center development services

Human Capital Development

The advent of 'Arab Spring' in 2010 and the associated far-reaching political reforms are generating renewed interests in the norms and values of citizen participation and civic action that CDS has been promoting since 1990. In a region attempting a transition to democracy, CDS is focusing on introducing creative programs addressing the emerging economic, social, cultural, and political challenges facing Arab nations and building a solid base for successful transition. These programs seek to increase the civic public realm into grasping democratic principles and practices, fostering relations among public-civil-private organizations, and generating opportunities for young men and women that draw on their inspiration and remarkable enthusiasm to rebuild their communities and nation.

The Human Capital Development program focuses on men, women
and youth investing in their skills,personal and professional abilities,
knowledge, and education, for the purpose of increasing their employment opportunities,

The Program comprises four thematic areas:

  • Learning and Earning Connections: focuses on sensitizing vocational education and tailoring training towards labour market needs.
  • Support of Youth Development for Civic Action: includes active engagement of youth in shaping development initiatives, equity and sustainability, intrinsic aspects of human rights, and their freedom to lead the lives that they value the most.
  • Enhancing Women Participation and Role in the Society: addresses passive participation of women and enhances their capacity to engage in politics to catalyze democracy and minimize gender gaps.
  • Institutional Capacity Development and Knowledge Production: supports local NGO's and civil society organizations in developing their capacity to make a positive contribution to strengthen society.

The program adopts a so called 'Area-Based Programming' approach, fosters participatory approaches that build on the competitive advantage of specific communities and mobilizes them towards local action and self reliance. Examples of these approaches are: Collaborative Community Action (CCA) and Assets-Based Community Development (ABCD), as well as the well known Local Economic Development (LED) Approach

The inclusion of disadvantaged groups, who are more prone than others to exclusion and discrimination; i.e. women, poor, youth, street children and working children, is an important aim of the projects implemented within this program.

Following are some of the landmark projects of CDS in the field of Human Capital Development

Program theme:Learning and Earning Connections
+ Supporting Youth Micro-Businesses, Human Concern International
The 12 month project funded youth who own micro-business in poor and marginalized areas in Egypt to assess the impact of the deteriorating economic situation on them and losses incurred. After passing through a rigorous businesses selection phase, projects to sponsored were selected based on their viability in the market, number of employment opportunities they provide or could potentially provide, prospects for future expansion, innovation, and soundness of business plan.

A total of three to five micro-businesses were provided with affordable microcredit and technical assistance. Established microenterprises will be based on mentored ownership; where entrepreneurs will own their businesses over time through an earn out after 75% of their loans will be paid off.

There is no particular geographical coverage at the pilot phase, selection of businesses depended on a pre-set of criteria including: the business has been established for at least two years, at least employs one individual, commercial registration and taxation certificate, the loan will add value to the business in terms of expansion in equipment, entry of new markets, application of a new idea/product, or provides new employment opportunities to others. (2011-2012)
+ Azizeya Local Economic Development, Barclays
This recently started project responds directly to the need expressed by El Azizeya community in terms of employment creation for youth and local economic development. El Azizeya village has for long been engaged in specific industries such as date production, carpentry production, weaving of beehives, carpet making, agricultural activities and animal husbandry.

However these industries are not well developed and there is limited access to locally, national and export markets.
There is no local marketplace at the village to sell the produce nor for the inhabitants to purchase their basic household goods. The space for a local marketplace is available, yet the capital required to build the market place is not available within the community.

The establishment of a market place, with space for 21 business, will not only fill the gap in the terms of access to markets locally, it will also promote development of new trading business and provide an estimate of 70 employment opportunities for the village youth. The project also supports new and existing local Agri-Businesses and Traditional Crafts producers to increase their competitiveness and facilitate their entrance to national and export markets and through this business development generate 150 job opportunities. (2011-2012)
+ Promoting and protecting the Interest of children who work, Partners in Technology Exchange
The main goal of this CDS project, funded by CIDA through Partners in Technology Exchange, was to improve the living conditions of working children, and prevent child labor. In order to achieve the project's goal, four community-based initiatives were pursued.

1- The transformation of dangerous jobs into safe jobs which resulted in 86 internships for children who were previously working in hazardous jobs. In addition to this a coalition of 400 children who work was formed, 40 of them were elected by their peers to represent them in the coalition.

2- The rehabilitation of working children and their well-being. The health and social awareness program as part of this second initiative targeted 400 women, 70 child workers and 50 working girls.

