You are here

According to the United Nations definitions of different groups of young people, 'adolescents' are those between 10 and 19 years old and 'youth' includes everybody between 15 and 24 years old. More than 1.5 billion people in the world are between the ages of 10 and 25. This largest-ever generation of adolescents is approaching adulthood in a world their elders could not have imagined.

UNFPA promotes and protects the rights of young people. It envisions a world in which girls and boys have optimal opportunities to develop their full potential, to freely express themselves and have their views respected, and to live free of poverty, discrimination and violence.

To achieve this, UNFPA works across sectors and with many partners to: Empower adolescents and youth with skills to achieve their dreams, think critically, and express themselves freely; Promote health, by giving them access to sexual and reproductive health information, education, commodities and services Connect young people to livelihood and employment programmes Uphold the rights of young people, especially girls and marginalized groups Encourage young people’s leadership and participation in decisions that affect them.

Youth aged 10–24 make up almost one-third of Egypt’s population. Enrollment in all levels of education has increased for both girls and boys in the last decade, but slightly fewer girls than boys attend school at every level. Also, regional disparities show higher school enrollment of girls in urban areas than rural areas, and in Lower Egypt than Upper Egypt. Young men make up most of the adolescent labor force, but young women have much higher rates of unemployment.

Egypt's Situation:

Today's youth in Egypt constitute about 60% of the population. Egypt's overall policy environment for Reproductive Health with regard to youth and adolescents has been continuously improving, although not yet enabling enough for young people. Egypt’s constitution supports the protection of mothers, children, and youth and guarantees the right of women to medical, physical, psychological, and social healthcare. Egypt’s population policy explicitly addresses young adults only through provision for healthcare for girls prior to marriage and premarital exams and counselling.

Most Reproductive Health services are only available to married females, although reproductive health services cover issues related to the whole life cycle. Reproductive Health for youth applies to a huge variety of comprehensive services and access to information. Matters such as harmful practices, should be addressed from local institutions to government, from family and peers to schools, and from the youth to the elders.

Marriage is socially important and children are of paramount importance for couples when they first marry. The unmet need for family planning among married women is currently at 14 percent according to the Egyptian Family Health Survey (EFHS 2021). The survey also indicates that the idea number of children young people who have never been married stands at 2.6.

While Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is still practiced widely; the prevalence rate has declined from 92 percent (DHS 2014) to 86 percent (EFHS 2021) among women in Egypt.

The youth programme in partnership with government and NGOS enables UNFPA to understand the context in which youth and adolescents have to grow up, in order to better advocate for youth-friendly policies. UNFPA Egypt and its partners support young people in maintaining good Reproductive Health. Most programmes implemented take young people as a cross-cutting issue, while others target young people specifically.

UNFPA interventions:

UNFPA works to enable young people to develop the skills, knowledge and support needed to make informed decisions about their bodies, their health and their lives, and in turn their families and communities.

  • Population Awareness Clubs: PACs operate in youth centers in different governorates, acting as hubs for raising awareness on population issues, including reproductive health issues. Volunteers employ interactive and innovative methods such as music and theatre to communicate messages to the communities.
  • Nawah: The Nawah initiative seeks to promote and facilitate changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors toward different reproductive health and GBV issues through edutainment tools. Since 2020, an annual Nawah Community Art Festival and Competition has been taking place, where volunteers from different governorates produce, sing and act in performances with messages related to the UNFPA mandate.
  • Y-PEER: Y-PEER is a peer education network, using different interactive methods such as sports, and theatre to raise awareness of young people on RH and GBV. Activities included trainings of trainers, theater-based peer education workshops, performance development trainings, and trainings of peer educators.
  • Teachers and students: UNFPA signed a Partnership of Strategic Intervention with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education to integrate reproductive health and population issues in curricula. Several activities were conducted under the partnership, including enhancing teachers’ capacity in population education and utilizing edutainment techniques in extracurricular activities, providing technical support for the development of comprehensive frameworks for teachers and enhancing their capacity along with, supervisors and students, on family planning and population issues.
  • Sports for Development: Destination Egypt 2030 is the Sports for Development initiative which aims at mobilizing young people around reproductive health and population challenges. The initiative involved three-day monthly activities across Egypt’s governorates in 2019, each promoting different developmental issues.
  • Music for Development: UNFPA employs music to raise awareness of young people. To that end, UNFPA solicited several bands to produce songs with messages on population issues. The bands toured the several governorates around Egypt.
  • Art for Development: UNFPA partnered with the Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Mohsen Foundation for Culture, Art and Development in Burullus, whereby it trained artists from around the world on UNFPA’s mandate and invited the to participate in the Burullus Symposium for Drawing on Walls and Boats in Kafr al-Sheikh. Using the town’s walls and boats as their canvases, the artists depicted population issues in their art, creating a platform for dialogue. Their final creations shed light on issues such as population growth, early marriage, and FGM.