Home to over 95 million people, Egypt is one of the most highly populated countries in the world. However, there is substantial disparity between rich and poor, particularly in urban areas where over 10 million people live in slums. When it comes to health and education, the difference in care and opportunity is stark, and at worse, can be fatal.
In 2014, Egypt's Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) noted a 17% increase in the country's total fertility rate since 2008. However, women in poor or rural areas are 20% less likely to receive regular antenatal care, while the infant mortality rate for those in the poorest areas is almost double; 42 deaths per 1,000 versus 24 per 1,000 [UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, 2014].
In addition, the slums suffer from environmental degradation, including garbage and stagnant water in the streets, air pollution, and widespread incomplete building construction. Furthermore, while electricity, water and sanitation networks may be present, this does not mean they always work.
Funding for health programmes in Egypt has decreased since 2011. Working in partnership with organisations on the ground, Fempower Initiative has set up and supports projects to improve conditions and access to basic healthcare in the slums of Cairo, Egypt. These include maternal and neonatal care, as well as ongoing mother and child health.
Access to education and knowledge is an important pillar of society. By helping a child learn, we enable not only them, but a whole community to grow and develop. However, within the urban areas in Egypt, there is a lack of basic resources at every level of education.
Nurseries and kindergartens are almost non-existent, and although primary education attendance rates are relatively positive, a recent UNICEF report noted that 43% of children aged 12-17 in slums are severely deprived, caused mainly by the high levels of drop-outs before the completion of compulsory school.
Fempower Initiative funds education programmes and after-school activities in the slums of Cairo, led by local organisations.