In order to improve conditions of young women in Upper Egypt, the Population Council has implemented a project called “Neqdar Nesharek” (Arabic for “we can participate”), a 4-year project with a total budget of $3.8 million granted by Nestle Egypt, IBM Egypt, and USAID.
The project is implemented in thirty villages in Fayoum, Sohag, and Qena governorates, in partnership with the Foundation for Enlightenment on Development (FED) in Fayoum, the Women’s Association for Health Improvement (WAHI) in Sohag, the Family and Environment Development Association (FEDA) in Qena, and 30 more Community Development Associations. The project targets 4,500 young women aged 15-29, and uses an integrated approach to female economic empowerment to support young women become economically and socially active within their community and to increase their economic empowerment by providing a safe place which allows them to establish mutual support and assistance from the villages.
The project has different components to address all the needs of women in Upper Egypt: life skills, civic engagement, vocational training and employment. One of the main activities is to train the direct beneficiaries in entrepreneurial skills to empower them start their own business and become economically active and independent, and potentially hire other women from within their community as employees. Other women also take vocational skills training in line with the market needs of the area. So far, at least 1300 beneficiaries opened their own small business, while around 600 women have been employed.