The project “Entrepreneurship and Job Orientation for Egyptians returning from Libya” is one of the very few initiatives led by an Egyptian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to address the social and economic challenges of Egyptians returning from Libya as More than 650,000 Egyptian returned since 2012. Most of them live in rural communities and suffer from unemployment and hard living conditions.
Over two years, El-Mahrousa has been leading The project “Entrepreneurship and Job Orientation for Egyptians returning from Libya” that provides job-orientation, business development services, legal aid and social support to Egyptian returnees from Libya and their families. El-Mahrousa PDS was one of the very organizations that utilized the approach “economic empowerment for sustainable rehabilitation” to alleviate poverty and trauma facing returnees from Libya who faced risky situation due to instability and lack of security. The project didn’t only realized concrete results such as the number of job opportunities and businesses created but it also brought about behavioral change among the target returnees and their families. They dared to challenge their poor situation by learning and take the risk to start-up businesses, or change their community perception regarding the blue caller work. Their families supported the returnees by learning how to start-up small businesses, or joining social protection nets or have the courage to seek the support from local authorities as a right not as a charity. Many of those returnees were engaged in dialogue with government officers and local authorities. They dared to challenge those representatives and gave presentations about their cases and the challenges they are facing in Egypt to start-up businesses or to shift their careers. It is highly believed by them that without participating in the training workshops and/or orientation sessions, it would be difficult for them to talk with government representatives in strong manner and logical ways.
The project aimed to address the social and economic challenges of Egyptians returning from Libya and selected 1322 returnees to provide them with training and orientation for job-matching or entrepreneurship schemes. The selected group received three training sessions on how to start-up business, labor standards, the overview of current Egyptian labor market and how to overcome potential risks in business. On the other hand, 1154 families (915 female members and 203 male members) were reached to provide them with legal aid and know-how guidance regarding the available social protections schemes in governmental and nongovernmental organizations so they can receive social and financial subsidies such as being enrolled in Takafwal and Karama program. The overall results are beyond the planned ones as 1322 participants joined the first level of the training program compared to 1200 targeted, 53 new businesses and 347 job opportunities compared to 300 targeted for the two categories, 1154 families raised their awareness regarding social protection nets (915 female participants and 203 male participants) compared to 860 families.
The results were higher than the targeted for many reasons: (1) El-Mahrousa used lower-cost interventions compared to other projects and that helped to reach out more targeted groups than the planned ones; (2) our project was one of the very few activities that have targeted the Egyptian returnees from Libya and their families through economic empowerment therefore thousands of the targeted groups applied to join the project; (3) the selected communities particularly in Minya and Fayoum are characterized by poverty and ignorance. Not many NGOs are there and communities are in need of development interventions.