The launch of the Women’s Empowerment Programme “Tamkeen” in a partnership between the Government of Egypt, the European Union, Italy, Spain and the United Nations


The Government of Egypt-the Ministry of International Cooperation and the National Council for Women- and the European Union launched the Women’s Empowerment Programme “Tamkeen” in partnership with the governments of Italy and Spain, together with the United Nations in Egypt, namely UN Women, UNFPA, and UNICEF.

Tamkeen Launch event
Photo: Courtesy of UN Women

“Tamkeen” is a three-year programme that will be implemented within the framework of the EU-Egypt’s Partnership Priorities, with an EU contribution of EUR 10 million. Through supporting the realisation of the objectives of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030 and Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy “Vision 2030”, the programme aims at achieving an accelerated progress in gender equality and at strengthening the empowerment of women in Egypt. Led by the National Council for Women, the implementation of the ‘Tamkeen programme’ will further contribute to enhancing the capacities and skills of women and girls and to raising public awareness about their empowerment.

“Tamkeen” consists of three projects; one will be implemented under the UN Resident Coordinator, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF; and the other two will be implemented in partnership with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, respectively. In the framework of this new programme, an innovative approach for establishing an Egyptian-Italian fashion design school for women and girls will be adopted. Additionally, through the partnership with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Tamkeen will contribute to enhancing women’s socioeconomic empowerment in Upper Egypt through digital and green solutions. The programme will target young women and adolescent girls; women of reproductive age; women in informal economy and women and girls living with disabilities.

The event started with opening remarks by H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation; H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women; H.E. Ambassador Omar Abu Aish, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of the National Bureau for the Implementation of Egypt/EU Association Agreement; H.E. Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt; H.E. Ambassador Michele Quaroni, Ambassador of Italy to Egypt; H.E. Ambassador Álvaro Iranzo, Ambassador of Spain to Egypt; and Ms. Elena Panova; UN Resident Coordinator.

H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, highlighted that women's empowerment constitutes a key pillar of cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners. Many programs directly achieve women's empowerment goals, in addition to incorporating it as a sub-objective in various development projects such as water, agricultural, rural development, and others. The Minister also noted that the "Tamkeen" project is a model for constructive cooperation and takes on a multi-stakeholder approach implemented by the government with international partners to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Dr. Al-Mashat applauded the efforts exerted with all partners in project implementation, acknowledging their diversity in various fields. H.E. expressed gratitude to the United Nations and its various agencies, the European Union, and the embassies of Spain and Italy for their continuous cooperation and coordination to achieve progress in priority pillars that enhance the state's vision and developmental agenda.

In her remarks, Dr. Maya Morsy; President of the National Council for Women, expressed how glad she is for launching this progrmme, which is considered a continuation to the Government of Egypt’s tireless efforts to empower women for over ten years. “We have witnessed throughout the past decade the political will of President Abdel El-Sisi, President of the Republic of Egypt, which laid strong foundation to accelerate progress towards achieving women’s empowerment till it became an integral part of the state’s doctrine up to establishing the new republic. Dr. Morsy highlighted that the programme aims at enhancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls in various fields by increasing their participation in leadership positions; promoting access to their social and economic rights; reducing their exposure to the risks of violence, including harmful practices. Dr. Morsy also welcomed the programme partners and emphasized that such partnerships and joint efforts contribute to sharing experiences which leads to fruitful results similar to what other programmes and projects managed to achieve particularly around enhancing women’s empowerment and protection.

“The ‘Tamkeen’ programme reflects a strategic partnership between the Government of Egypt, the European Union, EU Member States, through ‘Team Europe’ with Italy and Spain, as well as with the United Nations. The programme has been jointly developed in response to Egypt’s priorities on women participation and leadership, women economic empowerment, and the protection from violence against women and girls,’ said H.E. Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt. “These areas of cooperation are EU-Egypt’s partnership priorities and they are key to achieving sustainable development. The European Union and Egypt have agreed to elevate their relationship to a Strategic and Comprehensive Partnership. The promotion of gender equality is prominently factored in this joint objective. I hope that with the joint efforts of all partners, ‘Tamkeen’ will leverage the EU-Egypt strategic cooperation benefitting many women and the entire society.”

“Italy is committed to working with the Egyptian authorities to empower women in Egypt through advanced design and marketing skills. Tamkeen programme represents a significant collaboration between our countries, leveraging Italy’s well-known and appreciated expertise in fashion design to foster economic empowerment and entrepreneurial growth among Egyptian women.” Stated H.E. Ambassador Michele Quaroni, Ambassador of Italy to Egypt. “Thanks to the project implemented through our Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, we shall establish a Design Training Institute in Egypt to create employment opportunities and pave the way for women’s economic independence.”

“Spain is supporting Egypt’s aspiration to have its female population more and more empowered. This is going to be a key element of Egypt’s development and projection into a better future,” stated H.E. Ambassador Álvaro Iranzo, Ambassador of Spain to Egypt during his keynote speech.

In her recorded message, Ms. Elena Panova; UN Resident Coordination stated, “The United Nations in Egypt is proud to be part of this partnership which reflects the long-standing collaboration between the Government of Egypt, the European Union, the Governments of Italy and Spain, and the United Nations. Tamkeen seeks to build upon national commitments and investments and to scale-up the good work of numerous counterparts under the leadership of the National Council for Women to accelerate women and girls’ empowerment in Egypt”

The event also included an overview of “Tamkeen” programme by Ms. Christine Arab, UN Women Country Representative; Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Country Representative and Ms. Germaine Haddad, UNFPA Country Representative a.i., through which they showcased the strategic objectives of “Tamkeen” component implemented under the leadership of the National Council for Women in partnership with the United Nations in Egypt.

During the event, Dr. Martino Melli, Head of Italian Cooperation in Egypt; and Ms. Eva Suárez Leonardo, Head of the Spanish Cooperation in Egypt highlighted the efforts that will be implemented under the Italian and Spanish components of “Tamkeen” which includes the establishment of a fashion design training institute for women and girls in Greater Cairo that focuses on advanced design and marketing skills, and through fostering socioeconomic empowerment of women in Luxor and Aswan through digital and green solution, while at the same time strengthening national response mechanisms to prevent gender-based violence against women and girls and protection services for the survivors.

As part of the National Council for Women’s strong belief in how soft powers can create positive change on the ground and advance women’s empowerment, the closing of the event witnessed honouring the film crew of the “The Brink of Dreams” documentary by the National Council for Women. “The Brink of Dreams” recently received the Golden Eye Award for Best Documentary Film at the 77th Cannes International Film Festival, making it the first Egyptian film ever to win this award at the festival since its establishment.