24 March 2013

A study on the situation of women, children and the Egyptian village Impressions of an Egyptian school headmaster

This report issue No. 29 of LCHR's Civil Society series. It was issued in order to get acquainted with the situation of male and female peasants from field stories and observations and the study of the conditions of the Meet Sharaf village – Dekerness – Daqahleya. The report used questionnaires to collect information, but basically depended on the history and experiences of the people of the village.

The report is divided into the following:
An introductory chapter, entitled "The Egyptian village, to where" describing the economic, social and political situation of the Egyptian countryside as follows:
• The rural industrialization of agriculture and livestock.
• There is no attention to youth employment in the countryside, leading to migration to the city or to abroad countries.
• The countryside has no projects for public education and political education in particular.
• Collapse of health and education services in the countryside.
• Attention to rural youth is limited in youth centers with limited potential.
• There is no interest in environmental affairs and social conditions, which are often left to local government bodies with all of their known negativities.
• All forms of supervision in the countryside are completely lost, leading to more bribery and corruption, increasing the burden of living.
• The high divorce rates and higher rates of dependency "families supported by women" leading to the absence of women's political participation.
• The inability of civil society organizations with their limited resources and the constraints to cope with the escalating problems in the village.
• The spread of a state of despair, frustration and turn away from caring for the public.
• The rural population, who represent about 50% of Egypt's population, mostly farmers are not included in a syndicate union, and political parties do not include them in their programs.
The forst chapter is under the title of "Meet Sharaf is a model for an Egyptian village" as it shows its geographic location in Dakahlia province, and the conditions of drinking water and sanitation facilities, irrigation water, arable land, roads and transportation, confirming the following:
• The neglected services in Dakahliya, like the bad road conditions and broken down vehicles that farmers use for transportation, which are considered as mobile graves.
• There are no public health services, whether hospitals or rural health units.
• The deteriorating educational services, as the village has only one school, which is used for many purposes, elementary school in the morning and preparatory school in the evening. In addition to the need of teachers. Then the report presents the solution to the problems of the educational process in the countryside.
• The youth center in the village in terms of the exercise of democratic choice of the Board of Directors, the identification and implementation of activities, stressing that the main weakness lies in the policy of renting the main hall for auction for some contractors, like any coffee shop or cafeteria. Also showing the lack of frequency for young girls in the youth center except in the girls junior high school seminars and competitions only.
• The role of the village's national association, showing its poor development conditions, as it is managed from the home of the President of the board of directors. There is an attempt to establish a headquarter for the Assembly, but it will not be completed quickly without a government support. The most prominent feature in this Assembly is the clarity of the role of women, which focused on the development of women and the operation of the processing of General Tricot complete education and training of girls, but the lack of an appropriate place for implementation until the completion of the building and scarce resources are the only obstacles. There is also the Islamic Charitable Society, a project to ensure that orphans are taken care of and provide memorization of the Quran and the marriage of girl orphans.
• The deteriorating condition of the agricultural cooperative that is supposed to provide services to farmers of seed, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and to provide them with counseling and advice.
• The environmental conditions, and how the lack of a drainage canal leads to the pollution of the village. Also reviews the rice straw fires, and criticized the government's performance.
The second chapter reviews the economic activities of the village, reviewing the sources and methods of irrigation and agricultural activities, presented as follows:
• The lack of cultivated areas in relation to the village population.
• The clear imbalance in the distribution of agricultural property.
• The high rate of illiteracy among poor farmers.
• In this category falls the majority of child labor and school drop-out cases.
This section shows the situation of women as follows:
• Most of the divorced women are illiterate.
• Most of the Mademoiselles are educated.
• 7% of the widows are without jobs.
• Almost no divorces among employed women with fixed income.
• The pay for women's irregular employment varies by: season of work, employer and the quality of work.
• It is difficult to obtain data on harassment at work, whether from the employer, contractor or even fellow workers.
the third chapter reviews the role of women in political participation and the causes of the lack of such participation, shown as follows:
• State of frustration and despair the country is going through.
• Economic pressures on individuals because of the enormous and continuing rises in prices.
• Organized fraud operations for all forms of elections over the past decades.
• The case of the so-called stability, which led to stagnation in the Egyptian political market.
• All in the end of their fourth decade of life did not see power in Egypt, only in the National Democratic Party and its successive governments, creating a kind of desperate conviction (so to speak) that there is no room for change.
• Meet Sharaf is without any headquarters for any political party, and it's free from the membership of political parties in all their names except the National Democratic Party.
• No political interference in the concerns of women at all, a woman is only interested in her family, her husband and children, she does her best for the happiness of others around her.
• Rural women are disadvantaged in social and economic rights.
In the forth chapter, the report reviews the situation of the village working children, shown as follows:
• The limited number of working girls because the girls are more systematic in studying than boys.
• Not to mention cases of school drop-outs in the questionnaire does not mean the whole truth, as a child is considered a regular student as long as the rules allow him to enter the examination.
• Poverty, the large numbers of family members and ignorance are not the only reasons for the work of children, there is also that the school is not an attractive place for children, education always ends with unemployment, the child's early desire for the sense of freedom, and it is necessary to have a profession along with the certificate.
• Most of these children lack mentors and people to look up to, as their teachers and parents engage in additional work done at the expense of the original one.
The fifth chapter reviews the issues of school dropout, stressing that this will lead to the rise in crimes by street children and delinquents. And that is for the following reasons:
• The high prices and the deterioration of the values of real income of the family, which led to the loss of the ability to spend on the necessities of education.
• Family disputes and differences and reluctance of the couple to settle with the other in the absence of a social body to solve family problems, leading to lose interest in following up children and taking into account the needs of the school.
• The high divorce rates and the dispersal of the children between spouses, especially if they were of different residences.
• The low sense of the importance of education in the promotion of social class.
• The health factors affect the increasing rates of school dropout, as there is little care for those suffering from slow growth, actual mental illnesses and children with disabilities.
• The Increased intensity of classrooms.
• The low level of educational and scientific standards of many teachers.
• Failure of the examination systems that were not subject to any development.
The report's final chapter is under the title "Can we change the face of life in Meet Sharaf?" presenting a number of recommendations to improve the conditions of women, life and participation in the village as follows:
• Filling up the village's waterway with dirt, and building a fence of a soccer field for the Youth Center.
• Building a preparatory school to solve the problems of the education and improve the conditions of the village children and stop dropouts, and establishing a road rather than the railway line, which has been canceled.
• Support national associations for the empowerment and employment of women, and the opening of the post office.
• The establishment of rural health units
• Educate the people and make them aware of the role of women in the institutions of civil society, and the establishment of village development projects to operate and improve their situation.
At the end, the report emphasizes the dreams of the people for the peaceful rotation of power, the abolition of the emergency law, ensure the right to organize assemblies and participation, development and the safety of land possession, housing and educational rights, health care and public services to ensure a decent, safe and dignified life for all citizens in Egypt.
You can obtain a copy of the report from the Center or on our website