3- The provision of micro-creditto families of child workers in smelters and scrap metal. 320 women received a micro-loans that helped them establish small business initiatives to generate income for them and their families. The fourth initiative was the design and establishment of a pioneer pilot center to sort and store the scrap in a safe environment. This project was implemented under the umbrella of the Ministry of State for Family and Population, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood; with the participation of "Qalyoubia" governorate, and a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies in the city of Shubra al-Khaima. (2009-2011)

Program theme:Support of Youth Development for Civic Action
+ Creating & Developing the Egyptian Volunteer Center , Ford Foundation
With the support of the Ford Foundation CDS created the first volunteer center in Egypt within the Cairo-based 'Youth Association for Population and Development'. The principal aim of the Egyptian Volunteer Center (EVC) was to promote voluntarism among the youth and provide volunteers to support development projects. The project addressed the 'supply' of volunteers, increasing the number of young men and women wanting to volunteer, and the 'demand' for volunteers, encouraging organizations to use volunteers. The EVC matched the volunteers' interests, skills, and time availability with a volunteering opportunities through a computer database specifically designed for this purpose.

Its first phase began in June 2001 to mobilize youth to view voluntarism as a means to bring value in their lives and their communities'. The second phase of the project was launched in June 2003 and aimed at replicating the EVC model in 50 other youth centers in eight Egyptian governorates, as well as developing a manual on volunteer management mainly targeting non-governmental organizations that involve youth in their work.

At the end of the project in 2006, 263 youth center in 24 Governorates were partners with the EVC; and the EVC database included 4,341 volunteers, 2,436 males and 1,905 females, and 386 organizations with the interest to use volunteers. (2001-2006)
+ Youth Driven Development for Marginalized Communities, World Bank
The aim of this World Bank-funded project was to promote the concept and practices of Youth Driven Development in the Governorates of Cairo, Giza and Assuit through the creation of 'employment window' initiatives within three Youth Centers in the targeted areas.

These initiatives were sought to connect young people with potential employers from the private sector, educate and train them on job search-related skills, develop a database of the unemployed, and cerate accordingly employment opportunities within the private sector. The implementation strategy of the project relied on working on three distinctive levels in the community to increase their awareness regarding the role of youth in development, and means of implementing this role. (2004)
+ Participatory Rapid Appraisal for the Youth Initiatives Project, Human Concern International
CDS conducted a Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) training for youth targeted by the Youth Initiative Project in Lebanon sponsored by Human Concern International (HCI). The training course was designed to provide participants with conceptual knowledge and skills on Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) techniques in order to apply them in the assessment of the community needs of El Naba'a area, in the Bourj Hammoud District in Lebanon.

The general purpose of the training was to enhance the capabilities of participants to use PRA techniques in determining local community needs and implementing community-oriented initiatives by the youth themselves. (2010)

Program theme: Enhancing Women Participation and Role in the Society
+ Young Women Leadership Program, USAID
CDS implemented this program funded by USAID in partnership with Microsoft and Barclays aimed to foster a new generation of young women, who are informed and equipped with the skills, confidence, and experience to assume leadership roles in the Egyptian society.

The program was carried out in corporation with six local NGO's in the governorates of El-Minnya, Beni Suef, and Cairo. CDS developed the capacity of these NGO's to implement the project and provided sub-grants to the NGO's to establish IT-equipped Community Resource Centers. The program comprised of a knowledge acquisition phase and a skill application phase. The young women acquired knowledge on a variety of topics
such as information and communication technology, English, interpersonal skills and women's rights through a nine-month leadership and advocacy training program.

This was followed by a skills application phase were the participants developed their skills through the implementation of their own community initiatives. Towards the end of the project, participants were able to run for seats in local municipal councils and participate effectively in decision making processes. (2007-2009)
+ HER project: Improving Working Women's Health in Industrial Factories, Levi Strauss Foundation/ Business Social Responsibility
The HER project is a joint program between Levi Strauss Foundation, Business Social Responsibility (BSR), and the USAID-affiliated Extended Service Delivery project, implemented in a number of countries including Egypt. This project aims to improve women's working and health conditions in Egyptian Industries through a pioneering model of employers' sensitization, awareness creation, and peer-to-peer education.

A pilot phase of this project currently implemented by CDS in three Levi's' factories and is targeting around 5500 female factory workers. It is believed that the project will yield increased productivity and Returns On Investment of female workers as well as reduce staff turnover and absenteeism.

