Dawwie – Unlocking the power of girls

Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative engaging adolescent girls and boys

Karim Hamed
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
10 October 2021

Dawwie is a national initiative engaging adolescent girls and boys in activities that help them express themselves and accept diversity and equality while fostering engagement from their families and  communities, thus changing the way society sees and talks about girls.

Today, Egypt is home to over 20 million girls under the age of 20, each looking for an opportunity to achieve her ambitions and to reach her full potential.

In essence, Dawwie is the National Girls’ Empowerment Initiative led by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) in partnership with National Council for Women (NCW), with technical support from UNICEF, and many other partners.

Dawwie community engagement activities initiative are currently implemented in 21 governorates. In this photo essay, we experience a Dawwie journey in Mansheyet Nasser, Cairo, that starts with a storytelling circle and continues with an event where the community members actively engage in the journey.

During the community engagement activities proposed by the National Girls’ Empowerment Initiative, girls and boys learn how to express themselves and to tell their personal story. These discussions take place in safe and inclusive spaces, called the ‘Dawwie circles’. The members of the circles meet regularly in Mansheyet Nasser youth center to exchange views and get peer support on issues related to health, marriage, body integrity, well-being, skills and aspirations, all guided by the Dawwie Circle Storytelling Kit.

Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
Sarah Ibrahim, 12 said “I knew about Dawwie from my neighbor and since I joined, I learn a new skill every day.”
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
Shahd Mohamed Moawad, 14, said “I learned about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation from the Dawwie circles, and I convinced my parents not to do this.”
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
Mr Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF representative in Egypt, said “it is of great significance that we realize full and equal rights for girls and continue to support programmes like Dawwie to attract public attention and raise awareness to support tomorrow’s successful women.”
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
Nourhan Ramadan, 12, said “I love acting and drama and rehearsing on this theatrical play was so much fun. Dawwie is a great place to do that.”
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
According to Hussein Attia, 42, “ Dawwie is very beneficial for my children and it is important to me that they participate in all the activities which will help them to become the leaders of the future.”
Meaning a “voice that resonates with an impact”, “Dawwie” is an ongoing national initiative
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Karim Soliman
Taghreed Ahmed Salah, 14, said “Within Dawwie, we reproduced a youth Parliament. This simulation model paved the way for us to express ourselves freely, with no boundaries, to discuss important topics for our society. I hope that I will become a parliamentarian in the future.”

In an interactive theatrical performance about the cultural and social dynamics related to child marriage, the children participating in Dawwie activities in Mansheyet Nasser Neighborhood engaged their audience and stirred thoughts on the issue. This kind of participatory theatre is the last station of the Dawwie package of activities, expanding further the choices available to girls and boys to strengthen their voices and address social structures that affect them.

Participating in sports is not something to be taken for granted in conservative societies like that of Mansheyet Nasr. Dawwie promotes sport activities which helps to break gender stereotypes, allowing girls to practice their leadership skills just like the boys.