Human Interests Story – AICS Regional Gender Programme

This regional gender programme  “Assistance to and Empowerment of Syrian Refugee Women and girls and vulnerable women and girls of Host Communities in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon”, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) for a total amount of six million Euro, aims at protecting and empowering the Syrian refugee women and girls and those of vulnerable host communities in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

This Programme specifically focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights and socio-economic empowerment. Its operational structure includes two multi-bilateral components, implemented respectively by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), and a bilateral component implemented by two Italian civil society organisation active in the three countries, namely Oxfam and ARCS, in partnership with local organizations.

Here after is a human stories of one of the women who is benefiting from the activities carried out in the safe space places, part of UNFPA component.

A new beginning

No one becomes great except through many experiences and mistakes. The story of this woman, a true story in all its details, proves this saying. A woman married at the age of 30, 17 years ago, and got pregnant right after marriage. However, she had an abortion not long after learning the news. Soon after, she got divorced and started facing the community with no confidence in herself and others.

She remained at home with a minimum level of communication with everyone, until her family, mother and brother, decided to go to Egypt, fleeing the war in Syria. Without children, husband or friends, she suffered from depression, sadness, and loneliness until she was introduced to the CARE Egypt Women Friendly Space in Nasr City.

She visits the space on a frequent basis and registers in many of the courses offered, specifically the satin embroidery course. Enthusiastically, she produced many tablecloths to decorate her room. She also participated in the Crochet courses and did many beautiful pieces. These works relieved her grief and provided her with the opportunity to make friends.

The love she has to the space was an incentive to re-register in new activities, including the psychotherapy sessions that helped her overcome her psychological issues. She also joined the theater workshop that added quite positive characteristics to her personality as increasing self-confidence, self-esteem, and public speaking. Furthermore, she attended awareness sessions on early marriage and positive parenting that added new information that she could pass on to her friends and family. The space has allowed her to overcome her psychological and social issues because of her frequent visit and register in course.


Stories of women empowerment: voices from Upper Egypt with MAIS and COSPE

Egypt, Governorates of Sohag and Assiut – Within the Italian-Egyptian Debt Swap Program (IEDS) a particularly important role is played by the initiatives promoted by the Egyptian civil society and by Italian NGOs. On November 2nd, 3rd and 4th the staff of AICS Cairo and the Technical Support Unit of the IEDS, carried out a joint monitoring mission to two initiatives carried out by the NGOs COSPE, project “HOPE  – Handicraft and Organic agriculture Producers’ Empowerment” and MAIS NGO , project “Becoming Leaders Project: Creation of working opportunities and sustainable economic development for women in Upper Egypt“.

Both initiatives aim to promote and improve the activities of different groups of artisans, through trainings and technical assistance, micro-credit services and the creation of a local network to support local handcraft’ production. The projects are both located in Upper Egypt, which has the highest poverty rate in the country and where a highly conservative mentality often limits women’s empowerment opportunities. The initiatives offered new tools to promote greater participation of women in the economic life. Through the projects, novelties have been introduced, such as new designs and new products, innovative production techniques and marketing strategies. As a result, sales have increased, and products have entered successfully into new markets. Moreover, the initiatives have positively affected the protection of cultural heritage and traditional ways of production.

Ricamo MansajeThe stories of Nawal and Afef show how development projects not only promote improvements in the dimension of productivity, but also contribute to a real change in people’s lives in terms of greater self-esteem, social recognition, personal fulfillment and happiness:

Nawal: “I come from a small rural village. I studied at an Islamic school. My mother died, I married my uncle’s son and I lived inside my home for ten years. My husband wouldn’t let me do anything. I did household work and never left home except to take my kids to the doctor. My husband mistreated me. Before I was a living dead! There was never anything new. The morning was the same as the evening. I was like an animal at home. I wanted to go to work, my husband wouldn’t let me. I started going secretly to the training courses of Tally (traditional art inspired to the Pharaonic and Coptic tradition) of the project, thanks to which I was able to start working from home. I concentrated on my work, forgetting about the rest, and began to contribute financially to family expenses. Thank God, I became an active part of the family economy and could therefore decide to buy some extra things for my two children. This changed the relationship with my husband, who started to leave me a little freer. Now it is even better with my family and my brother. I started going out a little more, meeting other people. At one point, I realized that I was no longer alone. I am very grateful to the project, to all the techniques I learned and to Naglaa, the project coordinator, because she was close to me. I hope there are other training courses and the possibility of accessing the micro credit program.

