Boosting Young Women’s Awareness, Agency, Advocacy and Accountability (YW4A) in Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Through the Young Women for Awareness, Agency, Advocacy, and Accountability (YW4A)  programme, the World YWCA is focusing on multi-sectoral partnerships, especially around faith, in four countries; Palestine, Egypt, South Sudan and Kenya. YW4A aims to strengthen and diversify young women’s participation and amplify their voices, to effectively influence decision-making towards gender-just policies, laws and practices related to their bodily autonomy.

Women in these countries face multiple layers of violence and discrimination, and lack of access to full human rights. The impact of the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges.

The programme, led by the World YWCA, is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, by a consortium of eight core partners and 23 local women’s rights and faith-based organisations in these four countries.

World YWCA and its YW4A partners confirm their commitment to :

  • Develop the leadership, advocacy and capacity building skills of 17,540 young women to engage in action and decision-making in public, private, and civic spaces in the four countries by 2025. 
  • Uphold safeguarding principles to ensure that no young woman working on this programme comes to harm. YW4A is developing a robust safeguarding policy that focuses on sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) issues. 
  • Engage men and boys to practice positive masculinities leading to behaviour change to ensure young women are safe and heard.

And, in line with the World YWCA’s overarching strategy and approach, a commitment to:

  • Be intentional in how we engage, listen to and collaborate with young women. We offer an approach that is not only centred on young women as participants, but is led and fully owned by young women. Our monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) processes involve and are grounded in young women’s inclusion, participation and leadership.
  • Recognise shared and intergenerational leadership in the process of building feminist movements.  We commit to create safe spaces for respectful and empowering dialogue at local, national and global levels about issues affecting the young women, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
  • Create platforms and networks that amplify their voices and leadership on issues they choose by connecting them to national, regional, and international accountability platforms. 

The hope is that YW4A will inform the creation of a model that can be adapted to other regional and country contexts, to reach and positively engage young women within and beyond the YWCA.

Let’s meet our first partner! YWCA Egypt

Through the YW4A programme, YWCA Egypt is working towards the inclusion and participation of young women in decision making spaces at local, regional and international levels, as well as ensuring the implementation of existing articles in the Family Status Law and tackling gaps that exist in the Anti-Sexual Harassment law in Egypt. YWCA Egypt’s experience and connectedness with a diversity of young women and local communities in the country, facilitates a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that young women face and the environment in which they live. YWCA Egypt, through its Cairo office is managing and implementing the YW4A Egypt programme in partnership with Ibrahimia Media Centre, a faith-based organisation affiliated with the Evangelical Fellowship of Egypt.

Founded in 1896 as a women’s movement, and officially registered with the Ministry of Solidarity in 1967, YWCA Egypt’s mission is to empower women, promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  Its mission is to support the development of body, mind and spirit, without discrimination based on religion, colour and other factors. The association provides services to women, young women and girls and other marginalised groups, with the support of the government and other local development actors, thereby fulfilling their human rights.

YWCA Egypt works in cooperation with four branches in Cairo, Alexandria, Minya and Assyut Governorates, under the umbrella of the General Assembly of the national YWCA. YWCA Cairo supports women and youth through leadership capacity building, knowledge of their rights and providing auxiliary social services to communities, such as for the mentally and visually handicapped. The YWCA runs youth camps that offer a character-building experience that helps young people to identify and focus on their goals and potential while promoting positive values, ethics and morals.

Follow YWCA Egypt on Facebook.

At a glance: YW4A Programme in Egypt

  • Number of young women participants: 4,200
  • Joint country lead and faith-based partner: Ibrahimia Media centre (Alexandria)
  • Implementing women’s rights partners at country level
  • Egyptian Foundation for Family Development (Giza)
  • Liqaa Association for Solidarity and Social Work (Cairo)
  • Farah Foundation for Development (Alexandria)
  • Sabaya Al-Khair Association for Development (Alexandria)