Forum for Women in Development

Forum for Women in Development

ملتقى تنمية المرأة
Cairo

FWID advocates for women’s emancipation and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in order to contribute to building a democratic, just, and egalitarian society.

Partner Focus Areas

Youth leadership
Women’s economic empowerment
Civil society coalitions for social justice
Ending violence against women in society, policies, and legislation

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2005
Leadership trainings with women’s cooperatives
Advocacy for family law reform and equal citizenship
Adaptation of WLP's Arabic manuals and book
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FWID leadership and political participation Egypt April 2014
Women gather in Cairo for a FWID training on leadership and political participation.

About FWID

Founded in 1997, Cairo-based Forum for Women in Development (FWID) is a civil society organization comprised of a network of Egyptian women’s rights activists (female and male) from different backgrounds that advocate for reform of policies and legislation that discriminate against women, including personal status laws. FWID works to empower Egyptian women for greater involvement in decision making. It is building a culture of learning organizations, mainstreaming a model of participatory leadership among economic cooperatives, overcoming gender gaps in Egyptian society, and advocating for equality and justice. FWID is addressing issues of violence against women, economic illiteracy, poverty, and nationality and citizenship, and working to strengthen networking and solidarity among NGOS. Through its training and outreach programs, FWID builds the capacities of civil society organizations to work for gender equality and to lobby for reform of laws, policies, and practices that discriminate against women. FWID also works to collect, produce, and disseminate information about women and gender to researchers, decision makers, and partner organizations. 

As a WLP partner since 2005, FWID has collaborated with other WLP partners in the MENA region on women’s rights advocacy campaigns, training programs, and peer-to-peer exchanges among affiliate CSOs. FWID has translated and adapted WLP manuals for use in the Egyptian context and uses WLP curricula in its capacity building trainings for its member CSOs. FWID works primarily in Arabic.

FWID leadership and human rights training October 2016
Women and men contribute to FWID discussions on leadership and human rights in Egypt.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Over the last decade, in collaboration with WLP, FWID has carried out national and regional advocacy campaigns, including a reform initiative for family courts, women’s right to nationality, and an end to reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 
  • In 2014, FWID organized a MENA regional conference that put forward a new, comprehensive vision of social justice from a feminist perspective in the areas of labor, health, and education. The conclusions were the result of a research-based assessment conducted by FWID of current programs, policies, laws, and challenges affecting the three issues. 
  • FWID translated WLP’s manuals on women’s leadership, political participation, and youth leadership into Egyptian dialect, and revised case studies to reflect Egyptian cultural contexts and environment. 
  • FWID collaborated on a regional project on economic reform for gender equality led by WLP Lebanon/CRTD-A. As part of the project, FWID developed a comprehensive set of revised economic policies for an expert roundtable on economic opportunities and alternative policies held in Cairo, in November 2015.
  • A FWID delegate to WLP’s MENA regional youth training, Active Citizenship and Movement Building Institute for Millennials in Lebanon, contributed to the development of the Refugees Restoring to Humanity Campaign, a program that helps integrate refugees into host communities and builds compassion towards refugees. 
FWID economic rights training Egypt December 2016
FWID Executive Director, Enas al-Shafie, leads a workshop on women's economic rights in Cairo.

Organizational Programs

Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Training

  • FWID supports and strengthens civil society in Egypt by developing participatory leadership skills in women and youth. FWID offers trainings and capacity building programs for participants, who in turn train others in their local communities. FWID adapts WLP curriculum for context-specific circumstances, unites women leaders, provides a network of support, and creates an environment of learning that enables women to reach senior leadership positions. Building on their own organizational training in utilizing technology for activism, FWID is strengthening basic computer knowledge among its grassroots networks in order to expand the reach of women’s leadership and empowerment trainings.

Women’s Economic Rights

  • FWID holds training workshops on founding and managing women’s cooperatives as well as mainstreaming gender in cooperative work. Participants include university students, youth, journalists, researchers, lawyers, political representatives, and members of civil society organizations and professional groups. FWID’s workshops and training of trainers programs enhance cooperative action, such as working to register cooperatives in Egyptian governorates. 
  • FWID advocates for women’s workforce participation and the establishment of a women’s quota for trade union participation. FWID also conducts research on gender and micro-lending in Egypt, and works with women’s microcredit organizations.
FWID-2013-Group
At a 2013 Monitoring and Evaluation workshop in Egypt, participants discussed strategies for strengthening their organizations with the executive director of FWID, Enas al-Shafie.

Legislation and Law Reforms

  • FWID has been an active voice in supporting law reforms, including the following regional campaigns: Right to Nationality, CEDAW’s Equality Without Reservations, and A Just Family Law.  FWID has also collaborated with other NGOs and leaders to protest issues including a decision by the State Council to reject appointments of female judges, and policies on marriage of minors.
  • Other reforms of concern for FWID include Egyptian personal status laws that discriminate against women. FWID contributed to an alliance of NGO’s that formed a Constitutional Amendment Commission aimed at influencing the realization of women’s rights in Egypt.

Youth Leadership

  • FWID adapts its leadership training program to develop young leaders in Egypt. After the Egyptian revolution in 2011, FWID formed a civil society youth forum and conducted training and mentorship activities with young women and men on leadership, communication, and active citizenship skills. Many of the forum’s members have since launched new CSOs and are involved in awareness-raising activities in their communities and on social media.
  • FWID also works with CSOs targeting youth economic awareness. FWID started a young women’s leadership program called the New Leaders Forum for students and young volunteers, and FWID continues to build and support youth networks through online education programs.
I think we have made big leaps in addressing the issues of harassment and violence against women, but it’s just a beginning. I think it’s not only equal opportunities [that we women are seeking], but equality in the family. Little girls and little boys should be raised equally, in the same way.

,Former President of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)

About Egypt

  • Population: 96 million - Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the third most populous country in Africa, behind Nigeria and Ethiopia.
  • Egypt’s rapid population growth – 46% between 1994 and 2014 – has stressed limited natural resources, jobs, housing, sanitation, education, and health care.
  • During the 2000s, Egypt became an important transit and destination country for economic migrants and asylum seekers, including Palestinians, East Africans, South Asians, and, more recently, Iraqis and Syrians. Egypt draws many refugees because of its resettlement programs with the West; Cairo has one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. Many East African migrants also live in temporary encampments along the border.
  • Mixed legal system based on Napoleonic civil and penal law, Islamic religious law, and vestiges of colonial-era laws; judicial review of the constitutionality of laws by the Supreme Constitutional Court.
  • Citizenship by descent: if the father or mother is an Egyptian citizen
  • Religions: Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 90%, Christian (majority Coptic Orthodox) 10%
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 15%  
  • Labor force: 23.1% female
  • Female literacy: 65.4%
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