Integrated Development Project in Siwa
Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements located in the heart of western desert of Egypt. Having 23,000 inhabitants where the majority are Berbers, Siwa citizens still follow traditional customs especially those related to gender inequity. Hence, it was essential to adopt various radical ICT for Development interventions in order to effectively reach out the target groups especially severely marginalized women.
Working with a vision of enabling remote communities though providing access to essential services, ICT trust fund initiated a comprehensive model for enhancing such marginalized area through utilizing ICTs in cross- sector developmental fields.
The Integrated ICT for Development program has innovatively implemented a number of interventions using a lot of highly customized applications toward women empowerment, the enhancement of the children’s health status, modernizing education, and increasing employability in Siwa Oasis.
For more information
Pillars of “Integrated Development Project” related to women:
1- ICT for Illiteracy Eradication
In Siwa Oasis, customs and traditions forced young girls to drop out of schools and stay at homes at early ages. Also these same customs prevented women from leaving home to go to Illiteracy Eradication classes. The program developed a new innovative ICT solution “the Tabluter” to reach out girls and women in their own homes and teach them about daily-life issues, how to read and write in Arabic and build their knowledge.
The Tabluter is a customized ergonomic embedded computer on a tableya which constitutes customized comfortable embedded single CPU that runs for four independent users. Tabluter is the program most radical intervention created specially to eradicate Siwian women illiteracy without breaking any social taboos. The ICT tools success is attributed to the following:
For more information
- It Works from homes, women regularly trained on IE official curricula, basic IT knowledge, and general awareness modules.
- The e-content is directed towards raising general awareness on everyday activities including health, education, political rights, environment, and family care, in a way that improves these women ability to deal with every day challenge.
- It has proved to have the potential of significantly increasing women’s skills and enhancing their abilities to employ ICTs to empower themselves towards better employment opportunities, higher income and welfare of lifestyle.
- It is worth mentioning here that after the 1st training round, all Trainers, especially women, were hired.
- Some Siwan women have educated others like Bahia El Said who succeeded not only to duplicate the training on more than 300 women in the Siwan community but also to inspire them to play a more effective role in the development of the Siwan community.
2- ICT for Micro/Small and Medium Enterprises (M/SMEs)
The Integrated ICT for Development program was created to enable local people to create economic opportunities for themselves through ICTs, and promote local marketing products on the internet.
This would lead to the recognition of Siwa products in local, regional and international markets. Siwa Shop is an E-Market Portal aims at promoting SIWA Products on-line in order to enlarge the virtual marketplace of the M/SM Enterprises established in SIWA. www.kenanaonline.com/siwa .
ICT Trust Fund designed an “E-Marketing Portal” which allows the trained M/SMEs to handle the various stages of product design, quality control and marketing via the internet and promote their products online.
The portal provides them with the chance to enhance their skills as well as expand their markets through the use of technology as a tool, which will reflect on their economic benefits. Moreover, this enhancement includes the ability to make the Web Space more like a catalogue with categories and photo listings. It also allows the publication of a newsletter whereby each SME will be able to keep up a list of its opt-in customers emails to keep them informed about new services or products.
Using Siwa E-shop contributes to achieve the following impact in Siwa community:
For more information
- Developing small and medium enterprise (SMEs) sector and enhancing job opportunities in Siwa and opens many prospects for entrepreneurs and SMEs in Siwa; especially for women entrepreneurs.
- It has a positive impact on gender gap through facilitating the engagement of women in the labor market and women’s empowerment and capacity building in numerous ways related activities require essentially intellectual abilities rather than physical abilities and also allow for more flexible working conditions, women could enjoy comparative advantage when compared to men.
- It provides Swian entrepreneurs with greater and wider market access, better information and cost-effective means to promote businesses by eliminating the cost of middleman in the process of selling local products.
- Through technical support efforts and capacity training program delivered from the local NGO (SEDEC), there were 1000 Siwan SMEs owners who has begun to market their products online since the launching of the portal earlier in 2010.
- Such ICT tools open up new era for women as they enable them to work from homes while utilizing flexible working hours and the privilege of their location. This could potentially improve women status in the labor market and mitigate employment gender gaps, yet each has its relative limitations.