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A day in the field: Reflections from a Plan Egypt intern

Posted by Belén Giaquinta, intern at Plan Egypt

Belen GiaquintaBelén Giaquinta, a 19-year-old international development student from Canada who has joined Plan Egypt as an intern, reports on her visit to one of our programme units.

8 June 2012: After a year spent in North America, reading and learning about slum communities in developing countries, it was hard to know with certainty what to expect from my field trip to Abo-Mosallam, a semi-rural slum in the governorate of Giza, Egypt.

My mind was clouded with visions of garbage, herds of donkeys and barefoot children. I felt excited yet nervous about my visit. However, upon my arrival, my stereotypical perception of poor living conditions was blown away by the way in which the local youth are fully engaged in the process of transforming Abo-Mosallam from a place of marginalisation into one of hope and prosperity.

Boosting community participation

Egyptian youths

Plan-supported youths in Abo-Mossalam taking part in a drama to promote their rights

With the help of Plan Egypt’s training and sponsorship, they have initiated a number of bottom-up approaches that advocate for local resource mobilisation and increased community participation.

These approaches aim to promote education, financial independence and human rights awareness through some of Plan’s interventions, such as:

  • Aflatoun (providing entrepreneurial and financial skills to young people)
  • REFLECT (helping girls and women learn literacy and numeracy while raising awareness about their own rights)
  • Village Savings and Loan Associations (encouraging girls and women to save money and provide loans among themselves).

Project ownership key

This kind of project ownership not only reflects local empowerment, but also indicates sustainability, which will eventually turn Abo-Mosallam into a fully flourished community.

Moreover, the youth’s unconditional dedication to their community reminded me of the strong influence they have on social mobilisation within their local environment.

Overall, it was an enriching, out-of-the-classroom learning experience I shall always remember.

Find out more about Plan’s work in Egypt

Learn about Plan’s global work on child and youth participation