European Union and Egypt sign two new strategic 
Financing Agreements

By: Mohamed Adel
Cairo – Within the European Union's (EU) cooperation framework in Egypt, Ambassador James Moran, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, will be signing two new strategic Financing Agreements of cooperation between the EU and Egypt: "Expanding Access to Education and Protection of at Risk Children" and the "Kafr El Sheikh Wastewater Expansion Programme".

The Signing Ceremony will take place at the Ministry of International Cooperation in the presence of Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Mostafa Madbouli, Minister of Housing, and Dr. El-Helaly El-Sherbeeny, Minister of Education, on Thursday morning 10th of December 2015.

The "Expanding Access to Education and Protection of at Risk Children" project aims to increase access to primary quality community-based education to children in the age group 6 to 14 and will contribute to improve the learning outcomes of the most vulnerable and socially excluded. The EU funded project will help set up 1,200 community schools in disadvantaged Egyptian governorates with the lowest enrolment rates. These schools will target an estimated 30,000 out-of-school and most vulnerable children in the age group 6 to 14. The project will further equip 200 public schools for the inclusion of 6,000 children with disabilities. 

All children attending these 200 schools – a total of about 100,000 will directly benefit from the improved quality of teaching and school environment under this project.

In the area of child protection, the project will strengthen the "Child Protection Committees" or "CPC", which represent the backbone of Egypt's child protection mechanism. CPC will be strengthened, among others, through the establishment of direct links with Government and non-government service providers; pilot child protection services financed by the EU will allow the expansion of the concept of "model services", in line with international best practices in this field.

The total budget of this project amounts to EUR 36.15 million, with an EU financing of EUR 30 million. The programme will be implemented by the UNICEF, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, as well as an important group of national and local partners.

As for the second agreement, the "Kafr El Sheikh Wastewater Expansion Programme" has been designed to improve the quality of irrigation water in the governorate. This will contribute to increasing health standards for local residents and the environmental quality of the Nile, Lake Burullus, and the Mediterranean Sea at large. The total cost of this strategic project is estimated at EUR 164 million and the total EU contribution amounts to EUR 32 million in grants. The remaining amount is covered by loans provided by the EIB and EBRD.

The project supports the construction of new wastewater treatment plants and first time full wastewater collection networks in the Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, and will ensure their proper operation once they are in place. Ambassador Moran said "the project seeks to improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands Egyptians and is a remarkable example of how local and international partners can join forces and resources". He noted that, in total, an impressive 500,000 inhabitants of the Kafr El Sheikh Governorate are estimated to directly benefit from the wastewater treatment plants and collection networks that will be provided by this project

The project is expected to create 37,000 jobs during its planning and construction phase and 1,400 permanent jobs for the operation of the new infrastructure once established. The Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW) representing the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development is the local partner of this project, whose direct beneficiary is the Kafr El Sheikh Water Supply and Sanitation Company (KSWSSC).

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