Etijah: over a decade of concrete steps for youth empowerment in Egypt



Tue, 17 Oct 2017 - 01:57 GMT


Tue, 17 Oct 2017 - 01:57 GMT

Photo courtesy of Etijah Facebook page

Photo courtesy of Etijah Facebook page

CAIRO - 17 October 2017: “The Egyptian population is indeed so big but we are also blessed with a demographic gift. Most of the population is in the production phase and this is a trophy for our society,” says Hisham el-Rouby, founder and CEO of Etijah Initiative, a specialized consultancy institute working on the development of youth, the “gift” of the Egyptian population.

Officially launched in 2006, Etijah (Arabic for Direction)’s main objectives are to develop applicable methodologies to deal with the wide range of Egyptian youth, introduce the idea of professional youth workers who directly communicate with these young people, and empower youth development associations with the knowhow to carry on their mission efficiently.

youth 1 Etijah has been launching and adopting youth empowering programs for over a decade, offering “professional services in the fields that interest young people the most, such as unemployment, business administration, health issues and cultural topics,” Rouby tells Egypt Today. He underlines that although young people make up the largest portion of Egyptian society, the number of associations addressing youth issues is very limited.

Aiming to build its intervention on partnerships with local organizations in Egypt’s 27 governorates, Etijah’s first accomplishment in 2006 was to produce the first directory for youth associations, focusing mainly on nongovernmental organizations. They set a criterion, stipulating that the board of directors includes youth members, as well as the staff, and all activities be dedicated to the youth and that its focus would be on youth-related topics.

“We wanted to start by identifying the main audience we want to empower, train them and develop their knowledge … Today, all of our projects are with these local partners, which take the turn to apply the methodologies in their own societies,” Rouby explains.

Etijah’s programs target three main aspects:

1- Economic Development

Etijah’s programs, offered through the local partners, aim to help youth combat the issue of unemployment by preparing them for the job market and helping them land training opportunities in big corporations and partner companies.

Through its Pioneers of Egypt Awards Program, Etijah also encourages young people with creative ideas or out of the box solutions in developmental fields by giving them rewards and incentives to pursue their dreams.

“Seventy-five pioneers have received the award so far and some of them have developed their ideas beyond Egypt,” Rouby states.

Etijah has also supported 350 youth startups since its inception. And with each group of pioneers or a startup, at least 1,000 volunteers work for three months, to understand and develop their knowledge and hopefully become pioneers themselves soon after.

Pioneer Egypt Conference 2013:

Being one of the earliest researchers to address the idea of volunteer work in Egypt, and having won the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003 for his volunteer-matching efforts, Rouby also made sure that Etijah offers youth adequate volunteering opportunities that would allow them to discover themselves and their potential.

“We have a large number of volunteers in Egypt … and volunteer centers in Jordan, Morocco and Lebanon have replicated our experience,” Rouby states.

2- Women empowerment

One of Etijah’s main missions is also to encourage Egyptian girls, especially outside of big cities, to have their own businesses by teaching them how to develop business and market plans and giving them guidance and mentoring.

3- Health and population awareness

Because youth are the demographic gift of Egypt, the workers and producers, Etijah is making sure that development plans are in accordance with this fact. It also guides young people themselves to have better awareness of the health and education of their small families.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the UNFPA, Etijah has established population awareness clubs inside youth centers, which teach young participants about family planning and reproductive health.

For more information about Etijah's project, you can access their website

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Etijah’s Public University Scholarship has also been one of the major contributions of the organization. Each year, 150 high school graduates are offered the opportunity to attend excellence programs at public universities, covering tuition fees and ongoing academic support, intensive English and study skills program, leadership, character building, and business development training.

The scholarship also offers mentoring and networking activities, internship and summer training in the field of study, studying for one semester at a university abroad, as well as support with job search and placement after graduation.

Etijah is currently working on a big project to prepare youth for the ongoing developments in the job market, along with Uber and Sawiris foundation. It is also working on expanding the Youth Pioneers Program, the NGO founder revealed.




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