IOM Egypt Achievements Towards Gender Balance and Unleashed Women’s Power
Cairo, May 20, 2021 – Achieving gender equality and ending all types of discrimination against women and girls is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable society as highlighted by Goal 5 “Gender Equality” of the Sustainable Development Agenda of 2030.
IOM has made gender equality central to its work and activities. As IOM is committed to unleash women’s power and end discrimination against all women and girls, especially the most vulnerable, such as female migrants.
IOM Egypt gender balance achievements is specifically reflected in one core component of its actions, with the ‘Migrant Protection and Assistance Services’ (MPA). MPA enhances the well-being of vulnerable through the provision of tailored assistance on a case-by-case basis for the most vulnerable migrants. These include stranded migrants, victims of trafficking (VoTs) and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Beneficiaries are assisted with voluntary return and reintegration services, localized direct assistance, and receive livelihood and social cohesion trainings and awareness raising sessions.
During the years 2020 and 2021, the overall number of migrants benefiting from ‘Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration’ (AVRR) services have decreased due to the suspension of registration caused by the COVID-19 restrictions. Access was mainly granted to the most vulnerable migrants. Hence, more women were able to register for the AVRR services in 2021. Women are more vulnerable according to IOM vulnerabilities threshold and thus given priority access.
IOM has managed to achieve a gender balance to a great extent within its AVRR and pre-departure assistance with minor differences among numbers of assisted males and females in both years 2020 and 2021. For example, in 2020, the number of AVRR cases have included 118 males and 159 females. While in 2021, IOM has provided AVRR assistance to 21 male cases and 15 female cases. In addition to these, 132 males and 138 females received pre-departure support in 2020, and 31 males and 26 females in 2021.
IOM Egypt also offers localized direct assistance (DA) to migrants, including socio-economic support, medical services, education, and legal assistance, based on the needs of the individual and/or family. The number of women assisted has been higher than the number of men. According to the IOM 12 categories of vulnerabilities, women are more represented in most of these categories in both years 2020 and 2021. For instance, the number of cases assisted in 2020 have included 201 male cases and 694 female cases. While in 2021, the number of male cases reached 37 with 105 for the female cases.
IOM gender balance efforts were also evident within the distribution of the Non-Food Items (NFIs), which include, hygiene kits, school bags, dignity kits and detention kits. Those kits are all tailored based upon the beneficiaries’ gender needs. For example, some of the NFIs are especially designed for women, such as the dignity kits for pregnant women and women who have recently given birth. Other NFIs, such as the hygiene kits, include sanitary pads in response to the needs of women.
Additionally, IOM always takes gender balance into consideration within the preparation and implementation phases of its social cohesion activities and trainings. Community leaders are always requested to have a gender balanced guest list in any of the events. IOM is also encouraging existing community leaders to include more female community leaders to sustain a gender balance within leadership positions.
For the health awareness trainings, IOM medical team always develop its activities with a strong gender component, including sessions on IOM gender related services. For example, some sessions include sections on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) presented by IOM medical team to make sure that migrant communities know that IOM is capable and willing to assist victims who have witnessed sexual and gender-based violence.
It is of utmost important for IOM to guarantee that gender balance be achieved and respected aligned to IOM policies and activities. IOM Egypt is committed to further pursue all efforts to empower more women and ensure that all their rights are respected. In this regard, IOM is looking forward towards more sustainable partnerships that can help to offer more services for SGBV survivors, and to identify more female community leaders, to hire more female staff members and improve the complaint mechanism to be accessible for everyone.
 The vulnerability threshold is defined according to the vulnerabilities categories outlined in the Migrant Management Operational System Application “MiMOSA” database. This database sets 12 categories for defining vulnerabilities, including exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied migrant child, physical or mental disability, pregnant woman/recently given birth, single parent, single woman at risk, exclusion by community, eviction/homelessness, and detention.