New spaces for civic engagement and political participation
Title: New spaces for civic engagement and political participation (CEPP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of State for Youth
Overall term: 2012 to 2014
Egypt has been experiencing many political changes since the upheavals of January 2011. A large and marginalised societal group, mainly consisting of women and young people, has still not become engaged in the political system. Although this system has developed a new dynamic after years of political stagnation, there is still a lack of dialogue involving local decision makers, civil society organisations and the population at large.
As young people make up 51% of the Egyptian population, it is vitally important that they should have a say in the democratisation processes in their country. The current lack of dialogue means that decision makers do not understand the challenges young people face. At the same time, the young people themselves are unaware of their rights and duties as citizens, or of their roles in the democratisation process.
Establishing a dialogue between young people, civil society organisations and government representatives, using youth centres as a platform.
The project aims to renovate youth centres around the country, which have fallen into severe neglect, and then promote their use as venues for political dialogue between the different social actors and decision makers. The young people will certainly be keen to use the revitalised facilities. Closer contact with representatives of government and civil society should then motivate them and increase their willingness to participate in the kind of political discussions they have not yet experienced. By enabling the different parties to exchange views and ideas, a dialogue can develop. This, in turn, will create a democratic culture in which the marginalised groups, especially young people, can experience and practise democratic processes first-hand, and will pave the way for their participation in the democratisation process.
The participation of local people in political dialogue and decision making helps to discourage conflicts that arise from a lack of understanding and communication. By promoting conflict-free communities, this will contribute to stable social and economic development in the country.
The project involves three main activities to achieve its aims:
- Renovation of 16 youth centres and implementation of measures to promote their use as a platform for democratic dialogue
- Provision of training to civil society representatives in the newly created spaces in the areas: participation, civic engagement and peaceful conflict resolution
- Promotion of constructive dialogue between civil society representatives, young people and decision makers.