The project will create awareness among employers and female workers that would ultimately lead to behavioral changes towards occupational health and industrial safety and provides business case of investing in women's labor rights. (2009-2011)

+ Catalytic Role of Women in Environmental Governance, World Bank
The main goal of this World Bank-funded project was to empower 'rural women' with the necessary knowledge and tools to play a more active and participatory role in environmental monitoring and governance. CDS implemented this project in participation with community groups and other stakeholders in three selected communities in three different governorates in Egypt (Sohag , Beheira , and El-Minnya.

With support of CDS stakeholders identifying key issues and designed and carried out community-based interventions. At the end of the project a self-evaluation was facilitated. 'Participation' and 'Collaboration' represented the key guiding themes and framework through which the project's implementation was carried forward.

The community initiatives varied from one place to another. While in Beheira, the initiatives revolved around creating a scheme for the collection and removal of garbage around the water canal that crosses the village, the initiatives in Sohag were centered on the removal of the long-lived polluted water tanks serving residents as well as domestic animals, and the re-use of the vacant spaces after their removal. El-Minnya, on the other hand, embarked on seven initiatives simultaneously to overcome problems of frequent potable water cut offs experience by the village, collect the widespread garbage on the village's streets, minimize leaks of domestic water through fixing water pipes and valves problems, and raise awareness of residents, particularly children, on the importance of water conservation and cleanliness. (2005)

Program theme: Institutional Capacity Development and Knowledge Production
+ Resource Mobilization Guidebook, Canadian International Development and Research Center
CDS is translating and adapting the Resource Mobilization Guidebook published by the Canadian International Development and Research Center (IDRC). The adapted Guidebook aims to serve and address the resource mobilization needs of community-based development research organizations in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The book is a comprehensive toolkit that guides community based organizations through the process of resource mobilization and thoroughly directs the efforts of these organizations to reach available resources and mobilize funds. The Guidebook enables community-based organizations to plan their resource mobilization activities in a mission-driven manner that is responsive to their local context, as well as improves their fundraising-related communication.

The case studies provide successful experiences and best practices of other similar organizations in the region.

The book will be of great value for research and community based organizations to sustain their programs and interventions. (2011)
+ Integrating Gender in Water Resource Management, Alliance for Arab Women
The Alliance for Arab Women approached CDS to conduct a qualitative and quantitative situational analysis for women's participation in ten different Water Users' Associations in Fayoum governorate, as well as design training manuals on the means of integrating gender in water resource management. CDS produced two training manuals on gender mainstreaming in Water Users' Associations.

The first was a manual targeting professionals at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, while the second targeted the members of the Water Users' Associations. In addition to this, a TOT was conducted on how to effectively use these manuals. (2010)
+ Asset-Based, Citizen-Driven Development Action Research, Ford Foundation
This research project, conducted in partnership with the Coady Institute in Canada, aimed at documenting and analyzing the complementary policies and institutional environments for asset-based and citizen-driven development. The research design followed the general principles of an explanatory case study whereby multiple sources of evidence were drawn upon to assess the relative strength of, and relationship between, the different explanatory factors.

Two publication, in both English and Arabic, were produced as result of the research. A publication documenting successful community development case studies and a toolkit for intermediary organizations to assist in planning, managing and evaluating development processes that are asset-based and community-driven. In the publication asset-based and citizen-driven development was outlined as an analytical framework or 'lens' from which to examine and interpret the case studies..

A web-based learning network of individuals and organizations interested in asset-based and citizen-driven development was also established. (2003-2005)
+ The Development of Civil Society Index, World Alliance for Citizen's Participation
In this project CDS gathered information and input on the state of civil society in Egypt from a broad range of civil society representatives, citizens, experts and researchers. Under a comprehensive framework of 72 indicators, the data gathered was analyzed and summarized in a visual graph called 'the Civil Society Diamond'. This graph was drawn around four critically important dimensions of civil society namely; 'structure', 'environment', 'values' and 'impact'.

This study was conducted in Egypt for the World Alliance for Citizen's Participation , as part of a wider study being conducted across several countries in the world. The aim was two-fold.

1. to create a body of knowledge about the characteristics, roles and impact of civil society in governance and development. This to inform the strategies and activities of the national and international community in advancing rights-based development and people's empowerment.

2. to provide opportunities for civil society actors to come together to discuss and reflect on the current state of civil society and the challenges it faces as well as to jointly develop priorities for the future. (2003-2005)