The UK allocated £1.8 million through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Egypt in order to support social protection advocacy by the country's social solidarity ministry for the most vulnerable families in society, a statement by the British embassy in Cairo read on Tuesday.
“The partnership aims to support the most vulnerable families, improve their livelihoods and enhance accessibility of vulnerable groups to improved social care and welfare services through introducing a comprehensive awareness program to increase the vulnerable families’ accessibility to social protection and economic empowerment services,” the statement said.
The statement also mentioned that the awareness program addresses behavior change on issues related to positive practices in terms of protection from COVID-19, the protection of girls from traditional discriminatory practices, the value of education, and good health practices for deprived groups within the society.
The British embassy said that the social solidarity ministry was playing an instrumental role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis in Egypt.
“The new partnership will also support the expansion of the present comprehensive social protection awareness and advocacy programme ‘Waai’ that focuses on enhancing awareness and knowledge of the vulnerable groups on social protection services,” the statement said.
The British embassy stated that the new cooperation would focus on enhancing institutional capacities within the ministry and the National Center for Social and Criminological Research (NCSCR), affiliated with the ministry, to establish a Social Protection Research Platform to cater to the ministry’s research needs.
“Increasing the accessibility of vulnerable groups to evidence-based awareness messages falls in the heart of social protection strategies, thus ministry has placed the 'Waai' programme for community development on top of its priorities,” the Minister of Social Solidarity Nevin Al-Qabbaj is quoted in the statement.
The minister added that the ministry would promote its comprehensive awareness vision through diverse tools such as mainstreaming messages among social workers on the ground through introducing digital targeted solutions to enhance awareness among youth and finally through consolidated partnerships with national partners and civil society organizations.
“All over the world, international organisations, private companies, and NGOs are working together to reduce the economic impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people, including through targeted support to protect low-income families," the British Ambassador to Egypt, Sir Geoffrey Adams, was quoted in the statement.
The ambassador added that the UK was proud to support the launch of this programme with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the UNDP, which will strengthen the Ministry’s efforts to address the challenges Egypt faces.
UNDP Egypt Resident Representative Randa Aboul-Hosn also stated that the timeliness and significance of the partnership is to ensure that the most vulnerable are not to be left behind, especially amidst the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Egypt has already developed the largest Social Safety Net (SSN) system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with a cash transfer programme that now reaches more than three and half million households, and 11 million beneficiaries that provides vital basic income protection for the poorest and most vulnerable.
“The new partnership is set to ensure that this safety net continues to be operative and sustainable, while reaching people living in marginalized areas across Egypt.” the embassy added.