- Age: 31
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
Hamsa Aboelfotouh was born and raised in Egypt. She received her Master of Science in Public Policy from University College London in 2017. Hamsa is the founding member and member of the boardof trustees at the Adel Aboulfotouh Institute for Girls Education and Anti-FGM. She is also founder and designer of the Mia Borsa & oi.oi, a non-social enterprise that designs, produces, and distributes recycled vegan leather goods and heritage-celebrating garments in sustainable and conscious markets. The organization supports NGOs advocating for women empowerment and girl’s education, providing and assisting them with school bags, uniforms, and menstrual products. Additionally, she is the co-founder, editor, and gender researcher at Sadreyaa Zarkaa. Hamsa is a member of the Women’s Circle and Women’s Healing Circle and the Queer Writing Circle and Support Group.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
When I was eight years old, I found out about FGM. I asked my mother, an FGM survivor, and all she could say was that I didn't have to worry about it happening to me. I now know that was my unconscious introduction to FGM and its intersectionality, generational trauma, and the opportunity to be a cycle breaker.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
At Save the Children International (SCI) for a project dedicated to ‘Address Unsafe Mixed-Migration in Egypt’, I initiated and lead the advocacy efforts with the Senior Management Team and the donor to reinterpret the proposal’s budget and its guidelines. I lobbied to redefine the scope of the project’s emergency direct cash assistance program to better fill the gaps in the field. Upon my recommendation and continuous efforts and the support of my line manager, I got the approval and succeeded to change the project’s age group and expand SCI’s definition of what is considered a basic need during emergency response. Effectively, that meant covering two basic, health and education related, needs of the most vulnerable which no other organization was covering. I lead the work which enabled the most vulnerable girls and womxn in the communities we work with in Ard Lewa, one of the most refugee-populated underserved unplanned neighborhoods in Greater Cairo, to access specialist medical services. We also provided partial education grants for female refugees to help them cover the unrealistic gap between the UNHCR/CRS grants and the actual school fees for refugees in Egypt. Using the do-no-harm, safe programming and gender mainstreaming approaches, I also took the initiative to develop a more comprehensive and emergency response appropriate SOPs for direct cash assistance with large amounts to better fit the new operations. It was documented and fully adopted on an organizational level for future projects. For sustainability and community mobilization purposes, I am in the process of independently initiating a community fund for partial scholarships for female refugee students in Egypt through my networks among the different privileged communities, both locally and globally.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
Reading, yoga, meditation, hiking, scuba diving, and sky diving.
- Arabic (Advanced/Native)
- English (Advanced/Native)
- German (Intermediate)
- Spanish (Intermediate)
- unaccompanied refugee girls in Egypt
- safeguarding in the times of humanitarian crises
- ecological cross-sector solutions to SGBV
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- Child Safeguarding Focal Point Full Training by Save the Children International
- Safety and Security Focal Point Full Training by Save the Children International
- Safe Programming and Protection Mainstreaming e-Trainings by Save the Children International
- The Science of Well-being e-Course on Coursera by Yale Univeristy
- International Women's Health and Human Rights e-course on Coursera by Stanford Univeristy
- Integral Chakra Psychology by The Yoga Institute in India