Practice in detail
Click here to view list of all practices
Gender roles and responsibilities
Gender specific needs
Access to resources
Control of resources
Removing barriers to equity
10 years to adult
Education and vocational training (including
day care, after school care)
Children's participatory planning and
Community support programmes
Especially difficult circumstances
(abuse, child labour, war)
Youth at risk
The purpose of the initiative is the comprehensive development of the eastern Nile district of Minia governorate in Upper Egypt and the empowerment of groups especially the youth, women and children.
First, the purpose of the initiative is to raise the targeted community awareness of economic, social, political, civil human rights, and enable them to get them, in addition to raising their awareness of women and children's rights in particular as set out in the international conventions and the Egyptian law.
Then, enabling the irregular labor in the area such as quarry workers, fishermen and farmers economically by raising their awareness of their rights as workers that were organized in formal entities and were trained to claim their rights from the right's holders, whether the Egyptian government or private employers in determining their working hours, occupational safety, organizing their work, utilization of economic resources' dividend, social and health insurance.
This is in addition to the goal of the initiative in the development of key trades and professions in the region to protect their livelihood, such as quarrying industry to make it safer for workers and more economically feasible, the development of fishing and farming systems and techniques used to serve the people in the region.
The initiative also aims to improve the economic conditions of the inhabitants of the region of low-income workers by lending them to implement small projects for income-generating either collectively or individually that are designed to develop the individual and the entire region.
The initiative also aims to activate the role of members of the elected Local Popular Council in the Eastern Nile area through training them, increasing their knowledge, developing their skills, enabling them as active individuals in the accountability of the government, demanding the rights of the people in the region, finding solutions to their problems and their benefit at reasonable rate of economic resources.
Also the initiative aims at the establishment and strengthening of a number of grassroots NGOs in the Eastern Nile to strengthen the activity of the civil society and convert them to civil organizations that are able to participate in the development' march.
Also the initiative cared of empowering women and changing patterns and concepts prevailing in the Eastern Nile, which devote the inferiority of women and discrimination against them by raising awareness of the community members on women's rights, forming women's movements in each community that aim at leading change for the better. The initiative also cared of issuing birth certificates and identity cards (national IDs) for women of Eastern Nile, training women vocational training on a number of different trades and professions to make small projects, and their economic development. The initiative also made listening counseling centers for battered and violenced women especially who are subjected to special domestic violence for the first time in the villages of Eastern Nile and also at the level of all villages of the republic.
The initiative also aims to eliminate the phenomenon of "female circumcision" that is widespread by 98% among girls of the Eastern Nile, which constitutes a serious violation for children and women's rights through the using different strategies .
The initiative also cared of education issues. So it began to establish a number of schools in the region to increase access to education for the children of the region. It also made a number of projects for the development and quality of education by the upgrading the teachers' level and organizing strengthening classes for children to prevent them from drop out because of the weak level grades.
Proceeding from the importance of education and its impact on communities, the initiative combated the widespread illiteracy by organizing literacy classes for women and men in the Eastern Nile, then, facilitating their procedures to submit to the test the government and enabling them to get a certificate of literacy.
This is in addition to combat the phenomenon of children labor in quarries, which are the worst form of children labor in quarries by raising the awareness of people in the area on child rights and social responsibility of the parents. The initiative also could raise the educational level of children, return all dropouts to schools, train children who exceeded the legal age on alternative trades and professions that are safer and less vulnerable and provide loans to families on condition that they prevent their children from working in quarries.
The initiative cared of activating the role of media people in favor of development issues and recruiting them for the benefit of the different issues of the Eastern Nile area particularly in the various levels of local and national media . From the beginning, the initiative focused on the good recruiting of Islamic and Christian leaders through their rehabilitation, training and raising their awareness of the different development issues.
The initiative aimed to improve the environmental conditions for housing, use the cheap environmental raw materials environment for the construction and develop housing in the Eastern Nile to provide economic and healthy adequate housing for the poor and find solutions to problems such as: the separation between human and animals in the living, building roof for the house, delivery of potable water, making latrines for the houses that were the basic needs of the inhabitants of the region.
