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International Resources Group (IRG)

Livelihood and Income From the Environment (LIFE) Program in Sinai – North Sinai/Al-Arish

The primary goal of the LIFE Sinai Program (5 August 2008  to 31 July  2011) is to assist poorer Bedouin communities in the Central Sinai area through a comprehensive development approach aimed at improving the livelihoods of selected villages and settlements in a manner that is appropriate to the local culture. As a subcontractor to International Resources Group (IRG), ENTRUST is fielding long-term and short-term experts and is responsible for several key tasks including: conducting socio-economic surveys, community needs assessments; the development and approval of community development plans; SME development, assisting the program's fast track interventions, providing technical assistance to a community development grant program, and institutional development.

A series of strategic planning workshops were facilitated by ENTRUST team in November and December 2009 to gain a consensus on the work plan. A Project Cycle Management (PCM) paradigm was selected using a Results-Based Management (RBM) approach. Participants from North Sinai Governorate, local councils, CDAs reps, and Bedouin community leaders of both genders were instructed on how to utilize problem tree analysis, leading to a results framework, interventions and activities, and selection of valid indicators. Based on the strategic planning, ENTRUST team developed implementation plans for Vocational Training, Women’s Handicrafts, and Olive Sector Development Tasks.

1- Vocational Training

The objective of this Task was designed to provide training and employment for especially youths. To this end, ENTRUST conducted a labor/skills market assessment in Central Sinai to address skills gap.  The assessment covered the supply and demand of labor/skills by the private sector, and the supply of training skills by vocational training and education institutes and centers. Consequently, service providers were selected for short-term vocational training on mobile repair, auto mechanical, housing electricity, and carpentry.
As part of the outreach plan, a series of meetings and focus group discussions were organized with the target groups to introduce the intervention and its benefits, and to assess needs, priorities, interests, roles and expectations.
Candidates for training were identified through Community Development Associations and community leaders in Central Sinai.
However, due to the instability occurring in the region, only the mobile repair training was accomplished. To help them become self-reliant and micro-entrepreneurs, trainees received tool kits for mobile maintenance at the end of the training.

2- Women’s Handicrafts

The objective of this Task is to design and co-partner interventions in order to assist in the facilitation of women’s handicraft activities in low-income Bedouin communities. In this context, ENTRUST team conducted several interviews and focus groups with around 15 women producers, both Nekhel and Hassana districts in Central Sinai to introduce LIFE training program and to gain a better understanding of their needs and interests. Furthermore, an institutional assessment was conducted for CDAs to identify priority capacity gaps that needed to be addressed. Based on findings, a comprehensive multi-stage training program for sewing and embroidery was designed and delivered to target women. Training engaged the selected CDAs to guarantees the continuance of activities after the duration of the Program. Nevertheless, a product/market analysis was undertaken by ENTRUST team to identify market potential for the handicrafts products, and examine the women producers’ skills and training needs, in order to provide them how to market their own product.

3- Olive Sector Development

The objective of this task was to facilitate the extension of the cultivated area, together with improving production, harvesting and marketing efficiency, in order to significantly increase income returns to the existing small farmers as well as create new livelihoods.
In order to assess the value chain of the olive oil sub sector in North Sinai, with a strong emphasis on central Sinai, namely, the two provinces, El Hasana and Nekhel, ENTRUST - using gender sensitive mapping - conducted a series of semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews with farmers, traders, large, medium and small-scale olive processors and governmental representatives. Based on results, ENTRUST developed strategies to overcome the identified constraints and challenges to increase agricultural productivity, and strengthen horizontal and vertical linkages, the business enabling environment and entrepreneurship working towards increasing farmer’s income, contributing to poverty alleviation and improving the socio-economic environment. Accordingly, extension events and training packages were initiated in both provinces.



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