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In pursuit of a decent life
Published in Ahram Online on 19 - 01 - 2021

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi instructed the government to launch the second stage of the Decent Life initiative designed to provide better living conditions for 18 million people living in the poorest 1,381 villages all over Egypt. The government allocated LE500 million for the second stage to be implemented in 2021.
The second stage will include 1,600 projects in the 12 governorates of Beheira, Marsa Matrouh, Ismailia, Daqahliya, Giza, Qena, Sohag, Minya, Assiut, Aswan, Luxor, and the New Valley. The projects include setting up new as well as renovating existing sanitation networks, fresh water stations and schools, along with health units. This is in addition to implementing local development programmes in the rural areas of Upper Egypt governorates, including Sohag, Qena, Assiut, and Minya.
According to Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi, the Ministry of Housing and the Armed Forces Engineering Authority will be in charge of infrastructure projects in the targeted villages, adding that other ministries will be tasked with operations at a later stage. “The president revealed that he will follow up on the implementation of the initiative,” Radi said.
Radi pointed out that, among the initiative's targets is to build 350,000 residential units within the framework of the Houses for All Egyptians campaign.
The first stage of Decent Life which kicked off in 2019 provided services to 143 villages in 11 governorates in cooperation with the government's concerned authorities as well as NGOs. Khaled Abdel-Fattah, director of the initiative at the Ministry of Social Solidarity said six of the 11 governorates are in Upper Egypt. “The presidential initiative aims at improving all of the country's villages and rural areas during the next three years,” Abdel-Fattah said.
According to Abdel-Fattah, the ministry is giving top priority to the initiative's projects of economic empowerment and providing job opportunities as well as micro-projects within the framework of strengthening the social protection network of the most vulnerable families. This is in addition to providing health, social and financial care to people with disabilities by giving them integrated service cards. “The ministry is also launching health convoys for the early detection of disabilities among children under the age of five in the targeted villages,” said Abdel-Fattah.
The second phase is divided into two working groups. The first is represented by the Ministry of Local Development which will coordinate with the government's relevant authorities to upgrade the infrastructure and service institutions of the villages. The second working group, according to Abdel-Fattah, will be headed by the Ministry of Social Solidarity which will be cooperating with the ministries of manpower, industry and commerce, along with the Small and Micro Enterprises Development Agency and the Decent Life Foundation. This group will be in charge of the social and economic development in the villages.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 21 January, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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