Magdy Aziz

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Magdy Aziz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Recognizing the important role the education system plays in creating and reinforcing gender disparities in every facet of Egyptian society, Magdy Aziz is tackling discrimination from the bottom up, teaching elementary school children what their rights are and should be, and how to demand that those rights be respected. Through “rights of the child” groups in elementary schools, he is introducing children to international and national conventions governing rights and giving them a safe space to practice exercising them in ways that can translate into their outside lives. By encouraging boys and girls alike to contribute ideas and take on leadership roles, the groups foster not only gender equality, but also political and community participation skills in what is traditionally a very rigid school system. In this environment, children are able to take ownership of their rights and, by enforcing them among their peers, become messengers for them.
To ensure that the lessons learned in school are reinforced in the home and spread to the larger community, Magdy created school committees that provide a direct link between school teachers and parents. Higher-level consultative committees of decision-makers at the local and national level then help the ideas spread to other schools, education levels, and government institutions. Magdy is also working with parents and government officials alike to promote implementation of laws to protect children’s rights and prohibit gender discrimination.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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