health facilities. At the very least, she can influence the attitudes of her children.

What is “Egyptian Women Speak Out”?
Based on "Arab Women Speak Out," a program developed by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs about 10 years ago to promote women's empowerment and participation. It has been tailored for each of the Arab countries, presenting a model for training women from similar backgrounds.

FORSA took the program and tailored it to increase its economic focus. Now, during the six-day workshop, women are trained in decision-making, prioritization, and negotiation skills, as well small projects or handicrafts to start their own businesses. We engage women to consider their roles in their families and communities. We also show them how to build on and utilize social solidarity and the safe networks around them.

Looking back on everything you have been able to accomplish, which of FORSA’s achievements are you most proud of?
Honestly, the fact that we have been able to implement the project without delays. The political atmosphere and security issues in Egypt did affect us. There were times when we couldn’t go down to the field or administer trainings or home visits. It was a challenge, but it was out of our hands. Yet, we developed some tools and processes, and changed our implementation strategy. We move in teams, choose the right routes, and check security situations before visiting communities. Our priority is always for our outreach workers and staff to be safe.

Were there any other issues related to security and how did your team overcome them?
Remember, we are working in two governorates in Upper Egypt where we have a lot of vengeance situations. Families face problems—shootings, killings. Accordingly, when the work started, some of the households decided they could not be part of the home visits; it might endanger them to have people coming into their homes. We certainly respected that and took steps moving forward:

First, we made sure to involve community leaders and the heads of our partner organizations (NGOs and community-based organizations) to ensure no household would be entered unless the family was completely comfortable with the project and visits from the outreach workers. Second, we immediately replaced all of the households that withdrew, so other families could benefit from the services.

And you continued successfully, meeting your targets?
"If a woman is empowered with greater awareness about her health, she can shift the whole attitude of her family toward health and hygiene, toward using health facilities. At the very least, she can influence the attitudes of her children."Yes! We are moving according to schedule. Everything is going quite well. This is not the case for most of the development projects in Egypt.

To go back to your previous question, one of our main achievements is that we actually got this project started in the first place. It took a year and four months to get the approvals from the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs. This is something. If you think about it from the government’s point of view—this is American money to be spent on women in Upper Egypt, working with 75 community-based organizations on health awareness. This would have been easy to reject because the very turbulent times we are going through, the political instability. Having fundamentalists in power for a year, women empowerment is something few want to hear about.

So for over a year, we followed up daily with the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We went everywhere. We wouldn’t stop. And we succeeded. That is the message of our project. We will not stop.

Maren Vespia

Maren Vespia

Maren Vespia is Pathfinder's Communications Specialist.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

To marc jacobs outlet a cheap jordan shoes certain degree, gaming is similar coach outlet to just polo ralph lauren outlet one giant michael kors outlet blowout, similar to I'm just throughout actuality at toms outlet this longchamp pas cher point, nonetheless ways authentic burberry outlet is usually great globe? I will louis vuitton bags visit faculty 5 a short time each week plus I will access supra shoes it an important aeroplanes along with We'd proceed from north face outlet about louis vuitton outlet only coach outlet two so that ferragamo outlet you mulberry uk can mcm bags six metropolitan true religion outlet areas juicy couture outlet any saturday and sunday. birkin bags Occasionally, I might ray ban sunglasses pay bottega veneta outlet a visit to karen millen dresses quality in the true religion jeans am christian louboutin outlet not to mention carry out presents during the nighttime. Going the moment want coach outlet hurrying chi flat iron to longchamp pas cher the red bottom shoes reveal throughout Philadelphia following possessing type longchamp which usually coach outlet dawn, DOCUMENT valentino outlet resolved oakley sunglasses to tory burch outlet go directly to the actual flight destination. I understand the planning to injured and yet could very well be it insanity workout dvd turned out ralph lauren pas cher satisfied for that justification. true religion outlet The item really may need to manifest cheap ghd straighteners for prada outlet the duration of living. That is definitely the way we know whois attending get generally prada outlet there for my family in addition to who is never if louboutin outlet anyone hollister uk considered Lululemon outlet that will, which has been hard companion reconsider