Date of the starting the Association : May 1995
Date of the first funded project: July 1997
Date of the first funded project by private sector in Egypt : June 2006
Date of the Social Entrepreneurs Award : May2006
Date of Ashoka Fellowship: May2004
SITUATION BEFORE THE INITIATIVE BEGAN The target Eastern Nile occupies about 30 km east of Minia City in Upper Egypt. It consists of 18 villages. The population of this region is about 10000 people. There is a small agricultural area in the region that is surrounded by the River Nile from the West and there are Limestone Mountains from the East. The main occupation of the population in this region is quarry workers who cut stones and export them to all parts of the Republic, but by using primitive and antiquated machines that violate all human rights in general and workers in particular. The region suffers from lack of jobs and large rate of widespread unemployment. There are some men who work in Agriculture or as fishermen from the water of the River Nile e.g. most category of this region is an irregular marginalized employment that is away from the umbrella of the social and health insurance. They suffer from the violation of many of their economic and social rights.
The region suffers from lack of educational opportunities, shortage of schools and poor quality of education. Child labor in quarry sector is widespread due to economic motives and also the absence of awareness of the child rights.
The Eastern Nile Community suffers from poor participation and representation of women in different fields and there is a clear discrimination against women so women's illiteracy increases, the lack of employment opportunities for them and the lack of their political participation. Around 90% of the population of this region practice bad habits such as female genital mutilation and wedding night.
There is apparent Environmental degradation in houses of this area as they are built of red bricks and combining the housing of both human and animal together. They suffer from a lack of clean water supplies, lack of latrines, cracks walls and roofs built of palm branches or natural raw materials in which air penetrates.
There are Local Popular Councils that represent people of this region but they are not effective and do not contribute obviously in improving the conditions of this region.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PRIORITIESList of initiative's priorities:
How to identify these priorities: it was done by implementing community-based study using participatory rapid appraisal in 18 communities of the Eastern Nile villages. This study was implemented by the association's staff together with people of these communities. Different means and tools were used for the study include:
Number of residents participants
150 male / 50 female
2- Individual Interviews
600 male / 400 female
3- Focus Groups Discussions
3000 male / 2000 female
500 male / 500 female
5- Meetings with government sources
80 male / 20 female
6- Meetings with members of LPC
7- Meetings with representatives of grassroots NGOs
40 male / 10 female
8- Analysis of income sources and expenditure of the population
50 male / 50 female
9- Daily routine and seasonal Calendar of residents
Through the implementation of these tools with the same members of the community, the list of priorities has been monitored for the residents of the region, which resulted from the analysis of the various problems and monitor violations in the Eastern Nile. The study resulted also in monitoring the various community resources, which could be exploited in Comprehensive development of the region.
This is in addition to a number of specialized Social Studies carried out by the association about conditions and needs of specific groups such as: study of quarry workers (new ousters) - study of the fishermen (the other side of the river) - study of the farmers - study of child labor in quarries and another one about children labor at workshops - study of women (insecure women) so that we can identify and accurate analyze the problems and resources to be able to intervene effectively to improve these conditions.
FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
The main objectives of the initiative:
These objectives and strategies have been prepared in partnership between representatives of people of the Eastern Nile region and the Board of Trustees of the Association composed of 5 members under the supervision of the social entrepreneur / Maher Bushra and also under the supervision of some donors, including: Oxfam Novib, Ford Foundation and the Egyptian Swiss Development Fund.
MOBILISATION OF RESOURCES After community study, identifying priorities and formulating objectives and strategies of the initiative, all that was drafted in a number of Specific term development projects that we target its implementation in the Eastern Nile. Then the Board of Trustees of the Association carried out a large-scale campaign to attract funding from a number of donors inside and outside of Egypt. The Association has succeeded in bringing Funding from various points, with a view to mobilize resources and financial sources for the development of the region, such as:
This is in addition to the government local units and what did it provide such as resources and capabilities, and also the contribution of the inhabitants of the area by land and real estate or assets in addition to some of the Egyptian private sector companies such as: Hermes Company.
As for the mobilization of human resources, the association selected the staff of each project, some of them are employees others are volunteers. All human resources for the initiative were selected by the people of the community themselves, whether from the Eastern Nile or Minia City itself which is responsible for resource management.
