Wednesday, October 5, 2011

[EQ] Social participation in Egypt: Civil society's former experience and new opportunities

Social participation in Egypt: Civil society's former experience and new opportunities
Civil Society's former experience and new opportunities

Abd El Razak Abo El Ela
Al-Shehab Institution for Comprehensive Development, Egypt
Background paper
: WHO - World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, 19-21 October 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Available online PDF [19p.] at:

“……This case study explores the experience of Al Shehab Institution for Comprehensive Development, a civil society organization which has been working since 2001 in one of the biggest urban informal settlements in Greater Cairo. The objective of the organization’s activities is to build and strengthen the capabilities of people so that they can actively participate in addressing their unfulfilled needs, and influence the shaping of policies that affect their local community and well being.

Egypt is undergoing a peaceful transition that began on January 25th 2011. The recent political and social changes are expanding opportunities for citizens and civil society organizations to actively participate, to prioritize their needs to realize a just and equitable society, and provide them with opportunities to make their demands heard. In such a changing environment with promising democratic spaces for people and civil society groups, poverty, exclusion, and ill-health remain pressing problems.

To change national social and economic policies and priorities will take time; to have an impact on people’s lives will taken even longer. Therefore, it is important to document the activities carried out by Al Shehab and identify and address the key constraints to social participation experienced by the people of Ezbet el Hagana.

This analysis also provides a guide on how to address social determinants of health and involve community members in different activities in order to promote among them the sense of inclusion, empowerment and the ability to have some control over measures that determine their health. It also provides an example of the important role of civil society groups in addressing health inequities and gaps within the country. The study highlights the vital role of other civil society organization actors such as the Cairo based organizations, the Association for Health Environment and Development (AHED), and the Development Support Center (DSC) to develop the capacities of local leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to realize their desired goals. …..”


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