After two days of meetings in Brussels the delegation of EPD and Better Life Association for Development and Training travelled to the Hague for a full day of meetings with Oxfam-Novib and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands.
The first meeting was at the office of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), EPD’s partner organisation in The Netherlands. Participants included our guests from Better Life, representatives from EPD and Oxfam-Novib and Petra Stienen, an independent advisor and former Dutch diplomat specialised in the Arab world. The presentation by Better Life triggered many questions from the participants about how they manage to implement their projects successfully under the current harsh conditions in Egypt. The colleagues from Egypt stressed that the secret of the success of the organisation is that it works with people from all different parties, backgrounds, educational levels, ethnicity and gender to teach them about the advantages of political dialogue and participation.
The next meeting took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of The Netherlands. The two representatives from the MFA were very interested to hear about the success of two projects supported by EPD and Oxfam-Novib with funding from the Dutch Government. They were positively surprised about the high number of direct beneficiaries and acknowledged the importance of such grassroots empowerment to complement their own government-to-government aid. They also confirmed the importance of focusing on the concept of citizenship in Egypt, which is central in Better Life’s work in ethnically and religiously mixed communities.
The day was concluded with an Egyptian dinner, where the final thoughts on the day were shared between the participants. Everyone expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation between EPD, Oxfam-Novib and Better Life and agreed to continue to share information with the Government of the Netherlands and the EU on developments in the projects and the country as a whole.
For information on the Brussels visit, please click here.