“Vision without action is only dreaming, action without vision is only passing time, but vision with action can change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
As Rajiv Shah, USAID former administrator said “Never before has the world experienced such significant progress in human development and at the same time seen such a rapid and unpredictable changes in the forces that affect development”. Legacy International together with U.S. Department of State and numerous NGOs (our fellowship hosts and partner organizations) is proud to be a part of ongoing progress in the world. We invest in each of the professional fellows, who bring the best to their communities.
Many supervisors at Professional Fellows Program Host Organization highly regarded the fellows’ knowledge and talents and helped them to develop their project ideas. For instance, Brooke Stedman from Women In International Security (WIIS) speaks about Nehal Mohammed Refaat as “forward thinking, able to conceptualize undergoing problems, who understands real causes of the lack of women political participation in Egypt”. In her turn, Nehal Ali said that her fellowship at WIIS helped her a lot with developing her project idea and gaining the necessary skills for successful project implementation: “In Egypt I witnessed work but in the USA I was fully involved in the working process and experienced how it is to be an important part of the team and program. I got a chance to see a problem in depth and find solutions that’s how I came up with my project idea Moving Past Quota – empowering women leaders in local councils.”
Nehal’s project focused on building the capacities of young female activists to insure their effective participation in the upcoming elections, expected to take place this year, 2016. As a result of project, the capacities and knowledge of 40 female potential candidates for Local Councils have been enhanced. Moreover, with this level of success, the project was recognized by the community and will continue in a similar manner in another four governorates. It is now supported and funded by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights.
Another Egyptian fellow, Heba Ghannam was inspired by her fellowship with Tech Change: “Just spending my time at Tech Change, meet[ing] all the people, getting to know their cutting edge technology and how they use it to serve social justice is extremely inspiring. Meeting Jennie, a young lady who is as much fun as she is inspiring and being the lucky guinea pig for her women entrepreneurship program was just a blessing…
I left with a regained respect to the short but extremely valuable history, the struggling but prevailing democracy, the efforts and transparency when dealing with problems and the genuine will of the American people to coexist and be happy.”
Heba developed her project “Mobilizing youth center employees to increase youth employment” aimed to equip Youth Center employees in 5 youth centers in 3 governorates in Egypt with the needed knowledge to reach out to the local private business and activate the job referrals process in their villages.
She managed to convince the Ministry of Youth to donate the material to the youth centers employees in Egypt. The Ministry also has an initiative coming up under the name of “The Youth train” within the presidential initiative of the “Youth year,” which Heba convinced them to include some career guidance training in. The “youth train” has taken a trip from North to South of Egypt with activities and training for youth and ministry of youth employees.
More business oriented Alia Mobil and Ahmed Dahe focused on developing Entrepreneurship in Egypt. Ahmed Dahe worked on his project “Creating Entrepreneurial mindset among youth in Upper Egypt” which had to promote Entrepreneurship and to create an online co-working space (Website Platform) to help 15 tech startups in the three governorates to communicate. Ahmed did a great job by expanding the project scope, changing the online co-working concept into an in-person co-working. He has gotten investors and has raised $35,000 of the necessary $45,000. It will be the first co-working space in Upper Egypt. They have chosen the space and begun decorating. They expect to be ready to open in July.Alia Mokbel’s project “Towards Women Economic Empowerment in Red Sea” supported women in socially marginalized and economically unprivileged area in Qusair, Red Sea governorate, in southern borders of Egypt with Sudan. At the end of project implementation an outstanding results came out – 28 women working in handcrafts have been trained on marketing skills to promote for their products, their city history and culture, and to attract new customers and tourists. Their work received support from Radisson Blue’s owner, Peder Wallenberg, who initiated funding and proving support to youth volunteers in future initiatives.
Meanwhile Ahmed Okasha with his peacebuilding project “Building Bridges”, creates a secure space for both Syrians and Egyptians where it will be possible to continue the dialogue and the building of mutual understanding as the bridge for peaceful coexistence in 2 schools in Al Montaza Area in Alexandria governorate.
Among other serious problem defined by fellows was sexual harassment in Egypt. Our fellows from Egypt Mohab Saber and Eman Ezat addressed it in their projects. For example, Mohab prepared series of Street Theater Performance (Street Carnival), aimed to raise awareness of this phenomena through interactive artistic street theatre performances targeting potential aggressors and to break prejudging, stereotypes.
While Eman Ezat focused on children and her original goal was to raise awareness among 500 children. Final results were more than impressive: together with her organization 7emayaa she targeted more than 5000 children, over 300 parents and 200 teachers in 8 Egyptian governorates. Her project was widely covered by 3 famous journals ” El youm el sabe3 , El bawaba news and Watany journal ” and TV program. Moreover, program will be expended to 10 other governorates; the very first sexual awareness album and coloring book for children will be published.