Economic Development programs exist to improve people’s conditions, enabling them to provide for their families through the implementation and management of small projects that they can run. There are three main economic development programs within the organization. These programs help the people either take an interest free loan to start their own businesses which are well researched by the organization, matched with a job through our employment centers, or enrolled in a Vocational Training Program. The three main programs in the Economic Development category are:
Income Generating Activities (IGA)
IGA is a microloan program where families are given a certain amount of money to start a small project. Similar to a loan system, they are given 12-24 months to repay the loan, interest-free. Paid loans generate a pool of money that can be loaned to other people to start their small projects. Before the loan is given, the project is thoroughly studied to ensure success. This program has proven to be a success because the beneficiaries feel ownership of their projects and responsibility to pay the money back. It is nearly impossible for most of them to get loans from banks, so the program gives them a chance to get the loan and become entrepreneurs. The organization does not only give the loan, but also provides Project Management training twice a year, and follows up with the borrowers on their projects. Since 2010, there have been 1,900 small projects that have been started and succeeded.
Employment program started to help youth find jobs through the organization’s relationship with businessmen. So far, more than 7,000 men and women have been employed through this program. Periodically, the organization hosts a training session for the applicants to enhance their skills before they are officially employed. After employment, the organization follows up on the progress of the young beneficiaries in their new jobs.
Vocational Training is enhancing peoples’ skills in specific areas of their own interest such as sewing, carpentry, electrician, and mechanics. The training sessions make a huge difference in their lives as it gives people the chance to learn new skills without having to go back to school. These sessions give the people a second chance without negatively affecting their dignity. There have been hundreds of men and women who have gone through the vocational program and started their own businesses or applied for jobs. Surprisingly, there are more men in this program than there are women. This statistic makes an important statement about Egyptian culture because it shows that men are willing to learn and fix their situation too.
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