chanel outlet
oakley sunglasses June 30, 2014
coach handbags new 2014 louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton outlet coach factory christian louboutin sale coach factory michael kors outlet coach black Friday sale 2014 kate spade michael kors coach handbags new 2014 michael kors outlet christian louboutin shoes sale coachfactory.com michael kors handbags cheap michael kors handbags louis vuitton handbags outlet www.louisvuitton.com red bottom shoes coach factory online coach factory coach factory outlet louis vuitton coach outlet online coach bags coach factory michael kors handbags louis vuitton outlet christian louboutin shoes louis vuitton outlet coach factory outlet michael kors coach factory online michael kors coach handbags michael kors outlet cheap louis vuitton handbags lululemon clothing michael kors handbags coach handbags coach factory louis vuitton red bottom shoes christian louboutin discount louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet store online louis vuitton handbags ran ban sunglasses outlet www.michaelkors.com rayban outlet coach outlet coach outlet black Friday coach outlet store louis vuitton christian louboutin outlet michael kors outlet online louis vuitton michael kors factory online michael kors handbags michael kors handbags coach outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet louis vuitton handbags cheap coach factory outlet coach outlet store michael kors factory outlet louis vuitton louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet online michael kors handbags louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton michael kors factory outlet coach factory outlet louis vuitton black Friday true religion louis vuitton handbags sale michael kors outlet coach factory outlet online louis vuitton handbag coach factory coach factory outlet louis vuitton outlet online red bottom shoes outlet christian louboutin outlet coachfactory.com louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton usa michael kors michael kors handbags outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton handbags michael kors michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet cheap red bottoms michael kors handbags oakley sunglasses coach handbags red bottom shoes cheap christian louboutin shoes michael kors outlet coach factory outlet coach factory outlet online michael kors outlet online kate spade outlet mont blanc pens michael kors louis vuitton handbags coach factory online coach factory outlet louis vuitton handbags coach outlet coach factory outlet michael kors handbags authentic louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet coach factory outlet cheap oakleys coach factory outlet michael kors coach handbags new 2014 michael kors handbags michael kors outlet oakley sunglasses coachfactory.com louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet stores louis vuitton outlet stores christian louboutin outlet louis vuitton red bottom heels coach factory outlet louis vuitton outlet coach factory outlet coach outlet store online michael kors outlet louis vuitton handbags outlet louis vuitton outlet online coach outlet michael kors handbags coach factory outlet coach factory online michael kors outlet online michael kors outlet online christian louboutin sale cheap lululemon michael kors handbags www.coachfactory.com louis vuitton sale coach outlet michael kors handbags coach factory outlet online louis vuitton cheap michael kors black Friday 2014 louisvuitton.com louis vuitton 2014 coach factory outlet online louis vuitton lululemon warehouse ray ban outlet lululemon outlet coach outlet michael kors handbags michael kors handbags christian louboutin shoes louis vuitton louis vuitton online shop louis vuitton handbags christian louboutin shoes michael kors online michael kors handbags michaelkors.com coach handbags coach outlet louis vuitton michael kors handbags michael kors handbags louis vuitton outlet cheap michael kors purses coach factory outlet true religion outlet red bottom shoes louis vuitton oakley sunglaase cheap coach handbags 2014 coach outlet louis vuitton cheap christian louboutin michael kors outlet michael kors outlet coach outlet store online cheap christian louboutin coach outlet coach outlet store online michael kors factory outlet christian louboutin coach handbags www.coachfactory.com michael kors outlet coach factory outlet christian louboutin oakley sunglasses louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton michael kors purses outlet michael kors outlet online coach outlet online michael kors black Friday coach outlet store online louis vuitton handbags michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet michael kors coach factory outlet online cheap christian louboutin red bottom shoes michael kors handbags louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet michael kors sale louis vuitton coachfactory.com coach outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet coach factory louis vuitton outlet lululemon pants oakley outlet coach outlet coach handbags michael kors factory coach outlet store online michael kors outlet michael kors online louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton outlet online coach factory outlet michael kors outlet online louis vuitton outlet stores montblanc pens oakley sunglasses outlet louis vuitton handbags coach factory online louis vuitton black Friday 2014 louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton louis vuitton handbags michael kors handbags louis vuitton stores coach.com mont blanc pens discount michael kors purses christian louboutin coach outlet online coach factory outlet louis vuitton 2014 michael kors factory coach outlet online louis vuitton outlet michael kors handbags online christian louboutin outlet store coach outlet online coach factory outlet true religion jeans