Stories with an echo

Reem Leila , Tuesday 5 Dec 2023

Dawwie, which encourages girls to talk about societal challenges, has gone to North Sinai, reports Reem Leila

Dawwie provides free online digital empowerment for girls
Dawwie provides free online digital empowerment for girls


“Your stories are our story” is one motto of a girl empowerment initiative that includes encouraging femalesaged 18 to share their experiences in overcoming obstacles in their lives.

Dawwie— a loud sound which has an echo— was launched last week in North Sinai governorate.This included visits to a number of female schools and organising an after-school camp attended by 50 teenage girlsparticipating in sports, digital training and mental activities.Mothers sat one-on-one with their daughters to motivate them to work together to share their thoughts, talk through their fears and ambitions and help them reject negative societal traditions and discrimination towards girls.

Representatives of Dawwiealso visited a number of homes in Al-Rawda village,holding conversations with parents about the importance of girls completing all stages of education and stopping gender-based discrimination in the family and community.

Dawwie was launched by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM)and the National Council for Women (NCW)as a part of the National Initiative for the Empowerment of Girls, under the auspices of Egypt’s First Lady Intissar Al-Sisi. Supported by UNICEF, itopened in a number of governorates and is expected to reach 21 governorates nationwide.

Dawwie also provides free online digital empowerment for girls, according to NCCM Secretary-General Nevine Othman.

“They are trained on how to safely connect online and learn a group of basic skills such as processing and retrieving information and using social media safely,” Othman said.

Dawwie’swebsite includes a section in which girls tell their stories to encourage them to open up and talk about their struggles to encourage other girls to do the same.

Among those are Yasmina and Samar who started their own patisserie. The two related how both their families rejected the idea of them having a private business at first. “We gradually gained their support when our cakes started to be in demand by members of our community.”

Nora, who married at a very early age,recalledhow she suffered after her husband’s death to prove her son’s lineage to his father because her in-laws were suspicious.

Dawwie is the echo of these stories which, according to Othman,“help other females avoid mistakes committed by the narrators, thus helping them to gain skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue the life options of their choice”.

According to Isis Mahmoud, head of the NCW’s Central Training and Development Administration, Dawwie aims to provide equal opportunities for every girl in Egypt, ensuring access to essential skills and services. This aligns with the broader vision of Egypt 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasising the crucial role girls play in the development of their families and society as a whole.

Dawwie includes activities such as dialogues between mothers and daughters, discussions about the importance of girls’ education, and raising awareness about online safety and digital learning. “By reaching out to communities and actively involving families, the initiative aims to create a comprehensive approach to girls’ empowerment, and recognising the importance of education, societal attitudes and family dynamics,” Mahmoud said.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 7 December, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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