ENID: More than a decade of Impact advancing the SDGs and Sustainability in Egypt
September 17, 2023
In the heart of Egypt's South, a remarkable story of hope and transformation has been unfolding since 2012. The Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) project, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt, has woven dreams into reality, creating a path towards a brighter future for the marginalized communities of Rural Upper Egypt.
Guided by a powerful vision aligned with Egypt's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2030, ENID embarked on a journey to empower women and youth. With a mission centered on socio-economic empowerment, the project harnessed the potential of skill formation for employability and job creation. Operating primarily in Qena, Sohag, and Luxor, ENID's area-based integrated development approach became the cornerstone of their success.
Meet Nadine Saad, a remarkable example of the transformative power of local development programs. In 2018, fresh out of university, Nadine embarked on her journey with ENID. Through the program's comprehensive training, she not only honed her skills but also discovered her leadership potential. Today, she proudly serves as the manager of a wood factory, where she supervises a team of 120 skilled craftswomen and three male carpenters. Nadine's story is a testament to how projects like ENID empower women, turning them into agents of change and a source of inspiration for countless others. Her journey epitomizes the positive ripple effect that can be achieved through targeted skill development and socio-economic empowerment.
On October 29, 2022, The Ministry of International Cooperation, UNDP Egypt, and ENID united for a captivating celebration that harmonized art, culture, and sustainability. ENID’s first ever fashion show marked a significant milestone showcasing their brand Hoopoe.
Hoopoe stands as a unique and sustainable Egyptian fashion brand crafted by women and youth trained in ENID/El Nidaa workshops in Upper Egypt. It combines traditional Egyptian handicrafts with contemporary design, weaving together the past, present, and future into a timeless style. Its name, drawn from Egypt's history, carries deep cultural significance. The Hoopoe bird, considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, symbolizes joy and affection. Through its creations, Hoopoe reflects this charm and uniqueness while supporting the empowerment of women and youth in Upper Egypt- a remarkable testament to more than a decade of training, commitment, and creativity.
In the heart of El Taramsa Village in Qena, Mansoura Khairy embarked on a transformative journey with ENID. At 35 years old, she was a devoted wife and mother to four children when she first caught wind of ENID's project announcement in her close-knit village. Her initial steps led her to ENID’s painting workshop. Mansoura's natural gift for swift learning and her innate leadership qualities quickly shone through, and she soon found herself nominated to lead the French loom workshop.
But ENID did more than just enhance her skills; it illuminated her path to a more fulfilling life. Her newfound role not only brought a positive change to her lifestyle but also presented her with a stable source of income, independent of her husband's earnings. With time, Mansoura managed her home responsibilities alongside her work at the workshop. The training she received sparked a profound shift in her perspective, prompting her to pay it forward by guiding the next generation of trainees. Mansoura's success story transcended borders, carrying her to an international stage. She proudly represented Egypt as part of the delegation attending the Second-High Level Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where global leaders discussed the vital Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. There, she eloquently shared her journey from the heart of the French loom workshop, how her achievements fueled her desire for further education, and the dreams of launching her very own project, a testament to the transformative power of ENID.
Hanan Attiyt Allah dropped out from primary school after completing only two years of education. She joined ENID's women's literacy classes to overcome difficulties, such as not being able to read the name of a doctor or medicine. After nine months in an ENID literacy class in her village, she learned to read and write. Hanan's transformation empowered her to sign her name instead of using a fingerprint, read her children's medicine names, and schedule their vaccination dates.
Ahmed Al-Moder, a member of a large family consisting of 35 individuals, had limited knowledge of recycling agricultural residue, especially reed crops and bananas, before joining ENID. Through ENID's training course, Ahmed and his family learned the importance of waste recycling. They implemented technical instructions and foundations in recycling waste from their agricultural land, covering an area of 8 acres in the lands of the old valley. Ahmed trained his family and cousins' children in making silage, organic fertilizer, and dry non-traditional feed. As a result, he started earning income to support his family and children. His success demonstrates how ENID empowers individuals to implement sustainable practices while providing economic opportunities.
