Getting to the heart of Communities: A trip to the host communities of the Syrian Refugees

One of the Public Works Project beneficiaries who received a job through the local NGO. He now helps clean his neighborhood while generating more income. UNDP Egypt/Fatma Elzahraa Yassin

As the sun appeared over the horizon, a group from the Enterprise development Agency (Mashareea Masr) Development Agency and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) headed to Alexandria governorate for a one day trip, visiting the host communities of Syrian Refugees.   

The beauty of rural areas was seen along the way until we reached the Friends of the Environment NGO in Al Manshia District, Alexandria governorate, around 110 miles from Cairo. We started our visit by meeting the Director of the NGO and on the way to the NGO, we have seen tens of the programme’s beneficiaries on duty, cleaning the neighborhood.

Since the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011, thousands of Syrians had to leave their homes to neighboring countries. In Egypt, the country received nearly half a million Syrians who are currently living in the country, out of which 120,000 are registered with UNHCR.  Most of the Syrians in Egypt moved to Giza, Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta and Qalyubia governorates.

Highlights

  • Since the eruption of the Syrian crisis in 2011, thousands of Syrians had to leave their homes to neighboring countries. In Egypt, the country received nearly half a million Syrians who are currently living in the country, out of which 120,000 are registered with UNHCR.
  • By end of 2017, the programme is expected to create over 100,000 workdays for 500 young women and men in the five targeted host communities in Alexandria, Menoufia and Sharkia.
  • Through the partnership with two local NGOs in Alexandria, the MSME Development Agency, raised the awareness of 12,100 families of the Syrian refugees and host communities on environmental and health issues.

Masharea Masr and UNDP worked together to alleviate pressure on host communities of Syrian Refugees through a public works (cash-for-work) programme, operating in Alexandria, within the framework of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP). The programme, as we have seen on the ground, works on providing youth with job opportunities aiming to improve environmental and health conditions in the area while generating income. In Al Manshia, the NGO with its partners employed 84 youth to collect garbage; a persistent challenge that faced the neighborhood and caused health risks on the community.

In the streets of Al Manshia, one can see tens of youth working efficiently and passionately on cleaning the area. Some of them have been looking for jobs for a long time and haD to face economic hardships. With the support of Masharea Masr, UNDP and the local NGOs, the young men secured a job with a good income while serving their own communities. By end of 2017, the programme is expected to create over 100,000 workdays for 500 young women and men in the five targeted host communities in Alexandria, Menoufia and Sharkia.

To make use of the garbage collection, the NGO worked with women from the local community who helped raise the awareness of the host communities on health and environmental issues, reaching out to 2,500 households with the supervision of 9 women. They have also been trained to produce products from the recycled waste.

Hoda, Shaimaa, Naglaa and Aya are among the women who were trained by the project. “Behavioral change is something that I have witnessed in the families that we approached as well as in my life. I have learnt a lot on children’s health, impact of garbage on people’s health and techniques to save water and energy.”, said Naglaa, one of the community leaders. 

“I found it a lifetime opportunity. I applied once I saw an advertisement calling for social workers. I got accepted and received a training for four days. I am currently handling 100 families, both Egyptians and Syrian refugees.” Said Samira one of the team members.  “Definitely my communication and negotiation skills improved tremendously in addition to the knowledge I have been gaining since I joined this programme.”

Through the partnership with two local NGOs in Alexandria, the Masharea Masr, raised the awareness of 12,100 families of the Syrian refugees and host communities on environmental and health issues.

Masharea Masr, UNDP and with the support of the local NGOs on the ground will continue to support the host communities and Syrian Refugees, to assist them in overcoming any hardships and raise their awareness on key pressing issues that affect their wellbeing.   

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