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Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

Safe Cities volunteer
The Safe Cities project is enhancing community-based services for rehabilitation, health, and legal support for survivors and their families.
USAID/Claudia Gutierrez


Emerging from a period of change that began in January 2011, Egyptians’ commitment to a more stable and prosperous future has never been stronger. USAID is working in partnership with the Egyptian people to support their expressed desire for more transparent, participatory, and responsive government. To do so, USAID supports Egyptian-led reforms that reflect the priorities voiced in the constitution Egyptians adopted in January 2014 and “Egypt Vision 2030”, the new sustainable development strategy announced by the Egyptian government in March 2015. 

USAID works with key government institutions to support Egyptian-led governance and rule of law reforms. These reforms are improving the delivery of essential public services and increase citizens’ ability to participate in the national decision-making processes. To complement these activities, USAID supports international and Egyptian organizations that raise awareness of and advocate for improved public services and increased civic participation on key rights. These projects combat gender-based violence and trafficking in persons; promote gender equality and civic participation; advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities; and encourage religious tolerance.

Current Activities

Effective Planning and Services Project: This activity supports sustainable reform efforts to decentralize local systems as mandated by Egypt’s new constitution. Assistance is provided to the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform and other Egyptian government institutions to implement fiscal, administrative, and political decentralization reforms. USAID is also enhancing access to public services through the development of 5 one-stop shop service centers in Aswan that provide services such as issuing building permits and small business licenses in a transparent, convenient, and efficient manner. Implementing Partner: AECOM; Life of Project: September 30, 2012-September 29, 2017; Total Estimated Cost: $11.27 million.

Safe Cities Free from Violence Against Women and Girls: This multi-donor project initially worked to combat sexual harassment in public. As a result of its success both at the community level and in promoting legislation to combat sexual violence, its scope has expanded to include support mechanisms for survivors of violence against women. The Safe Cities project is strengthening shelters and other first-contact service providers and enhancing community-based services for rehabilitation, health, and legal support for survivors and their families. It supports advocacy on changing perceptions and uses innovative awareness-raising tools such as interactive community theater, storytelling, and art to promote a culture of zero-tolerance for violence against women – and a culture of responsibility towards the survivors of this abuse. Implementing Partner: UN Women; Life of Project: October 1, 2013-September 30, 2019; Total Estimated Cost: $7 million.

Promoting Civic Education Among Youth in North Sinai: This activity builds a culture of civic participation and volunteerism among youth in conflict-affected North Sinai through high-impact civic education. The activity helped establish a volunteer center that promotes a culture of volunteerism and provides youth an alternate way to improve their communities. This activity helped train 2,200 youth to exercise their political rights at the community-level, such as through their tribal government or school elections, and 2,400 grassroots community leaders participated in workshops on the importance of including youth in community decision-making. Ten project beneficiaries now serve as deputies to tribal leaders, increasing the number of youth in senior tribal leadership roles from zero to ten. One project beneficiary won a seat in Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections. In addition, through this activity, 240 young people worked together to plan, design, and implement eight projects that respond to community-identified priorities. Implementing Partner: El-Gora Community Development Society; Life of Project: January 2, 2008-May 29, 2019; Total Estimated Cost: $1.9 million.

Positive Life Alternatives for Egyptian Youth At-Risk of Irregular Migration: This activity supports the Government of Egypt (GoE) in combating irregular migration of Egyptian youth and addresses vulnerabilities to trafficking through a comprehensive approach focusing on prevention, protection, and prosecution. Prevention efforts include supporting the GoE to enact and implement legal and policy frameworks for combatting irregular migration and trafficking in persons, as well as conduct public awareness-raising campaigns. To complement the awareness-raising campaigns, prevention efforts include vocational training in the tourism sector for youth to create viable alternative livelihood opportunities. Protection interventions also support Egypt’s efforts to ensure that victims of trafficking receive comprehensive services such as shelter, social and psychosocial counselling, health care services, and legal counselling. Prosecution activities support GoE efforts to improve training on trafficking in persons to strengthen prosecutors’ knowledge of the law and their skills to investigate human trafficking safely and effectively. Implementing Partner: International Organization on Migration; Life of Project: September 30, 2015-December 30, 2017; Total Estimated Cost: $3.2 million.

Strengthening the Capacity of the Egyptian Judiciary: This activity provides training on mediation, international conventions, and intellectual property to judges and Ministry of Justice officials. It also provides professional development in leadership, case management, and the use of analytic and problem-solving approaches in applying the law when adjudicating cases. This activity is strengthening the quality of instruction at Egypt’s National Center for Judicial Studies by helping instructors increase their understanding of and ability to apply best practices in judicial education. More than 1,000 judges and officials are receiving training from this activity to help advance the effectiveness of judicial institutions, which is critical to Egypt’s reform goals. Implementing Partner: American Bar Association; Life of Project: December 15, 2014-December 14, 2017; Total Estimated Cost: $4.9 million. 

Political Processes Support: This activity works with the Egyptian government and civil society stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of election authorities to administer elections and increase voter awareness of elections. It supports the development of the official nationwide voter information and education campaigns led by Egypt’s election commissions as well as the delivery of civil society-led campaigns ahead of elections. It provides institutional and professional development training to governmental and non-governmental electoral stakeholders on key electoral and democratic principles and international best practices on various election-related issues. This activity assists with the procurement of essential election materials such as ballot boxes, seals, and secure envelopes that enhance the integrity and transparency of elections. Implementing Partner: International Foundation for Electoral Systems; Life of Project: April 12, 2012-April 29, 2019; Total Estimated Cost: $19.8 million.