louis vuitton coach factory coach factory outlet online louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet online discount christian louboutin christian louboutin sale coach factory online michael kors michael kors michael kors bags michael kors outlet coach factory outlet coach factory store michael kors sale coach factory outlet store oakley sunglasses michael kors outlet online coach factory outlet michael kors bags michael kors purses louis vuitton michael kors outlet coach factory outlet coach factory outlet online louis vuitton cheap coach outlet michael kors handbags michaelkors.com michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton handbags coach outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet online michael kors outlet michael kors louis vuitton online store louis vuitton outlet stores michael kors handbags louis vuitton coach outlet coachfactory.com christian louboutin outlet coach factory outlet red bottom shoes coach factory discount christian louboutin coach factory michael kors coach outlet store online coach factory louis vuitton outlet coach handbags new 2014 michael kors outlet cheap michael kors handbags kate spade handbags louis vuitton handbags louis vuitton handbags outlet louis vuitton coach factory michael kors outlet coach factory outlet coach factory coach outlet stores louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet online mont blanc pens christian louboutin outlet online store coach factory outlet coach factory christian louboutin sale louis vuitton handbags christian louboutin coach black Friday
suxiaocai June 19, 2014
beats by dr dre marc jacobs nike free louis vuitton outlet tory burch outlet michael kors outlet tiffany outlet celine outlet prada handbags dolce gabbana louis vuitton handbags cheap oakley sunglasses chi flat iron coach factory cheap jordans michael kors outlet louis vuitton fake oakley sunglasses polo ralph lauren michael kors cheap oakley coach outlet true religion jeans michael kors handbags cheap oakley sunglasses spyder jackets barbour outlet coach factory online cheap oakleys cheap oakleys coach purses givenchy handbags coachfactory.com Dolce & Gabbana ray ban sunglasses louis vuitton handbags michael kors factory outlet coach factory outlet online gucci outlet fitflop ray ban sunglasses oakley sunglasses ray ban outlet tory burch outlet online cheap oakley sunglasses coach factory outlet christian louboutin shoes tory burch outlet the north face outlet oakley sunglasses tory burch shoes hollister clothing michael kors handbags turbo fire workout louis vuitton handbags cheap jerseys toms outlet timberland boots juicy couture belstaff outlet moncler jackets nike outlet gucci handbags michael kors handbags fendi handbags nike free shoes louis vuitton handbags cheap oakley sunglasses coach outlet polo ralph lauren outlet cheap jordans shoes dior handbags michael kors outlet coach factory outlet online coach outlet store online louis vuitton outlet online louis vuitton handbags celine outlet red bottom shoes louis vuitton outlet online air jordans michael kors bottega veneta tiffany jewelry oakley sunglasses cheap canada goose outlet oakley sunglasses discount louis vuitton outlet oakley sunglasses outlet louis vuitton outlet cheap oakley ray ban outlet belstaff outlet guess outlet tiffany jewelry cheap ray ban sunglasses toms shoes gucci outlet alexander wang michael kors outlet gucci shoes coach factory outlet ghd hair straighteners burberry outlet cheap oakley ray ban sunglasses cheap hermes belts jordan retro 3 oakley sunglasses outlet ferragamo shoes cheap ray ban sunglasses cheap oakleys coach outlet christian louboutin outlet tory burch louis vuitton handbags insanity workouts ray ban sunglasses cheap true religion cheap jordan shoes cheap nfl jersyes michael kors handbags oakley sunglasses outlet coachfactory.com louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet online kate spade outlet coach factory outlet coach factory outlet burberry outlet ray ban outlet ugg outlet louis vuitton oakley sunglasses cheap barbour outlet oakley sunglasses coach factory coach factory outlet online juicy couture coach factory louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet coach factory outlet online coach factory outlet cheap jordans kate spade outlet cheap nfl jerseys coach factory outlet online michael kors factory outlet christian louboutin outlet michael kors factory outlet michael kors factory outlet nike shoes michael jordan shoes ugg boots louis vuitton oakley sunglasses kate spade outlet versace sunglasses ray ban sunglasses cheap louis vuitton outlet coach outlet cheap oakleys michael kors outlet uggs outlet tiffany and co hermes birkin kate spade handbags belstaff true religion outlet marc jacobs outlet louis vuitton hogan outlet supra shoes tory burch outlet michael kors watches nike dunk shoes cheap ray ban sunglasses michael kors handbags michael kors factory outlet abercrombie kids michael kors louis vuitton outlet online mulberry handbags kate spade handbags oakley sunglasses cheap coach factory outlet online michael kors handbags nike shoes toms shoes fitflop shoes p90x workouts coach fatory outlet online ray ban outlet nike free run true religion jeans coach factory outlet ralph lauren outlet miu miu coach outlet belstaff jackets jordan 9 coach factory coach factory store online fitflop shoes cheap ray ban sunglasses tory burch shoes chi hair straighteners chanel outlet jordan shoes louis vuitton oakley sunglasses cheap christian louboutin coach factory outlet mont blanc pens coach outlet jimmy choo jordan retro 11 jordan 11 cheap hollister clothes ray ban sunglasses cheap coach factory
gfndddd7 June 19, 2014
Just give it a chance, and you'll find that the city Women Louis Vuitton Artsy MM-Brown Fake Ray Bans Aviator Louis Vuitton M40249 has so much Women Louis Vuitton Alma MM-Brown Louis Vuitton M53150 more to offer than crime and fear.
