Upper Egypt Rural Development Project
This is the first in a series of projects foreseen by IFAD's strategic framework for assistance to Egypt. The project is supported by IFAD to help reduce rural poverty and unemployment among a target group of smallholder farmers, landless labourers, unemployed young people and women who are heads of households.
Through a two-level targeting approach, the project focuses on the most vulnerable groups in poor and extremely poor villages and clusters of villages – and on people who have the potential skill and entrepreneurial ability to become involved in marketing products that can raise incomes.
Specific objectives include empowering rural poor people to create sustained employment and increase their income. The project supports small enterprise development, particularly through microfinance and partnerships with commercial banks. And by supporting research and extension, it works to help small farmers achieve higher returns per unit of land and water.
The project supports and encourages participants to form community-based associations, including farmers' associations and craftworkers' marketing associations.
The associations have an important role in implementing project activities, including:
- Identifying local development needs and priorities
- Supporting market linkages and supply chain analysis
- Providing technical advisory services
- Promoting joint or individual investment in small and micro enterprises
- Disseminating marketing information and procuring inputs
The project places particular emphasis on gender issues. It gives women support to form marketing associations for livestock and handicraft production, and it ensures that they have a voice in project activities and decisions.