Egypt Ground Level Panel

The Center for Development Services (CDS) facilitated a ‘Ground Level Panel’ in Egypt in June 2013.  The Panel was comprised of a diverse group of twelve men and women living with poverty and marginalisation, including urban slum dwellers, disabled people, marginalised youth, women’s rights activists and people living in rural poverty. They deliberated over the UN High Level Panel’s (HLP) recommendations for a post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda for development and made their own recommendations based on their lived experience. Please click here to see the profiles of the panel members.

Discussions took place over four days in Tunis Village, Fayoum. The Ground Level Panel started by highlighting and appreciating the multiple identities of the panelists, building the common identity of the group, explaining the background of why they were gathered, and collectively realising the importance of the views, recommendations and inputs the panel would provide throughout the four-day meeting. Through group discussions, exercises and simulation, the panel reviewed the eight Millennium Development Goals, and deliberated the vision, five transformative shifts, and twelve universal goals proposed by the High Level Panel.

The panelists held an outreach day in the capital city, Cairo to present their recommendations to local and national audiences, including decision-makers and civil society organisations.

The Ground Level Panelists produced a final communiqué of the outcomes of their deliberations.

Read the blog article written by Kazem Hemeida, Senior Programme Specialist at CDS, on his reflections on the Ground Level Panel in Egypt.

Sabah Roman Karam, one of the Panelists produced a digital story of her experience of the Ground Level Panel, entitled The Dream of the Whole World.

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Panel members

Nabila Mokhtar Abdel AzimNabila Mokhtar Abdel Azim is a 36 year old mother who lives in “Waly Mazar” neighborhood, Qaroon, Fayoum. She sells fish for a living and has 4 sons and a daughter. Her husband asked her to take some time off after she became sick. Now, he sells spinning to water bodies, and went to “Halayeb and Shalateen” to work as a fish-diver. Her oldest son – 16 years old – dropped out of school and is currently working in a car tyre shop for 30 LE (approx. $4) per week. Nabila’s ambition is to improve the social and economic condition of her family and have a bigger home for her children to live in.

Qamar Ali RizkQamar Ali Rizk is a 59 year old mother of 4 girls and a boy. She got married at the age of 15 and her husband left her and travelled abroad to work and never came back. Qamar lived with her family until she got her divorce and married another married man working as a fisherman. She was treated harshly. Although she was illiterate, Qamar was selling fish for a living to educate her 21 year old son. After obtaining his diploma, Qamar was not able to afford his education as no one helped and her income was very limited. Her biggest dream is to help her son get married and find a good job.

Nagat Mohamed KhalifaNagat Mohamed Khalifa is a 50 year old uneducated mother who lives in “Waly Mazar” neighborhood, Qaroon, in Fayoum. Nagat is a widow with a son and 3 daughters. After the death of her husband, she was forced to work in the field to earn a living and raise her children, until she was able eventually to help her 3 daughters get married. Her son dropped out of school, then got married and traveled to Libya seeking a job. Nagat continued helping her daughters as their husbands were unable to cover all the expenses. Her ambition is to see her children happy and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Sabah Roman KaramSabah Roman Karam is 38 years old. She is a mother of two and lives in “Minihri village”, Abu Korkas, Menya. She holds a diploma in Commerce and works as a dress-maker. Sabah also worked in several development projects focusing on rural women and sustainable development and was a teacher in illiteracy eradication classes under the “General Authority for Literacy & Adult Education. Sabah was not satisfied by their work manner as their main concern was the quantity not the quality. She then decided to do it her way and teach peasants and poor people how to read and write in the village. Although the income was very low, Sabah was proud of her work in development and happy to experience the outcomes. Sabah’s ambition is to educate and raise her children well.

Mahmoud Mohamed RiadMahmoud Mohamed Riad is 26 years old and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He is currently enrolled in a Masters in Development Studies and works as a part-time craftsman. He is a volunteer in several NGOs like “Misr el Kheir” and “Local Community Development in Bahabshin village” in Beni Sweif. Mahmoud also participated in a project named “Youth Making a Difference”; where he acquired several skills and represented his peers who are suffering from being marginalised in their own community. His ambition is to follow on with his post-graduate education and obtain a PhD. He also aspires to see the poor and marginalised empowered and participating in decision-making process.