Concerning the mobilization of technical resources, each project of the initiative has been prepared and designed by developing a training program for human resources in order to raise their capabilities on topics, knowledge and skills depend on the project in which they work. In addition to some technical advisory offices, consultants and trainers inside Egypt, such as:
Obstacles that faced the implementation of the initiative:
Problems that have remained unresolved:
Groups and organizations participate in the initiative:
The participation of target groups in the development process is one of the strategic approaches for Better Life Association. The groups' participation started through raising awareness, defining many issues and then identifying needs, monitoring the various problems and finding solutions for them. The target groups participated in the formulating development projects for the application of these solutions. These projects have been implemented by members of the same communities. Better Life Association for Comprehensive Development works in partnership with the various institutions of the society such as educational institutions: the Directorate of Education and various schools, also with the members of the Local Popular Councils, religious institutions represented in mosques, churches and training religious leaders. There is also a partnership with governmental youth centers. Better Life Association participates also in some networks and local alliances at the level of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Middle East level and the global level.
The initiative presents different kinds of loans either individual loans or group guarantee loans , the system of these loans is revolving loans for achieving the use and benefits for the largest number of beneficiaries, every time loan is revolved ,the number of beneficiaries is doubled ,and by this way it is a sustainable resource for the inhabitants of this area for improving them economically .
The initiative ensure enough grants to emphasize repayment , the average period of repayment is one year , the benefit percentage from 8-12% , the conditions of these loans varies from target group to another.
The initiative started development work by improving the humane resources of the community , so it implemented large number of awareness meetings , training workshops, sessions for improving the skills and knowledge of inhabitants , and by this way we guarantee the sustainability of this process.
The initiative workes with media through different ways either television or radio and newsletters , we have trained them to be qualified to deal with community problems , in addition to working with religious leaders who are also are responsible of that sustainable change.
The initiative motivated and created using the primitive environmental materials in constructing houses , reducing using the clay of the agricultural land in Egypt.
The initiative established number of entities which will continue after the initiative will be ended , such as : grass root organization in local communities, unions and syndicates, alliances , members of popular local councils which approve sustainability .
LESSONS LEARNED Participation :
We have transferred our initiativeby establishing number of other NGOs which have similar objectives such as :
Those associations have been trained and had capacity building program by the initiative , now they are very successful in communities.
BLACD in the News
Date of Publication
Sewage outlet discharges 9000 m3 daily in the Nile
Minister of Environment, help us, our children are dying
12 Jan 2004
Workshop to improve the Livelihood of Fishermen in the villages on the East side of the Nile in Minya
29 July 2007
Civil Society Associations assist fishermen but the profession is hard and the income low
Dr. Tharvet Fathy
Girls of Upper Egypt protest against circumcision
Wafa Abd El-Raheem
27 Jan 2007
March for girls to fight FGM
16 Feb 2007
March for girls demands criminalization of FGM
30 Jan 2007
Minya: March for Girls demands criminalization of FGM
30 Mar 2006
No to circumcision in Minya
1 Feb 2007
Girls in Minya protest against circumcision
Children in the grips of the wind
1 Aug 2007
Sherbat, a witness in the operating room, tells the reality behind Bedour’s death
19 Nov 2006
Intensive workshop to counter unofficial marriages
Dr. Thervat fathy
A picture is worth more than words sometimes
18 May 2007
EFG-Hermes Foundation donates funds to Menya Water Project
Daily Star Egypt
21 May 2006
Prime Minister of Egypt, H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, to present award to winner of the social entrepreneur of the year award in Egypt
World Economic Forum Press Release
Taking the campaign for FGM abandonment to the community
Community Empowerment for the Better Health of Women and Children in Upper Egypt
25-31 May 2006
21-27 June 2007
Briefs/ Housing and Sanitation projects
Changemaker: Maher Bushra
Education in Egypt: out of the darkness
Oxfam Novib Network
Name of Contact Person:
Mirjam Van Doressen
P.O. box 30919
2500 GX The Hauge
Tel : +31(0) 703421696
Fax : +31(0)703614461
E-mail : mirjam.Van.email@example.com
Type of Organisation:
Type of Support:
Financial Support, Technical Support
Average of $ exchange to LE