Afes: “I have one son and one daughter. Then my husband died and left me debts. I was always sad, I was crying all the time and there was no hope. In the South of Egypt, we have the tradition that when the husband dies, the wife marries the husband’s brother. The future is in the hands of God, it does not depend on me, but I would like to become a teacher and make a project of my own. Some girls from the village asked me to teach them some techniques and so I gave them a bit of cloth. Thanks to the project, I realized that I had to respect myself, listen to my needs, not let me go and let no one push me around. I realized that I didn’t have to get married again and that I could work. This is what I did: I didn’t get married again and I started working. I took two micro credits, bought the fabric and started my project. I met other artisans and in particular a bag manufacturer named Nura. I went to work with her in Cairo. It was the first time I left my region and went to Cairo. I had the feeling of being faced with a very difficult thing, but then from inside everything became much easier. Since then I no longer wanted to go home or sell products from home, but I wanted to travel. I met a friend who took part in the fairs and I also started to participate to events organized by the Ministry of Finance and others. There was a feeling of success and I gained some more money. Before people didn’t have a big consideration of myself. Then I started to be successful, they started inviting me to television, I’m very proud. Now I hear people in my neighborhood saying: – here lives Afes, the one who goes on television! -. My children are very proud of me. At one of these fairs, we took a picture together and now they show it to all their friends!

More information on the projects:

FB Page project “HOPE” by COSPE:

FB Page project “Becoming leaders” by MAIS:

COVID-19 measures taken by AICS Cairo office

In the framework of the measures taken to face the current Covid-19 emergency, AICS Cairo office will remain closed to the public until further notice. During this period the office will remain operative through teleworking, the normal working hours are ensured on the remote.

In case of urgent need, eventual visits might be approved by the Director of the office. Requests should be sent through the following email address 

Visitors should abide to the following rules: measuring the temperature (none can enter the office if the temperature is equal or higher than 37.2 °C), using disinfectant at the entrance, eventual use of face mask and gloves.

It is highly recommended to Italian citizens in Egypt to remain informed through the website of the Italian Embassy in Cairo at the following link:

The Italian programme funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa is ready to be signed!

Cairo-September 2018-The Multi-Educational Programme for Employment Promotion in Migration-affected Areas (MEPEP) falls under the scope of the “Enhancing the Response to Migration Challenges in Egypt Programme which is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.

With a planned three-year duration, the action aims at enhancing economic and equal opportunities, in particular for vulnerable groups by improving the quality of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in Egypt.The Action targets the Sharkeya Governorate as it has been identified – according to a recent research conducted by the National Center for Sociological and Criminological Research – as one of the top-ten Governorates in Egypt that boast the largest number of Egyptian youth who wish to leave Egypt and illegally migrate to other countries. In particular, the 10th of Ramadan Industrial Zone resulted being the most relevant intervention area due to the presence of a dynamic Egyptian and non-Egyptian industrial force on which the creation of a high-level and market-oriented TVET Center can have the major impact.

The Implementation of the activities will be assigned to a TVET provider already operating in the country with an extensive experience in delivering innovative and alternative TVET, to be selected through a call for proposal.

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) – Cairo Office will work in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoTI), namely the Productivity and Vocational Training Department (PVDT), as the main national entities mandated in the area of TVET.

Currently, the project formulation phase is concluded and the documents need to be validated by the European Union before the signature of the delegation agreement.

