Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt, and Dr. Heba Handoussa, Founder and Managing Director of the Egypt Network for Integrated Development Foundation (ENID) visited Qena to witness first-hand the impact and progress of the ongoing activities aiming to support local socio-economic development.
Over the past ten years, the Ministry of International Cooperation and UNDP have been implementing a joint project titled ‘Egypt Network For Integrated Development (ENID)’ providing support to local communities, particularly women in Upper Egypt.
Since 2016, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) has partnered with ENID on several interventions. In 2018, TBHF initiated the operation of a two-floor Ready-Made Garments (RMG) factory in El Maana village in Qena which now accommodates 96 young women.
TBHF helped ENID renovate two rural health units, in Isna District, Luxor, and El Waqf District, Qena.
In addition, TBHF supported ENID to implement its model of integrated interventions in literacy, and vocational training for women, together with preschool classes for their children in several villages in Qena.
The partners visited the first RMG factory in Qena located in El Maana village. TBHF support for this factory enabled ENID to acquire up to 152 sewing and related machines. The factory operates 26 days per month with a daily production capacity of up to 750 pieces including polo-T-shirts, training pants, and uniforms.
With the additional support of the Government of Japan, the RMG factory was able to be respond to regional needs to produce medical face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming one of the first factories in Upper Egypt that started producing face masks, with a daily production capacity of up to 6,000 masks per day.
The delegation also attended a vocational training workshop teaching local women in the Nagaa Qoteib village to produce pre-school uniforms and bedsheets. This vocational training supported by TBHF combines both sewing and literacy classes, which helps women gain marketable job experience and earn income by working at the factory.
During the visit, UNDP Resident Representative, Alessandro Fracassetti, stated: “women are disproportionately affected by poverty and illiteracy. This is true for many women in rural areas, who often face the challenge of not having access to economic opportunities or education. This joint project is a testament to how women in rural areas, with timely and targeted support, can grow personally and professionally. Investing in women matters now more than ever”.