With a view to the dire conditions of women who find themselves in the position of sole breadwinner for the family and have not the skills needed to find reasonable jobs, Egypt’s Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW) has partnered with the Japanese Embassy in Cairo to launch a project of a micro-credit programme (MCP) for sustainer women.
The three-year project targets 458 women aged 21 to 62 in the poorer districts of Egypt, who alone sustain their families. The aim is to provide them with micro-loans ranging from EGP1000 – 6000 to start up profitable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), realising thus social and economic empowerment for these women. Credit groups of five women guarantee each other’s loans, freeing women from the need for a guarantee or a male guarantor. The clients pay back the loans in 6 to 18 months depending on the project size. The women are chosen according to a number of conditions: they have to be Egyptian; the sole breadwinner; possessing a good reputation; and coming up with an idea for a project or already having started up one.
The first group of women to qualify for the programme have started projects for small-scale trading, handmade crafts, sewing, cosmetics, and even butchery.
Ambassador of Japan to Cairo, Takehiro Kagawa, expressed his appreciation and respect for the ADEW programmes and activities which target marginalised women. “This noble goal,” Mr Kagawa added, “explains why the embassy has chosen to cooperate with the ADEW since 1994. So far, some 160 projects have been jointly executed.”
ADEW not only provides micro-credit loans, but also an integrated set of training courses to the MCP clients to help them to acquire the skills needed to manage their projects. The training includes feasibility study, financial training, communication skills, and project management.
Iman Bibars, chairwoman of ADEW, says that women in poverty-stricken areas need more than financial loans. “ADEW,” she says, provides a bundle of programmes which target economic, social, legal, health, cultural and educational aspects of women’s empowerment. Among them are programmes for literacy, public awareness, and health and hygiene. Throughout 28 years, ADEW’s MCP beneficiaries have reached over 350,000 individuals.”
7 November 2016