Nasr Ahmed MorsiNasr Ahmed Morsi is 22 years old. He is a business student at the Faculty of Foreign Trade. He worked as supervisor in a restaurant and as a coordinator at Cairo Airport. Nasr is a volunteer board member in “Ahmed Essmat” Youth center in Ain-Shams – Cairo, a board member in “Azrak Samawy” NGO, and a member in the international awareness team under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth. His volunteer work started at an early age participating in several activities focusing on civic engagement of youth; being his gateway to an active role in his community. Nasr also participated in the empowerment of the marginalised youth in Ain Shams and helped in awareness campaigns against drug addiction in the area. He believes that “Poverty is due to the lack of education and culture not the lack of money”.

Saber Boreik ShilabySaber Boreik Shilaby is 42 years old. He is married and lives in El Sheimy village in the province of Youssef Al Sedik. He is the treasurer of El Sheimy NGO for Women and Community Development, has 2 children, and also works as a teacher in a secondary school. Saber used to work as an accountant in an agricultural company and his main goal is to secure a good future for his 2 children.

ahmedAhmed Marzouk Mohamed is 21 years old. He lives in the Ezbet El Nasr area in Cairo and he dropped out of school at an early age. He worked in a marble factory in order to support his family financially. Now, he is a father of three. Throughout his life, he worked as a security guard in an orphanage, a carpenter, an electrician and a waiter in a restaurant, as well as in a grocery and a gym. He feels weak as he does not have an education and has limited capabilities due his low income. He feels, that when he finds a good job he will have respect and dignity.

bassamBassam Abdel Sameea is 18 years old. He is a student in Thanaweya Amma and lives in Ezbet El Nasr in Cairo. He spends a lot of time caring for his physically disabled brother. Bassam had a little sister who died at the age of one due to an accident at home and improper treatment at the local hospital. He struggled through the death of his sister and became a behaviorally disturbed and violent child. He wants to enroll into the military academy, but does not have the support as he is expected to finish school and support his family. He is hoping to find any proper job that could help him and his brother.

ibrahimIbrahim Abdel Reheem is 31 years old and originally from Luxor. He lives in the area of Ethna in the district of El Dyer. Ibrahim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and he has a technical diploma in General and Relative Education. Currently, he is enrolled in a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Methods of Education and at the same time working as a school teacher for Junior High and the Secondary level. Ibrahim is a board member at the Youth Center of El Dyer. He is a member of the International Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and Development. In the Youth Center, he conducted campaigns for blood donations and seminars concerning women empowerment. When he participated in the blood donation, he found out that he is infected with Hepatitis C. The doctor recommended a three month treatment course and after that another treatment course for one year. The treatment is very expensive and the costs of the medicine are extremely high. After the first session, a three month course, the doctor said that the body is not responding to the treatment and the insurance will not cover the treatment of the course.

DSC_4593El Hag Mohamed Abdel Qader El Sheimy is 63 and was born in Fayoum. He has two daughters and five sons. He ended his education by finishing Thanaweya Amma. He is a farmer and own his land. He is also Sheikh of the village of Qaroun; a mother village for 36 county villages. In 1996, he became a member of the committee of Dispute Resolution and Reconciliation under the governorate. In 2003, he established El Sheimy NGO for Societal Development. He is mostly concerned with the marginalisation of farmers.

Ayman Abdel Sameea is 22 and a student at the Faculty of Literature (History) in Cairo University. He is currently working in one of the telephone centers in the area of Ezbet El Nasr. He is the general coordinator of the youth committee and a member in the Society Development NGO in Ezbet El Nasr. Because Ayman has a physical disability his father did not want Ayman to continue his education. However, his mother insisted for Ayman to continue to study. Ayman volunteered in an NGO concerned with helping people with physical disabilities in the area of Sakr Qureesh. In 2009, Ayman formed a youth committee from the young people of Ezbet El Nasr and decided to meet with Chief District to explain to him the problems of the area. From this committee, they have increased the services in the area which has been a help to the community.