Communication for Development

UNICEF aims at enhancing skills and social support for behaviors supporting the wellbeing of children and families

February 2014, City of Assiut, Upper Egypt. UNICEF assisted Dewina Youth Centre. Children attend a session on civic education. They discuss and play in group.
UNICEF Egypt/Giacomo Pirozzi/ 2014

Challenges

The Challenge 

In times of significant social and economic change, it may be challenging to adapt social norms and behaviors. Families and communities are struggling to deal with social and economic challenges and some traditions can constitute bottlenecks to the advancement for child rights. Among those traditions and social norms, there is the widespread acceptance of violence against children in home, school and society in general as well as the inadequate empowerment of girls for greater equity in the Egyptian society.

Snapshots:

  • 93% of children are exposed to some form of violent disciplinary practice (psychological or physical) by their parents and caregivers.[1]
  • 61% of girls aged 15 -17 underwent FGM[1]
  •  6.7% of girls were married by the age of 18[1]
  • 21% of children below 5 years old are stunted and 10% show severe stunting 16% of children below 5 years old are overweight and/or obese[1]
  • 10 million children are living in multidimensional poverty in Egypt (29.4%), in turn 1 in 3 of those children suffer from deprivation in 3 or more dimensions[2]

 


[1] Ministry of Health and Population [Egypt], El-Zanaty and Associates [Egypt], and ICF International. Egypt Demographic and Health Survey 2014. Cairo, Egypt and Rockville, Maryland, USA : Ministry of Health and Population and ICF International, 2015

[2] Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS), the,  United Nations Children's Fund, Egypt Country Office (UNICEF, Egypt) . Understanding Child Multidimensional Poverty Analysis in Egypt. Cairo : UNICEF, Egypt, 2017.

Solutions

UNICEF aims at supporting social norms, beliefs, knowledge and practice favoring the wellbeing of children and families by strengthening Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) program. This will develop knowledge and generate evidence, encouraging more participatory methodologies for community engagement, as well as develop new pathways to address social norms, social change analysis and program response.

In partnership with the Government of Egypt, faith-based organizations (FBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and private sector, UNICEF Egypt SBCC program focuses on two major drivers of change: ‘positive parenting’ and ‘girls’ empowerment’. This approach is favored rather than using an issue-based approach to address emerging priorities such as early childhood development and ending violence against children.

The SBCC program’s target is to ensure that parents and caregivers have the skills and the social support needed to provide nurturing care, positive discipline and protection from violence and harmful practices to children in Egypt.

UNICEF works with the eminent Al Azhar University and the Coptic Orthodox Church to disseminate the “Peace Love and Tolerance” publication on protection of children from violence and exploitation. We support religious leaders and theology students, by facilitating learning opportunities, producing multimedia content and encourage interfaith dialogue opportunities.
In partnership with the National Population Council (NPC), UNICEF supports the Egyptian Youth Initiative (EYI), a network of university students from Medical, Nursing and Pharmacy faculties trained in peer-to-peer and community engagement to promote health and nutrition related behaviors.

Link to video on it's hosted site.
UNICEF/Egypt 2016/Arascope

UNCIEF is also leading the implementation of an SBCC for positive parenting model in partnership with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS). The model will be potentially mainstreamed at institutional level to benefit all children’s physical, psychological, and cognitive development. The aim is also to reduce overall acceptance for practices that are harmful for children, especially girls, such as child marriage and FGM. The Model is to change the expectations when it comes to parenting and gender equality. In order to do so, we must reinforce the new norms with rewards, sanctions and opportunities to conform and talk about the changes in attitudes, expectations and behaviors.

In partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sport (MoYS) and the National Council for Women (NCW), UNICEF is leading a digital literacy program for girls’ empowerment. The use of information technology and innovation is at the center of SBCC support to the Government of Egypt to promote behaviors and establish an emergency response system using UNICEF developed open sources digital platforms such as RapidPro.

Committed to support a national narrative in support of children wellbeing and development, UNICEF gives a special attention to work with national media networks to mainstream child rights in the national discourse. On this regards UNICEF established a long-term partnership with the Supreme Council for Media Regulation to leverage the power of media in support of child’s rights.