As part of the awareness activities of the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV), Spain’s Ambassador in Cairo Alvaro Iranzo Gutiérrez and Finland’s Ambassador in Cairo Pekka Kosonen visited projects in Minya to highlight the impacts of gender-inclusive development initiatives in Upper Egypt.
The two diplomats were accompanied by representatives from the EU and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
This visit is part of the Team Europe campaign, #TeamEurope4Women&Girls, which is the first campaign to be based on a Team Europe approach to send a strong message of European partnership and global solidarity with all women who face any form of GBV.
“Spain’s foreign policy puts gender as a key cornerstone that permeates every aspect of our foreign policy. We are committed to integrating gender, economic, and environmental national priorities to achieve gender-inclusive development,” said Gutiérrez.
“It was truly inspiring to listen to the stories of women today and witness the diversity of projects that target several sectors, including agriculture and the environment. Ending GBV requires coordinated and integrated efforts that achieve economic and social development outcomes. Finland is committed to supporting Egypt’s climate change priorities, and in integrating gender with the climate change agenda,” added Kosonen.
On the first day, the ambassadors paid a visit to projects funded by the Embassy of Finland, including the Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services (CEOSS) at Etsa Centre and Athar for Training Services at the Information Technology Institute.
The projects aim at poverty alleviation, self-employment, and socio-economic development for women in Upper Egypt to foster economic and financial inclusion.
Next year, the Embassy of Finland will be working with both partners to economically empower women in the green sector in order to find sustainable climate solutions.
The second day took place at the Abo Korkas Hotel and Vocational Training Centre, which was established in the 2009 with the support of the Spanish Cooperation, in collaboration with Spanish NGO Social Promotion Foundation, and Egyptian NGO Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development (AUEED).
The Support Decent Work for Vulnerable Groups in Upper Egypt through Micro-Entrepreneurship project aims to empower local communities through the provision of hospitality management, food service, and culinary arts training.
The project is also geared towards breaking cultural barriers to support equal participation of women in all spheres of public life, particularly in sports and culture.
The second part of the day witnessed a visit to an AUEED school, which provides education and development programmes with a special focus on children, women, and youth.
With the support of Spain, the AUEED and FPSC created a tailoring training centre where female-headed households can enhance their technical skills and have access to new income generation opportunities.
In full alignment with the 2030 Agenda, Gender Equality (SDG 5) has become consolidated as a priority and a hallmark of Spanish cooperation and Spain’s foreign policy.
The feminist foreign policy adopted by Spain in 2021 is guided by the principle of the “transformative approach” and aims to ensure coherence across all projects and bring about a structural change in institutional cultures.