Impact in pilot areas
The programme has built a solid foundation to reach its goal in its last phases. The main emphasis of the previous phases has been on the development and application of participatory mechanisms and tools for the improvement of informal areas in selected urban districts. With the support of the KfW fund and national partners’ contributions, the program reached impressive tangible results in its two pilot areas (Manshiet Nasser and Boulaq el Dakrour). Physical improvements, social development projects and community commitments were the main achievements.
Impact studies showed that the residents of the two pilot areas highly appreciate the improvement of environmental, educational, health & cultural standard of the two areas. They also appreciate the programme’s support in identifying their problems and needs and implementing projects accordingly. The results of the study also highlighted that the collaboration between the programme, the districts and the local popular council activated the role of governmental institutions in implementing projects with the civil society. This on the one hand created trust between the residents on one hand and governmental institutions and civil society organizations on the other hand.
Replication of PDP’s approach
On the basis of success achieved in the two pilot areas, the Integrated Care Society NGO replicated the programme’s experience in new areas in Helwan (Ezbet &Arab el Walda & later in Helwan). The main achievement here was the mobilisation of more than seventy million EGP from public and private institutions to upgrade the two areas using the programme’s participatory tools. In 2007, Helwan’s experience was the main focus of the media as best practice of upgrading informal areas by placing dealing with informal areas as an important topic on the political agenda.
Local initiatives impact local lives
With respect to cross-cutting issues like poverty alleviation and gender, the programme attempted to tackle various aspects of poverty alleviation through the local initiatives fund project. 200 initiatives were financed in 13 governorates since the fund’s start in 2002. Ex-post evaluation showed that this fund had positive impacts on the macro and micro level. On the macro level, the fund’s reputation attracted public and private investments to replicate the experience. The German petroleum company RWE allocated 50.000 Euro for implementing four local initiatives by civil society organizations. The program implemented on its behalf four initiatives in the educational sector. In addition, the Ministry of Economic Development (MoED) supported the fund since 2005 by allocation 1 million EGP yearly to implement initiatives in any sector. Hence, the fund continued financing and implementing funds with other contributions.
On the micro level, ex-post evaluations showed that almost 80% of implemented initiatives were sustained. The following positive impact was mentioned by local community members and civil society organisations:
A) NGOs were empowered and repeated community driven projects on their own
B) Many NGOs repeated the same kind of project in other new communities
C) Training community members – especially women – on different vocations and enhancing their capacities & skills
D) Providing a number of work opportunities & reducing unemployment among youth & women
Participatory tools dissemination
In addition, the high demand on the participatory tools in general, and the GIS database and Sharing Information Tool in particular from universities, governors, government officials and ministries show a positive tendency towards sharing accurate information specially for slum upgrading. The GIS team is continuously giving public lectures and capacity building to partner organisations and other governmental and non-governmental institutions based on requests on how to use the tool. An assessment of the GIS capacity development program given to officials on the district level showed that the number of requests to GIS departments on the district level – especially coming from governorates level and other departments on district level – increased tremendously if one compares them with the number of requests before receiving the training.
Another important impact of GIS training offered to the information center staff on the district level is their enablement to respond to national problems and requests by providing accurate information to relevant authorities. According to trained staff, the training enabled them to respond to many requests during elections and cabinet change with minimum assistance. Furthermore, they mentioned that whenever a national problem is highlighted in the news (problem with bakeries, issuing of the new building tax…), they initiated efforts to update database on the problem and forwarded their input to their district chief.
PDP’s new orientation
Based on the programme’s experience and policy advice, the governors of Giza, Cairo and Qalyubeya established informal areas upgrading units to consolidate and replicate the experience of using participatory local development tools in 2007/2008. Consequently, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet recommended disseminating the experience and establishing units on the 26 Governorate level with the main objective of advising governors on how to deal with informal areas. The units started its work by selecting areas, where the tools will be applied. The application of the tool local initiatives has started in Cairo and Qalyubeya Governorates by establishing committees representing local administration and civil society and implementing 20 community-driven projects in the two areas. Interviews with the resident showed that the main impact of these initiatives is the creation of a general atmosphere of security in the area with community members enjoying more leisure time as a result of lighting a number of streets. The application of the second tool GIS has also started in Cairo Governorate and will start in the two remaining governorates in October.
The support of the GIZ on the Governorate level and the increasing attention towards informal areas from the side of the Egyptian government started to show positive impact by opening the doors further to cooperate with key decision makers. In 2008, the programme concluded three official agreements with partner organisations and the Integrated Care Society NGO with the main objective of integrating the participatory mechanisms in the official Egyptian structure.
Though the programme’s efforts were highly acknowledged in the media mainly in the last two years, substantial work still lies ahead in moving from demonstration cases to institutionalising the approach. The challenge for the current phase will be to institutionalise the relevant participatory approaches in the key Egyptian government institutions and to enable them to effectively provide support and services to informal areas.