Among social protection and support projects that have been executed during recent years, Takaful and Karama came at the top of services benefiting the most vulnerable groups in the villages of Upper Egypt and in some areas adjacent to the governorates of Cairo and Giza.
Before taking office and after, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi repeatedly pledged to support citizens most in need. “The support will go to those who want it,” Al-Sisi said in televised interview during his campaign ahead of his presidential nomination. He also stressed. at his inauguration ceremony in June 2014, that during his rule, “he will preserve the rights of the poor and low-income [people].”
Also, in his speech before the Egyptian Parliament in February, Al-Sisi asserted, “the projects of Takaful and Karama will be launched as a social protection umbrella for the children of poor families, the elderly, and the people with special needs.”
The project has succeeded in providing coverage for a large number of the most vulnerable groups across the country and improving the deteriorated conditions of families with no income.
In a televised interview in January, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly, said, “67% of the funding for the projects Takaful and Karama is directed to Upper Egypt.” She added that the total beneficiaries of the programme are 8.5 million citizens.
The programme originally targeted covering 1.5 million families within 3 years, but reached 2 million families in two years, she noted
The Takaful and Karama projects are divided into two parts: the first aims at providing cash support to poor families who have children studying at different education levels, to ensure that they will continue their education process.
Families who have students in primary level education receive EGP 60 for each child per month, while parents with children in the preparatory stage receive EGP 80, and EGP 100 is given for each student in the secondary stage. These cash payments are provided to families so long as their children have a school attendance rating of at least 80%.
The programme provides medical support to families with pre-school children, who are less than six years old, and to pregnant mothers. The medical support requires that families implement all of the steps stipulated in healthcare programmes by the Ministry of Health. The maximum number of beneficiaries of this programme are three children per household.
With regard to Karama, its objective is to provide support for elderly people and persons with disabilities. The elderly is classified as any person above 65 years of age who is not able to work and must belong to a family with no fixed income, such as a social security pension. For special needs, people should submit a medical certificate from the Ministry of Health, proving that the individual is unable to work.
The programme offers each individual in a family who meets the programme’s conditions EGP 325 per month. If several individuals in a family qualify, EGP 425 is given to two members of the same family and EGP 550 is given to three members within the same family.
However, the government raised these grants by EGP 100 in 2017 to mitigate the effects of economic reform measures. Takaful and Karama allowances are usually disbursed on the 15th of each month.
Takaful and Karama are executed under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which selects the beneficiaries and issues them smart cards. There are other ministries that participate in the projects, such as the Ministry of Education, which determines whether children of families are eligible for the programme through submitting a report about their school attendance.
Also, the Ministry of Finance provides the cash support to beneficiaries according to the plan set by the Ministry of Solidarity. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior is the entity that verifies the accuracy of data submitted by families who want to benefit from one of the programmes.
The projects are also supported by some international bodies such as the World Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in terms of operational cooperation.
In October 2015, the government agreed with the World Bank to provide $400m to fund the project. The ministry received $130m as a first instalment of the loan in December 2015 and agreed to receive the second tranche of $130m from the amount dedicated to the fund in June.
At the end of the fiscal year 2016/2017, the government increased the number of beneficiaries of the two cash support programmes to about 1 million families, as recipients reached over 506,000 families at that time. The government allocated about $4.1bn pounds to fund the two programmes in the 2016/2017 fiscal year budget.
The projects are an initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to develop social protection systems and to enhance low-income families’ access to basic rights. The programme came in response to the economic and social reforms adopted by the Egyptian government and its efforts to adopt fair policies, attempting to assist 7-7.5 million citizens in three stages, as well as 2.61 million households through security pensions and cash assistance.
The first stage started in May 2016, as the ministry succeeded in registering over 1 million families in 1,046 villages in 10 governorates, most of them in the Upper Egypt, and disbursed financial support to 506,453 households ranging between EGP 325 and EGP 625. In July 2016, the second phase of the projects began in 16 governorates, while the third started in January 2017, according to previous remarks by Waly.
In January 2018, the Takaful and Karama programmes witnessed unprecedented expansions through registration opening in new areas for the first time, including 11 cities in Sharqiya governorate and the initiative also launched in Kafr El-Sheikh.