During the third annual CSR conference, held on 10 April, the Professional Development Foundation (PDF) signed a memorandum of understanding with Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Bank of Alexandria to provide employment opportunities for 1,200 young women and men in rural areas, in addition to developing 40 NGOs in targeted areas, training 400 university students on leadership and entrepreneurship skills, and providing loans to start their projects.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Noura Selim, executive director at the SFSD, to talk about the developmental projects undertaken by the foundation.
What is the amount of money allocated for social projects in 2016 and 2017?
In 2016, we provided funding of approximately EGP 130m only for projects. We allocated about EGP 150m for projects in 2017. In our projects, we target breadwinner women and youth, and about 50-60% of the fund is allocated for women, with a concentration in Upper Egypt due to high poverty rates. In Cairo and Alexandria, we focus on projects related to slums and homeless children.
What is the size of loans provided by Sawiris Foundation?
It depends on the beneficiary. We provide grants and in-kind loans and trainings. We provide NGOs with funds for loans to be provided to beneficiaries as Sawiris Foundation doesn’t deal directly with the beneficiaries. The loan amounts range between EGP 1,000 and EGP 5,000 according to beneficiaries’ needs and NGOs capacities.
What is the ratio of loan repayment?
We can say that the ratio is 99-100% as we work with developmental organisations to handle the problems beneficiaries meet together with them. After the 25 January Revolution, there were some issues with some associations, but it was only a very small number of them. Therefore, we have very strict criteria to select the associations that our foundation grants loans to.
Has the foundation resorted to any judicial proceedings in case of non-payment of loans?
Sawiris Foundation has development goals to empower people; however, we didn’t have to resort to courts, as we didn’t have cases where people or associations refused to repay the loans.
Sawiris Foundation developed the Bedouin Village in Taba. Is the foundation looking to conduct similar projects with other villages?
In Taba, we built an integrated village with all services, with costs amounting to approximately EGP 40m. We built decent houses for citizens in Taba, a healthcare centre, a school, and playgrounds. It is the first village developed by Sawiris Foundation, but Orascom Development Holding provided services such as Harram City.
We planned to develop other villages on the same style. We keep on trying to provide job opportunities in all targeted areas besides developing schools and providing child-friendly community schools.
SFSD allocated $2.25m over 4 years, between 2013 and 2016, to ensure the most marginalised children receive a quality primary education. What is the target area and the number of schools?
We have 45 child-friendly community schools in Assiut, Sohag, and Qena in Upper Egypt. We are interested in Upper Egypt because there is a lack of schools, and children have to walk a long distance to reach the closest school, taking around 45 minutes on average.
What is the work plan for development projects and the amount of allocated money?
We allocated between EGP 100m and EGP 120m for projects in 2017. We reviewed our projects’ budget after the devaluation and flotation of the Egyptian pound. Most of the money was directed towards creating job opportunities and the rest towards to health and education services.
How many jobs were created by the foundation, and what is the target for the coming period?
So far, we created 250,000 job opportunities across Egyptian governorates. A year ago, we launched an initiative for two years to create 20,000 job opportunities for youth and women in Upper Egypt by the end of 2018.
What are the success stories in developmental projects provided by the foundation?
We are proud of our projects in the health and education sectors, and our foundation established a Technical Nursing Institute in El Gouna, Hurghada, in 2010. The institute is very important for the society as the graduates work in high-quality hospitals because they acquired all skills and qualifications needed in nursing, and Egypt suffers from a lack of these skills.
We plan to expand the Institute in El Gouna through increasing the number of students joining the institute every year.
We received offers from other agencies and universities that are interested in developing institutes like ours.
We are studying establishing other institutes in the style of El Gouna Technical Nursing Institute, but first we are keen on expanding the existing institute to reach 300 students annually through the National Coordination Office. Fresh high-school graduates from the scientific division who are nominated by the coordination office can join the institute.
Will Sawiris Foundation increase its budget in light of the currency devaluation and increases in poverty rates?
Sure, we will do. We have a strong support from the Sawiris family to support the community. We target increasing the budget by 20%.