Empowering Women through Handicrafts: The role of ENID in Upper Egypt

Marwa, like many girls in her poor rural village in Upper Egypt, only received a basic level of education and then she had to drop out of school. Since then, her parents restricted her from leaving home or interacting with her community. But, three years ago, she was introduced to the Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) (El Nidaa’) that established a handicraft workshop to teach young girls how to make products using camel bones. This workshop gave her the opportunity to learn a new skill, which opened up different horizons for her. Although she faced strong resistance from her parents, Marwa overcame these barriers with the help of the project team and she was trained in the workshop. One year later, she had a proper job in the workshop.  

Highlights

  • Young girls like Marwa represent a large segment of girls in this rural village in Qena, El Keryateya, where poverty rates reaches 60%.
  • The population of this poor village reached 9,130 persons in 2013 and the village has two primary schools, one preparatory school and one health unit.
  • ENID is operationalized in 35 villages and planning to expand its interventions in another 10 villages to reach its target of 45 villages by the end of 2017.

Young girls like Marwa represent a large segment of girls in this rural village in Qena, El Keryateya, where poverty rates reaches 60%. The population of this poor village reached 9,130 persons in 2013 and the village has two primary schools, one preparatory school and one health unit.

ENID is a joint project between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of International Cooperation (MoIC) that supports the promotion of an integrated development approach in Upper Egypt, where poverty, unemployment and illiteracy rates are particularly high. ENID has three main programme components in upgrading basic services, promoting micro- and small-enterprises and spreading sustainable agricultural practices. The project target mostly women and youth. ENID is operationalized in 35 villages and planning to expand its interventions in another 10 villages to reach its target of 45 villages by the end of 2017. Last year, ENID supported 2,537 beneficiaries, almost half of them were women, and has created 1,095 job opportunities.

“Before joining ENID project, I faced restrictions in moving around and limited social interaction” says Marwa. “During these three years, I learnt how to develop my skills and communicate with my colleagues. I visited new places and I started to be financially independent”.

This February, ENID held its third annual conference in Luxor under the theme of “The Role of Women in Sustainable Rural Development.” Around 300 people from the government, donor community and local partners participated to share their views and experience on empowering women in rural development. The participants also recognized ENID’s role to be at the heart of promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Upper Egypt. UNDP plans to expand the project in additional areas and work with the government and other partners to scale up the holistic approach to development in Upper Egypt.

ENID is implemented with the generous support of UK Department for International Development (DFID), Italian Development Cooperation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Coca-Cola foundation, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and UNDP.

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