The Applicability of the International Quality Standards of Caregivers in Egypt: Limitations and Constraints. Youth Policy Working Paper 2 – Special Student Edition

Authors

Iman Soliman

Abstract

This paper is a qualitative study that investigates the applicability of the international guidelines on the quality standards of caregivers in the Egyptian context, in terms of the limitations and constraints that are associated with application. However, this investigation is confined to caregivers who are working for Cairo-based residential institutions operated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This paper draws on interviews with two Cairo-based NGOs; one of them is an international donor NGO, while the other is a national NGO, with a residential facility for 150 children and youth of both sexes.

The study revealed that the applicability of the international quality standards of caregivers seems to be limited in the Egyptian case, both on the micro- and macro- levels. The micro-level limitations revolve mainly around insufficient financial resources, which has implications for the recruitment of sufficiently qualified caregivers and/or equipping them with the needed on-the-job training. The macro-level constraints are comprised of: the deterioration of the social work profession and the declined value of the social work education in Egypt; the charity-oriented social welfare system (versus a rights-based approach); and the negative attitude of the society regarding the institutionalised children and youth in general, and street girls in particular. Therefore, awareness-raising and promotion of child rights is recommended and should encompass all concerned partners including members of society, caregivers, and government officials. This awareness-raising should be done in parallel with lobbying the government to develop national quality standards for children and youth without parental care. Furthermore, an effective mechanism of cooperation and coordination between the government, NGOs and donor agencies should be established.

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