"Decent life": The Largest Egyptian Project in the Modern Era

An Unprecedented Initiative to Develop the Egyptian Countryside
Mothers wait for their children as they attend a class conducted by Reem El-Khouly, a 12-year-old girl, who teaches children in her neighborhood as schools remain closed during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at Atmida village in Dakahlia province, Egypt February 7, 2021.Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Credit: Ministry of Planning and Economic Development official website.

"We have not lost sight of the situation of people and we have decided to address the problems," President El-Sisi said during his speeches talking about the decent life initiative at Cairo's international stadium on 15TH July.

The Decent Life (Haya Karima) initiative dates back to 2019 when the Ministry of Social Solidarity was put in charge of developing Egypt's poorest 1,000 villages where 70 percent of the population was living below the poverty line, but at the end of 2020, Al-Sisi decided to expand the initiative to include all the country's 4,658 villages.

The initiative witnesses the aggregation of the work efforts of all the initiatives, such as the "100 Million Health" initiative, "Solidarity and Dignity", and "Egypt without debts", and others. These initiatives which the president implemented will be combined and applied simultaneously in all the targeted villages, and the pace of their implementation will be accelerated in all villages.

It is called the project of the twenty-first century for Egypt, because the greatest challenge in this project is that it is not linked to one geographical area, but extends to all parts of Egypt, and it is not a single engineering work, but rather includes thousands of projects that will be implemented simultaneously in all parts of the country. It targets 4,500 villages, in 20 provinces by investing 700 billion. 58 percent of Egypt's 102-million population who live in these villages across the country will benefit from the project.

It aims to achieve various goals, such as comprehensive development of all interventions required for infrastructure and facilities, decent housing for the first groups with care, improving health and educational services and developing units and youth centers, economic empowerment, training, rehabilitation and employment of those who are able to work and investing in human development to maximize the value of the Egyptian personality.

In addition to that, it is also working on filling the development gaps between villages to eliminate poverty, stimulating the values ​​of community participation between state institutions and citizens, accommodating volunteer youth capabilities and directing their efforts to charitable and development work, improving the infrastructure of road networks, drinking water, electricity and natural gas and alleviating the burdens of the neediest societal groups in the governorates of Egypt.

As part of a review of the details of the Decent Life Initiative, the government has crystallized its implementation plan in the form of projects and plans with Egyptian minds, and it will be applied with Egyptian hands, in addition, all materials used are made in Egypt, as well as financing a decent life project, which is purely Egyptian funded.

For the first time, the initiative witnessed the launch of indicators to measure the quality of life in the villages of rural Egypt in order to improve the proportion of sewage coverage, education, increasing job opportunities, and implementing services that are not yet available.

"The UN considers this initiative to be one of the best leading programs for sustainable development worldwide,” Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a recorded speech aired during the first conference of the "Decent Life" initiative, which took place on July 15, in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

The first phase targeted about 11 governorates and 143 villages, benefiting 1.8 million citizens at all levels, which contributed to an improvement in the quality of life index in the villages that were developed during the first phase by about 18 percentage points, and a decrease in the average poverty rate by about 14 points.

The first stage Achievements

- Providing 50,000 protection and social care interventions.

- Covering 47 villages with sanitation services, with investments of more than one billion pounds.

- Increasing the coverage rate of drinking water services from 86% to 94%.

- Doubling the amount of water produced in the targeted villages with investments of 128 million pounds.

- Implementation of 125 projects in the field of electricity and public lighting, with investments of 240 million pounds.

- Paving 188 km of roads with investments of about 319 million pounds.

- Adding 1100 new educational classes to accommodate 44,000 students.

- Comprehensive development of 51 health units with investments of 457 million pounds.

- Developing 22 youth centers with investments of EGP 38 million.

- Raising the efficiency of 16,000 homes, benefiting about 80,000 citizens.

- Providing free health services to about 117 thousand beneficiaries.

- Providing soft loans worth 277 million pounds.

- Implementation of vocational training programs that contributed to providing 28 thousand job opportunities.

- Providing about 330,000 temporary job opportunities in construction projects.

Within the decent life initiative and the President interest in the affairs of people with special needs and the payment of debts for women who can’t pay off, the Ministry of Solidarity in collaboration with the Ministry of Awqaf stated that it was agreed that the ministry would allocate (50) million pounds of self-resources from donation revenues to the Ataa Charity Fund for people with special needs, and (12) million pounds, ten of which were for paying debts for women, and another two million to pay off their debts urgently.


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