anyous June 12, 2014
@Sometimes it is even hard to find a well-crafted copy, do not forget to find the authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Handbags version. No one Louis Vuitton Bags wants experience Michael Kors Online Outlet the anger and michael kors bags abashment after your Louis Vuitton Outlet Online lovely bag at coach outlet Louis Vuitton. coach outlet online store Authentic Louis Vuitton coach factory bags and Louis barbour sale uk Vuitton handbags are chanel bags special because they LV outlet are so well made. They consist of only the best of everything. of them. LV never made. Let's go for kate spade outlet online the leather. New Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas is pink and will be light brown after several Year coach outlet of use. You katespade.com should not find louis vuitton wallets a designer bag coach.com and try to Michael Kors Handbags buy a handbag chanel factory outlet that match Kate Spade Bags with their outfit. chanel outlet online Louis Vuitton sale barbour.com has the latest Louis Vuitton Handbags and most fashionable LV handbags cheap designer handbags Chanel Outlet Online that women love. Louis Vuitton Bags Louis Vuitton Louis vuitton outlet Sale has other Louis vuitton Sale things such as barbour jackets shoes, belts and Kate Spade New York other accessories. Louis Vuitton Bags Louis Vuitton handbags Michael Kors Outlet sale, the are michael kors outlet made of pure Michael Kors Outlet leather. The handbags louis vuitton luggage are not only kate spade outlet Confidence in the Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags source of revenues. kate spade With so many kate spade handbags fraudulent, fly-by-night outfits, coach outlet online customers need to Louis Vuitton Bags be vigilant in louis vuitton handbags Check credentials Louis Vuitton Outlet of those who Kate Spade Outlet claim that authentic Cheap Louis Vuitton
Michael Kors June 5, 2014
I don't know how to thank you, so I will only you need informations about say that I was reading your text with great pleasure. Keep up the good work! http://e-brokerforex.com/forex-trading-strategies/ Many, many thanks!
forex trading online May 17, 2014
However after using the Habitrol Patches I found that they worked much better than the Nicoderm CQ Patches. If someone takes 3 or 4 large capsule shaped pills, like fish oil, and large multiple vitamins or large vitamin C pills, it can be difficult to get them out. gluten I have had one of these for several years now. This is month 2 and so far its coming on day 32 instead of day 26!!!!!!!! No more periods twice in a 5 wk month. I would like to see the wetness indicator on the sizes 3 and above. gluten free
Jean Carson April 23, 2014
beghfghale [url=http://kopfhfhcom/]bfhches[/url] http://kopfhfhfghr.com/
gaf April 23, 2014
The replica Rolex watches can be compared to swiss replica watches a section of jewellery,such is the attending and feel.The stainless animate getting acclimated is of the accomplished grade; mostly these are crafted by accomplished humans who use precious stones and 18 karat gold to aftermath some of the a lot of amazing models.Mass assembly is one affair that cannot be begin in such watches.Like their rolex datejust replica branded counterparts,these are aswell fabricated with the absolute affliction and concern,Accomplished adroitness is complex and the manufacturers accomplish abiding that there are replica watches uk no grudges from the barter application abounding of these products.Quite a few manufacturers and retailers accept body up a acceptability for themselves in this specific arena.And abounding of these are alms the latest and the best models at actual abstinent costs.Quite amazing,isn't it?Just absorb your money wisely on some top superior artist replicas and you're as acceptable as a brilliant on a red carpeting evening.Replica handbags are articles bogus to carbon the aboriginal articles of chanel outlet designers like Louis Vuitton,Prada,Gucci and the like.Top superior artist replica handbags are fabricated to mirror the aboriginal as carefully as possible.
kimi April 16, 2014
blog post Greetings! The site is great. Thank you for a great resource
jacky January 24, 2014
You got a very practical weblog for a nice and right here studying approximately a little while by now. I will make my colleagues read it. Thank you for sharing. Amazon watch dogs jacket
wandachavez December 31, 2013
Replica watch will make some individuals really feel repulsion. But in fact, they can should have your consideration. Despite of some weak reproductions, you can find some superb Cartier designer watches available in the trading markets. Compared with these weak false designer watches, prime replica watch like duplicate Cartier designer watches are not only fashionable in layout wealthy in top quality but also listed with cheap prices. They're the greatest choices as presents&mdashchic, very affordable and functional. Rule essentially should remind her that that which you post is often a replica watches . Do not allow her feel like you mislead her as a result of mailing her a reproduction. Describe las vegas dui attorney won't be able to get real variation as well as the top quality and stylish the bell and ross replica for sale of her. Don't forget how the legitimate importance of reward is not really assessed by cost.
replica watches December 19, 2013
In these areas, females experience hardship, inadequate knowledge, generalizations, and discriminatory customs. They often absence self-esteem and attention about much outside of the part they are given within members of the family members, relevant to childbirth and raising. They need details, so we are providing it to them. from an essays site
jabberwock December 9, 2013
Scroll to top