Plan International Egypt- Tackling root causes of irregular migration and supporting integrated communities in Alexandria.
This is a 3-year project, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and aimed at tackling economic and social exclusion, and thereby ensuring that young Egyptian and Syrian men and women in Alexandria are not pushed to undertake irregular migration.
In the medium term, the project looked to enhance the livelihood options of 500 households, and reduce negative coping mechanisms.
The project also sought to empower 800 Egyptian and Syrian youths to actively engage in their local communities and make informed decisions regarding migration. Social and economic integration between Syrian refugees and Egyptian host communities was enhanced through skills development, income generating activities and the promotion of dialogue between the two groups as well as with local decision makers.
This was complemented with participatory awareness raising activities on risks and threats related to irregular migration. Collectively, this was meant to reduce the pressure of push factors and in turn reduce irregular migration.
Plan Egypt proposes two approaches for the program:
- Enhanced livelihoods of Egyptian and Syrian youth in Alexandria reduce negative coping mechanisms
- Egyptian and Syrian youth are empowered to actively engage in their local communities and to take informed decisions regarding migration
the activities of the project focus on increasing the ability of 500 Egyptian and Syrian youth to start up, expand and sustain market- responsive businesses and access financial resources. Under this outcome, beneficiaries have received self-employment skill training, following methodologies such as ‘Enterprise Your Life™’ program developed by Plan International in cooperation with Making Cents.
In recognition of the challenges in accessing finance in Egypt, a key component was to increase access to start-up capital by enhancing linkages to existing formal and informal sources of capital, and marketing and technical support through Alexandria Business Association, other business development providers where possible and local CSOs.
Trainees were empowered to start/ expand income generating activities and received a one year post-graduation follow up.
The second activity works on three specific areas: firstly enabling youth groups/CSOs and local decision makers to enter into meaningful cooperation, by improving the environment and space to engage in dialogue with a view to better respond to social and economic priorities of youth.
This was done in order to build the capacity of youth to become inspired leaders who can contribute to more harmonious and inclusive communities and enhance youths’ sense of belonging.
Second, working with inclusive youth groups, bringing together Syrian and Egyptian youth, to foster inter-community dialogue between Egyptian and Syrian youth and mitigate conflict between the different communities. Third, work to increase understanding of the risks of irregular migration among engaged youth.
Participatory methods were used to engage youth vulnerable to irregular migration in understanding the risks associated with irregular migration as well as the potential opportunities available in their local communities.