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A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows: Part Four – Enas, Ireny and Mona

February 1, 2013 by Doaa Mansour

A few weeks ago, the Women’s Initiative team and the American mentors traveled to Egypt to meet with the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program (WIFP) inaugural class, and to conduct the third in-country session. We were all overjoyed to be with the Fellows in their home country, and were proud as we listened to their success stories. Although our joyous reunion was interrupted by the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, we all returned to the United States with a renewed energy, determination and commitment to the goals and mission of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program. The latest events in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have made it more evident than ever that the region’s moderate and talented population is the greatest hope for a peaceful and prosperous MENA. This population’s commitment to democracy and peace, and yearning for prosperity will move the region forward, and will ensure a more peaceful life for future generations. The WIFP Fellows are amongst this population. They are moderate, talented, and full of determination and hope for a more peaceful and bright future for their country. Although they are facing countless obstacles on a daily basis, they are not deterred or defeated. They are aware that the road to democracy and prosperity is long, and they are staying focused on their dreams and goals. In our fourth and last installment of the series, A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows, we are showcasing the amazing accomplishments of Fellows Enas, Ireny and Mona. Enas Lotfy Enas is a talented photographer who has worked with UN Women to create a photo archive that records the lives of women in their environment and their work.  Enas is showcasing Egyptian women from various walks of life to show their plight. Enas participates in the Dig Deeper Project, which encourages Egyptians to learn more about their rich culture and visit historical sites within Egypt. Enas participated in a workshop with Andalusia Center for Human Rights to create simplified educational materials about human rights for children and illiterate women. Enas received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in oil painting. Enas’s Recent Work: Since returning to Egypt, Enas is lending her talents in photography to the Women’s Initiative Fellows. She documented Azza Koura’s conference, and collaborated with Nora Haleem to document the Second Annual Ayman Ramzy Design Award, for Applied Arts and Fine Arts students. Enas also documented Heba Wahsh’s work with orphans and covered the Egypt 2020 conference with Amany Eid. Enas is currently creating a photo exhibition of Egyptian women to showcase their life stories. She has fully documented the profiles of three women, and is currently working on four more. Enas is passionate about addressing the issue of sexual harassment and participated in Egypt’s first photo exhibition highlighting the issue. The exhibit raised awareness and promoted dialogue about a widespread problem that has not been sufficiently addressed in Egypt. The media extensively covered the exhibition and Enas hopes that this event will begin a discussion centered on this serious problem. With her photos, Enas has also documented a campaign called “I Wish”. The campaign was organized by a number of young men and women who hope to raise awareness about the meaning of sexual harassment and its damaging effect on women. Ireny Roman Ireny works on rural agricultural developmental projects with the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA).  She has worked for ACDI/VOCA, which is funded by USAID, for three years. She is a member of the ACDI/VOCA gender community task force. After participating in a gender assessment study, Ireny recognized the importance and necessity of gender activities. She believes these activities are crucial to the success of any developmental program. Ireny has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. Ireny’s Recent Work: Through her work at ACDI/VOCA, Ireny started a new initiative to ensure the full integration of female farmers in Egyptian communities. Her initiative offers technical assistance and training programs that aim to educate farmers and farmers’ associations by sharing best practices in agriculture and farming. Ireny’s passion for recycling has led her to start a new initiative through the ACDI/VOCA office in Cairo. Since recycling is not common in Egypt, Ireny’s initiative focuses on raising awareness about the value of recycling and encouraging employees in her office to recycle. She is also communicating with ACDI/VOCA’s field offices in the different Egyptian governorates to ensure that they follow the same recycling system as the organization’s main office in Cairo. Ireny remains connected to the Women’s Initiative Fellows, as well as her mentor.  She is currently collaborating with Fellow Amany Eid on a book that Amany is writing about the role of Egyptian women in the revolution. Ireny is helping Amany conduct a survey for the book and is arranging interviews with Egyptian women who played an active role in the revolution. Mona Boctor Mona is the president of a publishing house in Egypt. In addition to her full time job at the publishing house, Mona is managing director for Partners for Health at Astra Zeneca Pharmaceutical Company. She helps many Egyptian families through her volunteer work as a marriage counselor and through publishing books on relationships and personal skills. Mona earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and has received a professional certificate in interpretation and counseling.  Mona has also participated in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Program. Mona’s Recent Work: Through her publishing house, Mona is raising awareness among the Egyptian population regarding their personal, professional, and spiritual development. Upon her return to Egypt, Mona’s company published a book focused on developing relationships among couples called, “Becoming the Better Half of Your Spouse”. Mona has recently published two other works called, “An Icon of Simplicity” on the life of the Virgin Mary, and “God Came Closer”. Mona is using the talents of the Women’s Initiative Fellows in her business. She collaborated with May Hassan on the production of a number of graphic designs for her company’s publications. Following the WIFP’s Fellows and documenting their accomplishments and progress is a source of pride to everyone at the George W. Bush Institute. We believe that women are the true catalyst of change, and that their contribution to shaping their country’s future is essential for a more peaceful tomorrow. We are honored to be part of these women’s journey, and we are commitment to providing them with all the support needed to help them accomplish their goals and dreams. This post was written by Doaa Mansour, Program Coordinator for the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program at the George W. Bush Institute.