The UK has joined the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt’s “Kemama” campaign, in partnership with the Alternative Finance Lab (AltFinLab) and Neya.
The campaign supports women in Upper Egypt working for the El Nidaa Foundation, which aims to help curb the adverse socio-economic impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As the world faces the health crisis, countries are working on addressing its impacts on people’s lives, livelihoods, and the economy. The Kemama campaign was launched in Egypt in 2020, amid the COVID-19 outbreak as El Nidaa/ENID quickly responded by shifting its activities from producing ready-made-garments to producing medical masks.
Through the campaign, around EGP 300,000 was raised, securing the jobs of more than 100 women beneficiaries working at the factory in Qena Governorate.
The factory has produced nearly 63,000 face masks at competitive prices for Qena, Sohag, and Luxor’s vulnerable communities since the launch of the campaign. The UK’s £10,000 financial contribution is supporting women’s economic empowerment in Upper Egypt, and sustaining livelihoods which would otherwise have been lost due to COVID-19.
The UK Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said, “We are proud to be part of this initiative, which has already had real success in helping vulnerable communities protect themselves against COVID-19.”
“By supporting this campaign, we are also directly supporting the employment and economic empowerment of Egyptian women, a top priority for the UK,” he said, adding, “This is part of our wider partnership with Egypt and other countries around the world to ensure that, whether through personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, medical training, or vaccine access, we all build back better from COVID-19.”
Heba Handoussa, Managing Director of the Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) and Member of the Board of Trustees of El Nidaa Foundation, said, “The El Nidaa Foundation is very happy to partner with the British Embassy, which has joined Kemama along with the UNDP and Neya, and is offering generous support towards our mask production in Qena.”
She added, “This is a model for all private sector companies to partner with civil society organisations to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, while contributing to women’s empowerment.”
Handoussa noted that the women’s testimonials show how strong they are when fighting against stereotypes in one of the most conservative communities in Egypt.
“El Nidaa takes pride in being able to change mindsets in Qena, where parents and husbands now support their daughters and wives to step up and lead the way, beyond taking care of house chores,” she added.
The UNDP Egypt’s Resident Representative Randa Aboul Hosn outlined the importance of the Kemama campaign in creating an enabling environment for the socio-economic empowerment of the most vulnerable communities of Upper Egypt.
“The poorest are the least able to cope with the effects of the pandemic,” she said, “Supporting ENID means more employment and income generation opportunities for people, particularly for women and a direct contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Founder and CEO of Neya, Hana El Sadat, said, “We are happy to be able to support our local community and partners through such a difficult time.”
The Kemama campaign is part of the UNDP regional “Solidarity against COVID-19” campaign, aiming to engage communities in supporting local solutions to this global crisis.