Stemming irregular migration

Reem Leila , Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

The National Council for Women is helping to turn the tide, reports Reem Leila

Stemming irregular migration


To promote alternatives to irregular migration, women from the village of Shobra Al-Yemen and Kafr Shobra Al-Yemen in Gharbiya governorate are starting a natural oils business and producing multiple cosmetic products to increase income and provide a decent life for themselves and their families as part of achieving women’s economic empowerment.

Addressing the Economic Drivers of Irregular Migration is being implemented by the National Council for Women (NCW) in partnership with the European Union (EU). It is being implemented as a start in Beheira, Gharbiya, Luxor, and Minya governorates.

The four governorates are among 11 that had the largest number of irregular migrants, according to the latest statistics conducted by the National Centre for Social and Criminological Research (NCSCR). The other governorates are Sharqiya, Daqahliya, Qalioubiya, Menoufiya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Fayoum, and Assiut. According to the International Organisation for Migration, some 13,600 Egyptians reached Europe illegally in 2023.

The irregular migration plan aims to promote enterprise development and job opportunities for women and youth in addition to implementing awareness activities to highlight the risks of irregular migration.

In Gharbiya the women produced skin serum, body lotion, and natural soap.

As part of the project, the NCW also provided vocational training on the production of eco-friendly products such as scarves, belts, dresses, jackets, and bags by recycling fabric scraps, as well as eco-friendly notebooks of various printed motifs and inlaid with embroidered fabric ornaments.

According to project manager May Mahmoud, the training is meant to teach women and youths the basics and stages of the crafts to enhance their abilities and develop their skills to find job opportunities and consequently have a source of income to improve their living standards. Products made by the women trainees were given as gifts to ministers in celebrations marking Egyptian Women’s Month 2024, Mahmoud said.

“They have succeeded with their accuracy and skills in displaying their unique products in the Grand Egyptian Museum,” Mahmoud said. That included crochet coasters, copper bookmarks, laptop sleeves, brooches, patchwork scarves, crochet clutches, and hand-printed bags as well as copper bracelets with Pharaonic shapes plated with gold with cotton threads, macramé stitches, and hematite.

The NCW also implemented an entrepreneurship training programme entitled Self-Empowerment in the targeted governorates in cooperation with the Imagine Egypt programme, targeting women who participated in vocational training, entrepreneurship and financial literacy training. Imagine Egypt is aimed at empowering mainly women through empowerment workshops.

Self-Empowerment training aims at enhancing life skills and the self-empowerment of trainees by training them on how to deal with damaging ideas that may represent an obstacle to self-development, as well as identifying individual personal goals and aspirations and ways to reach them, and how to take steps to achieve positive sustainable change.

The NCW also held several parental awareness camps entitled On Steady Ground (Ala Al-Barr) for one day in the targeted governorates, and implemented it in cooperation with WellSpring Foundation, a global non-profit organisation aimed at improving the quality of life of people and communities. Mahmoud said they tackled irregular migration with families, including sons and daughters, in an innovative way, using interactive activities to enhance bonding between them. In addition, they raised the awareness of youth about the dangers of irregular migration, pointing out the safe alternatives.

The interactive activities, according to Mahmoud, included workshops to educate families about alternative economic opportunities, in addition to presenting and highlighting success stories from governorate residents who did not migrate. On Steady Ground refers to the safe ground which one seeks, and may be represented in the family and the homeland, as each individual must think before taking decisions that may affect the entire family.

The project which started in June 2022 and is scheduled to end in June 2025 comes as a continuation of the national efforts in the framework of the National Strategy to Combat Irregular Migration.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 18 April, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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