Youth & Children's Rights

Youth Policy Working Paper 2: International Quality Standards and Caregivers in Egypt

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The second working paper in our series is a special student edition completed as part of a practicum requirement for the MA Childhood Studies and Children’s Rights programme at Free University Berlin. On a topic of the student’s choosing that is linked to their current research, the paper explores the application of international guidelines on quality standards for caregivers of children and youth in Cairo, using two residential institutions for children and youth run by NGOs in Egypt as case studies.

What can the practical application of international guidelines look like at the domestic level? This special student edition working paper looks at caregivers in two residential institutions for children and youth run by NGOs in Cairo, Egypt, and examines their practices in relation to two prominent international quality standards of caregivers: The Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children developed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Quality Childcare Provision in East and Central Africa guidelines developed by Save the Children UK.

Read the full paper here.

Globally, children and youth without parental care and living in institutions was estimated at eight million in 2003, and was projected to rise to 106 million by 2010. In Egypt, institutionalisation is a first-choice response in Egypt when compared to family-oriented alternatives such as foster care, with a significant proportion of these youth being street children.

This paper is structured into four main sections. The first section defines the key definitions, namely residential care and street children, with reference to the legal definition provided in Egypt’s Child Act of 2008. The second section provides an overview of the current situation of Cairo-based non-governmental residential institutions. The third section summarises the international quality standards of caregivers in place, while the last section analyses the limitations and constraints associated with the application of the international standards in the Egyptian context.

Iman Soliman is the author of this working paper, which is on a topic of her choosing relating to her research interests, completed as a practicum requirement for her MA Childhood Studies and Children’s Rights programme at Free University Berlin. The programme is targeted at professionals working or seeking to work in the field of children’s rights, aiming to enhance the capacity of States parties to implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child:

“The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child systematically recommends States parties to the CRC to organize and/or support training of professionals on the content and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A European Masters Programme on Children’s Rights will be an important contribution to this training. The Committee encourages the European States parties to the CRC to provide the necessary support for the establishment of and the participation to this Masters Programme.”

Jaap van Doek, Chair of the UN-Committee on the Rights of the Child (2007)

The objectives of the MA programme is to have students:

  • Understand children’s rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Be able to explain and use theories of childhood(s) and defend children’s rights;
  • Be able to suggest policy recommendations on local, regional, national and international levels;
  • Be able to critically analyse childhood(s) and children’s rights from different perspectives, linking these to wider contexts;
  • Be able to evaluate and plan children’s rights projects.

Previously offered at Free University Berlin, the programme is currently offered at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam beginning Fall 2016.