Egypt experienced dramatic social, economic and political upheaval during the Arab spring of 2011. Despite many positive changes in this time, the turmoil has left a wake of poverty and unemployment affecting thousands of families across the country.
More than 20% of the population already lived in poverty before the uprising, and now there are newly vulnerable communities.
In addition to our ongoing development work, Christian Aid and two of its partners in Egypt have also engaged in emergency response work in the last year. Our innovative cash-for-work schemes bought together communities to rebuild essential services that had been damaged or destroyed in the uprising (such as healthcare centres, schools and irrigation channels).
As well as providing much needed income for families, this also helped communities to join together and build a sense of belonging and understanding. You can read more about our emergency response work here.
Our long-term development programmes are focussed on equipping people to claim their rights – be that fishing communities along the Nile, quarry workers in El Minia, or women in communities where female genital mutilation is still practised.
Alongside this practical advice and guidance, our partners also help people to access new livelihoods and opportunities with vocational training, microcredit schemes and loans.
• Better Life provides training and support to fishing and farming communities, helping them organise into associations that have the power and confidence to go to the local government with the problems that that the state should rectify – such as provision of health services and literacy courses.
• Work in the limestone quarries of El Minia is hazardous and badly paid – but with the support of Christian Aid partner Wadi el Nil workers are demanding their rights, such as safety protection, health insurance, and the right to unionisation. Wadi el Nil also helps the parents of child workers through microcredit schemes and vocational training, enabling them to earn more income so their children can go back to school.
• Coptic Orthodox Church BLESS is the development wing of the Coptic Church. It works throughout Egypt with Muslims and Christians giving rural communities training and empowerment so that they can undertake their own initiatives to end poverty. It also works to eradicate female genital mutilation, which has a prevalence rate of 91% in Egypt amongst women aged 15-49 (UNICEF, 2010)
• The Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services (CEOSS) works with Egypt’s poorest communities, assisting them in rural development through agricultural projects, providing microcredit and vocational training projects, and working with communities to better interfaith relationships and tackle difficult civil society issues.
What you can do
• Help us continue our support of partners in Egypt by donating.
• Take action to help eradicate poverty and injustice across the world.
• Improving the environment in Rashah - our partner Bless helped a community to build a park on land previously used to dump rubbish.
• Egypt: two years on - cash-for-work project restored sense of pride and dignity to a community following the uprising.
• A Better Life on the Nile - An audio slidehow about how a Christian Aid partner is helping communities learn more about their rights.
• The grind - otherworldly images of Egypt’s limestone quarries show the back-breaking work, and how our partner Wadi el Nil is helping workers claim their rights.
• Cooperatives transform communities – this photo gallery for the UN day of cooperatives showcases the work of COC BLESS among other partners around the world.