But ENID's success isn't limited to individual stories; it extends to a broader impact. The project, focused on multidimensional poverty reduction and employment creation is a comprehensive area-based development model, including skills development, job creation, sustainable agriculture, and policy advocacy, is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
ENID's commitment to the SDGs is evident in its coverage of 51 indicators across the first nine SDGs. From reducing poverty to enhancing employability, improving socio-economic conditions, and fostering entrepreneurship, ENID's impact ripples through multiple dimensions of development.
In devising its interventions, ENID adopts a fully integrated methodology for effecting change on both the social and economic levels. Considering the 2030 vision and the SDGs, ENID has achieved remarkable milestones. The project's focus on women's empowerment is evident across all program outputs, breaking gender norms in Egypt’s conservative south and opening doors to new opportunities.
The path that ENID has paved over the last decade is marked with remarkable achievements. From piloting and scaling up 50 interventions across 70 villages from 2012-2021, directly and indirectly touching the lives of over 100 thousand people, to creating more than 4,000 jobs. ENID has become a beacon of change in Upper Egypt, even during a global pandemic.
When COVID-19 struck, demand for medical and personal protective equipment reached unprecedented levels. While these shortages were felt globally, it threatened the most vulnerable. In Upper Egypt, the market gap for medical equipment was growing. Qena alone has 3.2 million people needing 100,000 masks a day to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In response to this escalating demand for masks in Upper Egypt, ENID swiftly adapted its operations. Together with ENID and Neya Foundation, we launched the "Kemama" campaign prompting ENID to efficiently transform its Big Heart Foundation-funded factory from manufacturing ready-made garments to the critical production of medical masks.
This transformation not only bridged the critical gap in medical supplies but also created employment opportunities in a time of economic uncertainty. ENID's adaptability and commitment to their community have been a shining example of how development initiatives can swiftly respond to crises and protect those most in need.
ENID's impact also transcends borders, with collaboration extending to 11 ministries, 4 governorates, and over 70 local Community Development Associations (CDAs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Upper Egypt. The project has produced 39 policy briefs and 19 case studies so far, becoming a knowledge hub for sustainable development.
But ENID's journey doesn't end here. The project is looking forward to an even brighter future with a renewed commitment to Egypt's development. The recently signed project focuses on integrating with national initiatives, including Hayah Karima, a crucial national initiative covering and furthering the SDGs in Egypt.
ENID's new project is geared towards knowledge sharing and capacity building of development agents and partners to replicate successful models. It's expanding into digital solutions, embracing e-learning, marketing, and basic services, including medical services. This expansion will empower the private sector and entrepreneurship in productive and service activities, supporting the development of value chains and productive clusters to increase productivity and employment in the South of Egypt.
The main outputs of this new project are designed to enhance the knowledge, capacities, and competencies of development agents working with rural communities, ensuring that youth, both females and males, acquire new or upgraded employability and entrepreneurship skills. The project aims to enhance the maturity of business models within selected villages of Qena, and most importantly, to provide members of targeted rural communities access to a variety of improved basic services.
As ENID continues to evolve and expand, UNDP remains rooted in its values of sustainability and scaling up. ENID’s journey of more than a decade has been inspiring, but the road ahead holds even greater promise. Together, we shape a future of prosperity.
For more information follow ENID/EL Nidaa at @elnidaa and/contact:
ENID Senior Program Officer, Marina Iskandaar at firstname.lastname@example.org
UNDP Egypt Communication Coordinator, Noran Saied at email@example.com
Assistant Resident Representative and Inclusive Growth and Innovation Team Leader, Dr. Abeer Shakweer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inclusive Growth and Innovation Program Analyst, Mai Abdel Rahman at email@example.com