Upper Egypt Rural Development Project
This is the first of a series of projects foreseen by IFAD’s new strategic framework for assistance to Egypt, as outlined in the 2006 country strategic opportunities paper (COSOP). The project will be directly supervised by IFAD. It will help reduce rural poverty and unemployment among a target group that includes smallholder farmers, landless labourers, unemployed young people and women who are heads of households. Through a two-level targeting approach, it will focus 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 are to empower rural poor people to create sustained employment and increase their income. The project will support small enterprise development, particularly through microfinance and partnerships with commercial banks. And by supporting research and extension, it will work to help small farmers achieve higher returns per unit of land and water.
With the encouragement and support of the project, participants will form community-based associations, including farmers’ associations and craftworkers’ marketing associations. The associations will have an important role in implementing project activities, including:
- identifying and prioritizing local development needs
- supporting market linkages and supply chain analysis
- providing technical advisory services
- promoting joint or individual investment in small and microenterprises
- disseminating marketing information
- procuring inputs
The project will give particular emphasis to gender issues. It will give women the support they need to form marketing associations for livestock and handicraft production, and it will ensure that they have a voice in project activities and decisions.