Robbiki – Participation to the Cairo International Leather Exhibition

Cairo-The Project Management Unit (PMU) of the Technical Assistance to Implement the “ROBBIKI LEATHER CITY – RLC” Relocation Project (PMU/AICS) participated in Cairo Inter leather 2018 which is the only leather exhibition in Egypt that is specialized in all leather industries and technologies. It was held from 8 -10 March at Cairo International convention Center with one hundred exhibitor presenting products and services, technologies and innovations, trends and tendencies for trade markets.

The PMU introduced AICS and the PMU/AICS to the Participants, and held meetings with government officials as well as leather goods producers and representatives of sister organizations. PMU delegates distributed factsheets on the project to all the exhibitors, gave the Egyptian exhibitors questionnaire to know their capacity, productivity, interests, plans and suggestions, and gave the Italian visitors another questionnaire to assess their evaluation of the Egyptian leather products and their future insights, and thus the PMU got a full idea about the sector, its problems, capabilities and aspirations of its players.

During the exhibition, PMU displayed six stickers of the logo of the Italian Republic, six stickers of the logo of AICS, six stickers for the theme of the project, six table flags, three big standing flags of Italy, Egypt and the European Union and two Roll-ups for the project.

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Robbiki Relocation Project – Participation to the Egyptian Delegation for Simac Tanning Tech and Lineapelle 2018

Cairo-The PMU of Robbiki Relocation Project has turned its attention to Simac Tanning Tech, the top-level international event for technology in the footwear, leather goods and tanning industries, and participated in the Egyptian Delegation organized by the Italian Trade Agency in Simac Tanning 2018’s Edition.

18,000 sqm, 300 exhibitors, 20 foreign delegations and over 160 operators. These are some of the numbers that spelled out the importance of this event – a showcase of excellence for the many national and international exhibitors in attendance. This is an industry where Italian firms are undisputed world leaders who have the ability to shape future trends.

Concurrently with Simac Tanning Tech, from 20 to 22 February, the 94th edition of Lineapelle was held at Fiera Milano: this is the leading exhibition worldwide for leathers, accessories, alternative components and materials for clients in the fashion and luxury industry, furnishings and automotive sectors. A vast and diverse industrial sector, encompassing over 50,000 businesses that create a total annual turnover in excess of 150 billion dollars.

The feedback of the Italian exhibitors during the meetings held at their pavilions at the Simac Tanning Tech and Lineapelle 2018 compared to their business with the Egyptian operators was very positive and satisfying. This has been confirmed by the local sourced data of the Italy/Egypt exchange of leather tanning machines, relative to the first ten months of 2017. Italy has maintained its primary position as a supplier of technology to Egypt for a value of 3.733 Mln of US $, with a market share equal to 77,8% of the total Egyptian imports 4.8 Mln US$ achieving a growth of 877% compared to US $ 382 thousand in the same period of 2016.

Cairo Water Week 14-18th October 2018

Cairo-The challenges faced by Egypt in the water sector are similar to those faced by most arid and semi-arid countries around the world at both national, regional and international levels. Most of them suffer from water scarcity and/or are vulnerable to climate change. Moreover, in some arid countries like Egypt, due to their geographical position , rivers originate from outside their borders. Those challenges and others result in increasing water scarcity and threatening water security. Egypt’s water is the most important pillar for achieving  national security. The comprehensive sustainable development plans in all fields are linked to the  state’s ability to provide the necessary water resources to implement  these plans. Therefore, the decision of  the State was to organize the “Cairo Water Week”. The Cairo Water Week is considered as the biggest water-related event in Egypt  and is planned to be organized  annually by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in collaboration with national, regional and international partners. It aims to promote water awareness and foster innovative approaches to face the most pressing water-related challenges, keep updated on  global  movements to address water challenges and  identify modern tools and techniques for managing water resources. The Week starts its first edition his year around  the Main Theme “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”, it will take place in Cairo, Egypt during the period from 14-18 October 2018 under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.