Representatives from the Egyptian Decent Life initiative celebrating the Big 5 award (photo courtesy of Al-Ahram Arabic news gate)
The Egyptian presidential Decent Life initiative won the Community of the Future prize granted by the Big 5 Impact Awards, the state-owned Arab Contractors Company, one of the participants in the initiative, announced on Sunday.
The Big 5 Impacts Awards, an international platform to recognise innovation and project excellence in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, assessed a number of projects implemented by companies from several countries, including the UAE and the US.
The Arab Contractors Company is the first Egyptian body to be named for the prize, which was handed out at a ceremony in the UAE.
Decent Life, meaning Hayah Karima in Arabic, comprisesa series of countryside-focused national infrastructure projects. It was first initiated in 2019 by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who tasked the Ministry of Social Solidarity with developing Egypt’s poorest 1,000 villages.
In December 2020, El-Sisi expanded the initiative to include 4,500 villages within the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt's Vision 2030.
“The Egyptian countryside will be transformed in three years’ time,” El-Sisi said in January upon launching the expanded initiative.
The national project’s budget has been increased to around EGP 600 billion.
The enormous volume of work required to develop the 4,500 villages means they have been divided into three groups of 1,500 villages each.
The first phase started in January 2021 with a budget of nearly EGP 200 billion and is due to be completed by the end of FY 2021-22.
The initiative also addresses women through family guidance and counselling offices and reproductive health clinics. It will provide decent housing in new complexes and, wherever possible, develop existing housing.
In terms of education services, the initiative is building 13,000 classrooms, while health services will be enhanced by developing health units, constructing new hospitals, and activating the new Universal Health Insurance System.