Egypt: 80,000 Women and Youth Benefit from 14 Million Days of Employment

December 15, 2015

  • As many as 850,000 families have received maternal and child healthcare visits
  • About 3,000 km of canals, 6000 classrooms, 70 km rural roads, and 12 youth centers are being rehabilitated
  • About 500 NGOs are implementing community service projects; and, 700 Small contractors are benefiting.

In Upper Egypt’s governorate of Assuit, small-scale contractors are rehabilitating houses, schools, rural roads, and youth centers, and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Development Associations (CDAs) are carrying out environmental, health, and literacy campaigns. All this has given some unskilled and semi-skilled young people work, in parts of Egypt where the need for jobs is most acute.

The Government of Egypt initiated a national Labor Intensive Works program in 2011 for short-term job creation in poor areas to increase access to income and maintain social stability. The World Bank and the European Union stepped in to support this important nationwide program, implemented by the Social Fund for Development.

The US$200 million World Bank-financed Egypt Emergency Labor Intensive Investment Project (ELIIP) supports two types of labor intensive sub-projects: small-scale local infrastructure public works, including canal cleaning and protection, Nile river protection, rehabilitation of schools, housing, youth centers and rural roads; and community service projects including health promotion, literacy, among other range of community initiatives.

The European Union provided a €67.60 million grant to support Emergency Employment Investment Project (EEIP), administered by the World Bank, which supports community services like promoting health and literacy, and helps connect young job-seekers with jobs in the formal sector or helps them to start or expand their businesses of their own.

This component is implemented by partner NGOs and is expected to help over 3,000 youth in some of the poorest districts in Egypt. In this context, new funding facility was established to competitively select and evaluate promising NGO interventions.

Upper Egypt’s Women, Youth are Benefiting

As the region of Egypt most lagging behind, Upper Egypt was targeted for these investments. The process of targeting poor regions and poor individuals, as well as creating partnerships with NGOs, has improved substantially in the course of implementation.
International experience shows that labor-intensive programs are an important element of a Social Safety Net system that reaches out to “able-to-work” but vulnerable groups of people during times when the job market fails to create enough jobs. The programs can have an effective stabilizing force at times of crisis situations. They also yield valuable community assets.  

Egypt’s highest poverty rates are to be found in rural areas of Upper Egypt, where access to basic services is below the national average. Assuit is Egypt’s poorest governorate, and home to 221 of the poorest of the 1,000 poorest villages in Egypt.
“Earlier, I had no job but now things have gone better. I am earning 80 pounds per day and preparing for my marriage,” said a young construction worker who is rehabilitating a school in Assuit.

“The school is very important for us. This is the place where it brings about brilliant people who would do all the good for the country,” said one of the school kids whose school is being renovated.

Through supporting community-based health and behavioral change, the project has empowered women. Health promoters are playing an important role in reaching out to rural housewives and providing Mother and Child Healthcare support.
“I am now earning 600 pounds per month and I am supporting my family,” said Afaf Ramzy, 19-years-old health promoter in Manfalout Markaz in Assuit. “We all learnt a lot of new information about FGM and Hepatitis C. We had so many wrong health practices in our community.”

“We have been all enlightened and we feel we are out of the darkness,” she said. “I am now proud of myself and I feel my value among my community,” she added proudly.