Adolescent girls in the poorest villages of Upper Egypt, who were kept from school by poverty and other obstacles, face a bleak future that will replicate the poverty and disadvantage of their own families. This stark picture of vulnerability encouraged four long-standing nongovernmental organizations working in Egypt—Caritas, CEDPA (Centre for Development and Population Activities), the Population Council, and Save the Children—to create a multidimensional program for 13–15-year-old out-of-school girls. The pilot intervention, known locally as Ishraq, sought to transform girls’ lives by changing gender norms and community perceptions about girls’ roles in society while bringing them safely and confidently into the public sphere. The story of that pilot program and the changes it has brought about is the subject of this report. Ishraq represents a model of collaboration between government, local communities, NGOs, and international agencies, leading to sustainable national partnerships. Indeed, as the Ishraq program expands and receives increasing national and international recognition, other countries facing similar challenges have begun to examine the Ishraq model.
Brady, Martha, Ragui Assaad, Barbara L. Ibrahim, Abeer Salem, Rania Salem, and Nadia Zibani. 2007. "Providing new opportunities to adolescent girls in socially conservative settings: The Ishraq program in rural Upper Egypt—full report." New York: Population Council.
Ishraq: Bringing Marginalized Rural Girls into Safe Learning Spaces in Rural Upper Egypt