Winners of the fourth edition of the Excellence Award from the Professional Development Foundation (PDF) were honoured in a celebration at the Giza Pyramids earlier this week under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
The annual award aims at promoting NGOs who contribute to solving the problems of society.
The winner of the first prize, valued at LE150,000, was Konouz Al-Bardawil of the Association for Comprehensive Development in North Sinai. The award was granted for the association’s project to increase the quality of fish and reduce marine hazards in Al-Bardawil Lake.
In second place came the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Hearing-Impaired in Cairo. The LE100,000 award was given to Nidaa Association for the Rehabilitation of Deaf Children for their efforts with children with hearing and visual needs.
Giza’s Association of Friends of the National Heart Institute won third place and LE75,000 for “Better Job Opportunity for a Better Life”. The Bedaya Association for Charity in Giza came fourth with LE50,000 for providing children’s incubators.
PDF is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1998 by Egypt’s private sector with the aim of creating a tech-oriented and skilled workforce that could confront the needs of the new century and bolster Egypt’s sustainable economic growth.
“Each year, the theme of the award is announced and contenders included in the long list are selected based on several criteria, including the diversity of topics to ensure the perpetual support for the efforts of excellence in various development fields,” Mohamed Hafiz, chairman of the board of PDF, said.
For the first time, PDF presented the award for the best association to raise awareness. The award went to Bedaya which was presented the prize at the celebration attended by NGOs representatives, development experts, and public figures interested in development projects.
Such NGOs, Hafiz said, are the most vital medium to activate development programmes in Egypt’s villages. The themes of the award focus on projects from across the development spectrum to shed light on innovative experiments and successful projects that positively influence people’s lives.
“That the circle of people benefiting from projects launched by NGOs widens is one of the objectives of the PDF award in addition to improving the capacity of civil society institutions and exchanging experiences to find solutions to problems facing social development,” he added.
Since its launch in 2016, more than 800 NGOs participated in the PDF competition. In 2019, over 300 NGOs applied to take part, and only 13 civil society associations made it to the final round. “The figures are proof that NGOs are continuously working to develop and expand their projects to help the state provide the humanitarian, social and economic needs of society,” Hafiz said.
“PDF focuses on activating civil work in human resources development, and training and qualifying youth for the labour market. The foundation runs programmes for women's empowerment and leading managers through cooperation with governmental organisations and companies to improve people’s lives, especially of those in Upper Egypt. PDF is part of the ‘Dignified Life’ initiative launched by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to improve the lives of people in the poorest villages, train young people, make available housing, and provide job opportunities,” the foundation’s chairman said.
Hafiz added that PDF also aims at assisting NGOs to improve their performance and work in a sustainable manner according to available resources, and help them qualify to receive funds and grants. He noted that some NGOs may qualify to receive billions in pounds but that the absence of an organisational and institutional framework prevents them from actually receiving the funds.
“There are 56,000 registered NGOs in Egypt, but only about 1,000 of them are functioning on the ground. This poor performance is the result of the absence of managerial structures and qualified cadres to which funding is tightly associated.”
Besides its interest in the sustainable development of workers, PDF has trained, over the past 12 years, more than 230 NGOs in 22 governorates on financial systems, automations and resource support.
In 2009, PDF established the Civil Society Support Centre to support the development and institutional capacity building of NGOs to foster a dynamic and sustainable civil society. The centre offers practical and theoretical trainings and technical support to enhance NGOs’ organisational capacities and to help them operate in a more sustainable and effective manner.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 12 March, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly