Employment Creation in Innovative Public Works Programmes

What is this project about?

Men in field
UNDP 2013

The project “Job Creation in Innovative Public Works Programs”, generously funded by the Supplementary Budget of the Government of Japan, enabled UNDP and its long-time partner, the Social Fund for Development (SFD), to create urgently needed jobs for both men and women, aged 18 – 29, in the poorest and most marginalized governorates of Egypt, suffering from persistent high levels of unemployment and lack of basic social services. Committed to South-South Cooperation and building on the experience of other countries, UNDP supported Egypt’s SFD in conducting comparative studies on Public Works models implemented in India, Malaysia and Brazil. Building on these experiences the SFD started the implementation of its own Public Works Programme in 2012, tailored to Egypt’s needs and priorities. The comprehensive strategy of the programme was designed to enable better targeting in addressing the specific employment challenges faced by youth and women in Egypt through creating opportunities for short and medium term employment for youth (18 – 29 years of age). Given the gender dimension of unemployment in Egypt, labour-intensive public works projects, which traditionally generate jobs for male, were complemented by social services projects, which created 62 % of the jobs for women in the first phase of the project.

The programme ensured that the interventions contributed meaningfully to the longer-term process of socioeconomic development of localities in the poorest governorates and built skills and capacities of youth, both men and women, which they need for current and future jobs. Thus, the programme not only provides income to the poor and vulnerable governorates but also provides them with durable rural infrastructure and social services which further enriches the opportunity for economic and social development at the local level.

What have we accomplished so far?

In Phase I (2012-2013), 442,537 workdays were created in labour-intensive infrastructure projects targeting mostly young men (101,376 workdays) and in social service initiatives especially targeting women (341,161 workdays, with women representing 62.3 % of those employed):

  • Five labour-intensive infrastructure projects in five of the poorest governorates (Menya, Sharkia and Fayoum, Qena and Sohag) such as installing/rehabilitating potable water networks, establishing a pitched docking platform on the River Nile and covering canals that passes by the dwelling areas created 101,376 workdays. The labour-intensive public works projects focused on the maintenance of public infrastructures including the coverage of canals, the extension of potable water networks to homes and the construction of docking platforms along the Nile.
  • 10 social works projects mainly Girls Employment in Maternal and Child Health Initiatives (5 projects) and Youth Employment in Cleanliness Environmental Campaigns (5 projects) in 5 of the poorest governorates (Menya, Sharkeya, Qena, Sohag and Luxor) created 341,161 workdays with woman representing 62.3 % of the beneficiaries (212,559 workdays).  The majority of the beneficiaries are females – it is noteworthy that capacity development of young women is likely to have lifelong consequences for enhancing gender equity.  Providing more and better jobs for women has a positive impact on their families’ education and nutrition, their companies’ productivity, and the overall economy.
  • Both infrastructure and social services projects not only generate jobs, but also provides indirect impact to the local communities, by improving the health, environmental and economic conditions of the local communities and contributing to sustained local economic development. Furthermore the projects helped the beneficiaries to develop skills, capacities, and a stronger sense of self-worth and community, thus having a long-term impact on their financial and social security.

In Phase II (2013-2014), the project aimed at creating 127,276 workdays in the two governorates of Fayoum and Sohag to maximize impact by supporting the institutionalization of an integrated local economic development (LED) process.

  • In Fayoum, 60 sub-projects providing 55,598 workdays during the implementation period for mostly youth. They included rehabilitation of potable water networks (47.85km), paving of rural roads (7.7km) and construction and upgrading of public markets and veterinary units in the region.
  • In Sohag, 30 sub-projects are carried out providing 71,678 workdays during the implementation period. Projects include renewing and extending potable water networks (19.0km), paving rural roads (7.5km), constructing new veterinary units and covering canals (2.96km).

In Phase III (2014-2015), the project will build upon the experience and lessons learned from Phase I and II and aims to scale up efforts to generate some 205,000 workdays, particularly for youth and women. During this period, the project is expected to carry out subprojects in labour-intensive infrastructure and social services targeting the poorest villages in the six governorates of Beheira, Giza, Assuit, Sohag, Aswan and New Valley. The project sites are selected to prevent duplications of interventions with the Emergency Labour Intensive Investment Project funded by the World Bank and EU.

  • A wide range of social service initiatives will be carried out to provide some 115,000 workdays, with majority of them serviced by young women. Subprojects in social services will include school children feeding, health awareness campaign and restoration of an archaeological site. Specific sectors and projects will be identified based on community consultation and prioritization. 
  • Labour-intensive public infrastructure works are expected to generate some 90,000 workdays for unemployed, mostly semi-skilled or unskilled youth. Subprojects will include the extension of potable water networks, covering of canals running through villages and refurbishment of public buildings such as markets and veterinary units.

Who finances this project?

Government of Japan

Delivery in previous fiscal year


US$ 5,059,770.34


  • Created 442,537 workdays for youth in the first Phase.
  • Projected to create an additional 127,276 workdays in Phase II and 205,000 workdays in Phase III.
  • The project not only generate short term jobs but benefits the general population by providing better infrastructure (water networks, roads, public space, etc.) and social services (health, environment, education, etc.) to vulnerable local communities.
  • The National Poverty Map, a comparative analysis and an essential poverty targeting tool, was updated and is used as a baseline for identifying the sites where labour-intensive infrastructure and social works projects will be implemented.
  • It was estimated that 3.6 million Egyptians were unemployed during the third quarter of 2013 (equivalent to 13.4 % of the total labour force).
  • Youth (i.e. 15-29 years old) bear a disproportionate share of the jobless rate constituting 70.8% of the unemployed of the 13.4% overall rate.
  • 62% of Egyptian youth live in rural areas.
  • The project aims to respond to the urgent needs of job creation as well as capacity development of local governments to identify and respond to the needs of communities.

Project Overview
Project start date:
Phase I: June 2012 – September 2013, Phase II: March 2013 – September 2014 Phase III: March 2014 – March 2015
Estimated end date:
March 2015
Geographic coverage:
Phase I (2012-2013): Menya, Sharkeya, Qena, Sohag and Fayoum, Phase II (2013 -2014): Fayoum and Sohag, Phase III (2014-2015): (Behiera, Giza, Assuit, Sohag, Aswan and New Valley)
Focus Areas:
Democratic Governance and Poverty Reduction
Project Officer:
Nahla Zeitoun
Social Fund for Development and Local Administration Reform Unit at the Ministry of Local Development