center development services

Success Stories

Young Women Leadership Program trainee ready to apply new skills as an university student
CDS implemented the Young Women Leadership Program (YWLP) to foster a new generation of young women who are informed and equipped with the skills, confidence, and experience to assume leadership roles in the Egyptian society.

The program targeted young women in the governorates of El-Minnya, Beni Suef, and Cairo and comprised of three main components:
  • A nine-month leadership and advocacy training program that included information and communication technology, English, interpersonal skills development, women's rights, development values, and democratic principles
  • Opportunities for the participants to apply the acquired skills to real-life situations in private, public, and civil society sectors
  • Establishment of six local NGO managed IT-equipped Community Resource Centers.
+ Hundreds of young women in Egypt benefited from YWLP's life skills training, gaining the self-confidence and skills necessary to become leaders in their communities. This is the story of one of them read more
23 year-old Shaimae Abu Seta has been accepted to Ain Shams University's Department of Commerce. She believes that the technical skills and self-confidence she gained through her YWLP experiences were essential to her success in passing the university's entrance exam. University was never really a possibility for Shaimae. Faced with the challenge of taking care of her younger siblings and managing her household, she had to put her education on hold.

Demonstrating energy and perseverance, Shaimae graduated from her high school with honors. A few months later, she discovered the YWLP through an advertisement at the Association for Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW) in Cairo. Initially, she was attracted to the YWLP's computer and English language training and saw the program's life skills and professional development topics as secondary. However she realized the life skills and professional development training made a considerable impact on her. The lessons on self-confidence, leadership, negotiation skills and public speaking motivated her to pursue her educational goals and apply for college.

The combination of personal development and technical skill building offered by YWLP proved vital in Shaimae's successful college application process. Her advanced IT and English skills, as well as her ability to express herself confidently, strengthened Shaimae's application and ultimately helped her get accepted to Ain Shams University. To pass along the knowledge she has gained from YWLP, Shaimae mentored five young women in her family and encouraging them to apply to the program.
Transformation of Child Labor - Promoting and Protecting the Interests of Children who Work (PICC-work)
Child labor has become a disturbing phenomenon in the Egyptian society, in its efforts to combat this problem CDS became involved in the Promoting and Protecting the Interests of Children who Work (PICC-work) project in Shoubra Al- khaima in January 2009. According to the national survey conducted in 2001 by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in collaboration with the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood it was found out that Qalyoubia governorate has the worst form of child labor. Shoubra Al- khaima is among the Qalyoubia governorate cities where adolescents and even child labor is prevalent at a large scale.

The main goal of this project, funded by CIDA through Partners in Technology Exchange, was to improve the living conditions of working children, and prevent child labor. In order to achieve the project's goal, four community-based initiatives were pursued.
  • Transformation of dangerous jobs into safe jobs
  • Rehabilitation of working children and their well-being
  • Provision of micro-credit to families of child workers in smelters and scrap metal yards
  • Design and establishment of a pioneer pilot center to sort and store the scrap in a safe environment.
+ Following a case study of one of the children involved in the project. read more
Ali is a 16 year-old boy living in Shobra El Kheima. Ali's father used to work at a fan factory, but he passed away six years ago, leaving behind his wife and four children. The economic situation of the family pushed Ali to drop out of school and seek work. Ali has to support himself and his mother since his three brothers are married and have their own families to support.
Over the years Ali worked at several stainless steel, wire and turning factories. He indicates "during all these years, I did not learn anything; I did not move forward, I did not acquire any skills." Ali's weekly income was approximately 80 to 90 Egyptian Pounds and he would work from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Ali is convinced that every job he took exposed him to some kind of danger, however, there was no other option "I had no choice, I had to help my family."

Ali is now a trainee at the Arab Contractors' company and he states: "I learned more in a few days than I ever did during years of work. I know now how to repair a car, remove the seats, and repair the engine." Ali believes that the PICC Work training is comprehensive and the availability of several trainers urges him to learn various new things at the same time. "Where I used to work, learning was not an option. My supervisors were always busy and wanted to finish their tasks and duties, they did not give importance to teaching." Ali's family is very proud of him for working at a reputable company. Ali receives a monthly compensation of 300 Egyptian Pounds; he helps his family with 200 Egyptian Pounds, eats with 50 and saves the remaining 50 Egyptian Pounds.

The program also provided literacy training through a computerized reading and writing curriculum throughout a seven-month period. Ali's reading and writing skills have greatly improved compared to his school years. Ali hopes that he finishes the program and gets appointed at the company, and maybe one day have his own business.
Those who wish to sing, always find their song, success stories of the HERproject in Egypt
The HERproject is a joint program between Levi Strauss & Co., Business Social Responsibility (BSR), and the USAID-affiliated Extended Service Delivery project. CDS was contracted to implement the pilot project in three Levi's' factories, targeting around 5500 female factory workers. The project aimed to improve women's working and health conditions in Egyptian Industries through a pioneering model of employers' sensitization, awareness creation, and peer-to-peer education. A report of the health needs assessment based on the successful implementation of this project has just been published

The project succeeded in promoting behavioral change among female factory workers through training on health related issues, enhancing their leadership skills, improving the in-factory health services, and demonstrating the value of higher productivity. Female workers had the opportunity to take an active part in their learning experience by becoming effective peer health educators (PHEs). The PHEs conveyed the health messages to their peers including messages concerning reproductive and maternal health, nutrition, and prevention of communicable diseases. Believing in the importance of their messages, the PHEs started to spread this information to the women and girls beyond the factory walls to their family and wider community. The peer educators gradually became the "Health Ambassadors" in their neighborhood.
+ Following the story of one of the inspiring peer educators read more
Samira works in Ismailia factory, where she took part in the training workshops organized by the project. During the training, Samira showed great interest in the topics and she proved to be one of the most active core team members in the factory.

She stated "I value this knowledge and believe that it is my duty to pass on the messages I am blessed with". Samira started by helping her peers in the factory and introducing the topics to all factory new comers. She became one of the best peer educators in the project and she actively worked on expanding her awareness raising activities beyond the factory, believing that "what we don't accept for our children, we don't accept for others". She adds, "I started talking to other women on the bus, at the mosque, at the market and anywhere else that I could reach. The women and girls I talked to showed great interest. I even used to photocopy the awareness materials for them from my own earnings. One day, I was passing by the village health center, when I found a woman screaming and vomiting and the doctor was not available. I asked the woman what her problem was.

She said that she used to take a certain medication without the doctor's prescription and without knowing the right dosage. I told her about the risks involved, took her to another doctor and talked to her family. After this experience, I went to the health center in my neighborhood and asked the doctor if I could volunteer and use my knowledge to encourage other village members to learn some health practices".

Samira became a peer educator at the local health center. She was asked by the doctor to participate in a health campaign on safe pregnancy. The information was met with great interest among the pregnant women present and the doctor thanked her for the great effort and asked her to come twice a month. Samira still receives calls and visits from many girls in her village who need to ask about reproductive health issues on regular basis and she is currently seeking to get accreditation to practice health awareness and pass on health information to her community.