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Raising the Sails for Development

Representatives of the Egyptian Government, civil society and different United Nations agencies gathered on the banks of the Nile for the official launch of the Sailing the Nile project, a national initiative to raise awareness and encourage action towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Between October 29th and December 7th eight feluccas will sail the Nile from Aswan to Cairo, making eight stops en route, each of which will represent one of eight MDG’s.

Under the slogan “A Better Life for Every Egyptian”, Ambassador Moushira Khattab, Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and James Rawley, United Nations Resident Coordinator together raised an eighteen metre sail on one of the feluccas, bearing an icon representing one of the MDGs -- calling for an end to extreme hunger and poverty.

“Each Governorate involved in the project has created a Local Committee to organize public events and raise awareness around a specific MDG” said Hisham El Rouby, Chairman of the Youth Association for Population and Development, emphasizing the importance of community involvement in development.

Also present was UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Mahmoud Kabil who said “these goals and their messages mean nothing unless they reach the simple men and woman of our country. This is the great value of this type of initiative”.

“We are gathered here today to mobilize the country around the MDG’s” said Ambassador Khattab who reaffirmed NCCM’s commitment to the MDG’s and recognized the contribution of national volunteers in areas such as health, FGM awareness and education. James Rawley asserted that the MDG’s “should be at the centre of national development planning and budgeting”.

Underlining the initiative is agreement that the Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved through cooperation amongst different partners and the creation of appropriate and concrete spaces for participation and dialogue around relevant issues.

Apart from Aswan the feluccas will be stopping in Luxor, Qena, Sohag, Assiut, Minya and Beni Suef, before arriving in Cairo on December 7th.