CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Chief of Staff, Gresham Barrett, this week visited joint Government and WFP programmes in the city of Luxor, looking at projects promoting women’s economic empowerment, rural development and education.
The visit took place at ‘El Boghdadi’ village, one of the 123 communities supported under the rural development programme run by WFP and the Government. The delegation toured consolidated land plants and learned about improved agro-processing and irrigation techniques. Together, the interventions have increased smallholder farmers’ income by 30 percent and significantly reduced crop-losses as well as water usage by more than 25 percent.
Following the Government’s request to scale-up this successful rural development model to 1 million smallholder farmers, WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are working together to expand the model to 90 villages in 6 governorates at a cost of about $7.6 million (EGP 120 million).
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, the sustainability of development programmes has been tested and we’re happy to see that the approach taken in Egypt has withstood this test,” said WFP Chief of Staff, Gresham Barrett. “By empowering all members of a household, these interventions allow families and their communities to achieve lasting positive change in agriculture, nutrition, food security and education.”
“I highly commend the existing collaboration between the Government of Egypt and WFP in improving food security and resilience of vulnerable communities, a high priority in Egypt’s Vision 2030. The Government of Egypt is committed to making the most of its strategic partnership with the UN and its specialized agencies to not only advance national development priorities but also to support development in the region and neighbouring African countries,” said former WFP Executive Board President, and current Ambassador of Egypt in Rome, Hisham Badr.
The delegation also visited one of the 120 flagship ‘Community Hubs’ developed jointly by the Ministry of Education and WFP. The ‘Community Hubs’ model involves transforming community schools (one-classroom, multi-grade schools) with technological tools and internet connectivity. This allows them to serve as “knowledge hubs” promoting digital learning and acting as knowledge-sharing platforms for the community at large.
The visit concluded with a tour of the ‘Luxor Coordination Centre for Knowledge Sharing and Innovation to Promote Resilience in Upper Egypt’. The Centre, managed jointly by the Government and WFP, supports the 2030 Agenda and national developmental priorities through the exchange of best practices and innovations among Government and development entities. Among the Center’s services, an online platform was established highlighting Egypt’s successful development practices.
“The Government of Egypt and WFP have established a very strong foundation of development work that has proven effective and sustainable in empowering vulnerable communities economically and socially. I am confident that with the support of our donors and partners that we’ll be able to expand these successful interventions further,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt Menghestab Haile.