El Azizeya, Egypt (June 11, 2012) – Two-hundred jobs and 30 small businesses will be created in a local economic development initiative in Azizeya, a poor peri-urban community outside of Cairo, led by the Near East Foundation (NEF) and its affiliate, the Center for Development Services (CDS).
With support from Barclays Bank, NEF and CDS are working with several community development associations to construct a marketplace that will improve access to goods and services and create employment opportunities in the impoverished community. Currently, villagers in Azizeya must travel to neighboring villages to purchase all but their most basic needs.
Based on an economic assessment conducted with local partners, the project promotes small-scale activities that either fill gaps in the local marketplace or take advantage of the area’s competitive advantage in producing labor-intensive goods.
NEF is supporting the creation of new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses with financial and technical assistance, such as interest-free microcredit loans and business plan development.
A major component of the project is vocational training in agribusiness and traditional handicrafts. NEF has organized a variety of trainings, ranging from raising rabbits to making crafts from arjoon – or palm tree branches – and producing composted organic fertilizer.
The marketplace initiative has a special focus on supporting the needs of women and youth, who are under-served by traditional economic development efforts and lack a formal education. They will receive training to develop marketable skills so they can earn an income and break the cycle of poverty.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1915, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities for almost 100 years. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. Our “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit www.neareast.org.
With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 145,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. To learn more, visit www.barclays.com.eg.
The Center for Development Services is an employee-owned development entrepreneurial venture that uses innovative approaches to mobilize technical and financial support for development endeavors in Egypt and the Middle East. To learn more, visitwww.cds-mena.org.