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Since 2002, M.A.I.S. works for promoting children’s and women’s rights in the Sohag Governorate, 500 Km from the capital city.
During the years, M.A.I.S. has carried out support activities for women in the 11 districts of the Governorate, through micro-credit programmes, addressed to women who are head of the family / household and projects aimed at changing perception and behavioural models towards violence.

In 2007, with the project ‘Support women’s rights: promoting behaviours against gender-based violence through the institutional strengthening of civil society organisations’, co-financed by the European Union, M.A.I.S. has undertaken a remarkable fight against traditional behaviours which are armful for women’s physical and psychological health, such as female genital mutilations and early marriage. Together with its local partner, WAHI (Women’s Association for Health Improvement), M.A.I.S. has started an awareness activity addressed to society and key social subjects, about gender-based violence, concentrating a great effort on the enforcement of Egyptian laws and of the international law regulating this issue.

Domestic violence is a widespread problem in Egypt: according to a survey by the Demographic and Health Survey, in 2005, one third of women are subjected to physical abuse by their husbands. Particularly stigmatised are divorced women, for whom the probability of being abused is twice as high. In the rural areas, early marriages are happening every day: 70% of women between 5 and 21 years old get married by 18. The 2008 Demographic and health Survey reports that among women between 15 and 19 years old, the incidence of female genital mutilations has decreased from 96% in 2005 to 81% in 2008. Although Egypt ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981,  some reservations still exist, due to conflicts with the Islamic law.

Since 2004, M.A.I.S. works in Cairo, in the most disadvantaged boroughs, in the suburbs and in the rural neighbourhoods. Together with ASSDA (the Association for the social development of the Abou el Seoud borough) M.A.I.S. has realized a professional education programme against school drop out, addressed to the boys working for tanneries in Old Cairo. It should be noticed that, at present,  27% of young Egyptians between 18 and 29 years old have not completed their basic education (17% of them dropped out of school, 10% never enrolled). Furthermore, 80% of the young who never enrolled in school live in rural areas and 82% of those are girls [1], thus highlighting the fact that this is a relevant gender issue in rural areas.
The commitment of M.A.I.S. to the most disadvantaged categories is still strong in the Sohag district and in the suburbs of Cairo (Governorate of Helwan and 6th October), where the gain of rights goes together with the promotion of active citizenship and with the fight for self-determination of women, young and children.

Women's rights
Against social exclusion