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National project for social protection launched in Egypt's villages: Prime minister
Published in Daily News Egypt on 10 - 01 - 2015

The government's national programme for social protection aims to ensure citizens' basic rights to health and education and strengthening access to food and work. The project encompasses 250 villages in 11 provinces, according to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb.
Mehleb set financing for the development project and the provision of citizens' basic needs through the budgets of various ministries concerned with the health and education sectors, in addition to government funding and NGO contributions.
Poverty rates exceed 26% in Egypt, a large figure that reveals weak rates of improving quality of life for citizens and increasing employment.
The Prime Minister met with the Ministers of Local Development and Social Solidarity as well as a number of representatives of relevant government agencies on Saturday to analyse the latest developments in the national partnership program to alleviate poverty in 250 of Egypt's neediest villages across 11 provinces.
"The government is working to coordinate efforts and programs implemented by the government and civil society in addition to reviewing all operational programs to develop the villages," said Hossam Al-Qawesh, cabinet spokesperson, who emphasised the importance of optimising the use of raw materials in development work as well as analysing what has taken place so far in order to eventually arrive at a "model village."
According to Al-Qawesh, the meeting discussed the various challenges facing efforts to alleviate poverty in those villages and proposed solutions, including identifying the elements of a development map. He underscored the importance of coordination between the public sector and civil society in this regard via strategic goals.
Al-Qawesh said that during the meeting, the need to provide services to each village and therefore work toward setting out context-appropriate and integrated development initiatives was discussed. This includes the development of facilities and infrastructure such as roads, sanitation, water, electricity, and postal services, in addition to utilising the efforts of civil society to achieve integrated human development. The process involves providing health and educational services, and employment opportunities for village-dwellers through both development projects and diverse commercial activities in each village.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister requested that villages be developed in a comprehensive manner that encompasses all types of services in order to create developed Egyptian villages in the Delta and Upper Egypt. The development programs must match the character of Egyptian villages and take the social factor into account, he explained.
The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of finding unconventional solutions to reduce the cost of projects involving services, through welcoming contributions to development projects from civil society. He requested that basic infrastructure be completed for 78 villages out of the more than 250 in need. Development work has already begun through the participation of civil society, he explained, representing a phase of paramount importance.
Al-Qawesh revealed that an agreement was made to hold a meeting with concerned ministries as well as civil society in order to coordinate on the development plan and steps toward implementation, in addition to forming a government commission to both inspect the 78 villages for which development work has begun and determine the needs of the remaining villages.

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