2012 | Road EL-Farag Project | Initiative for Integrated Community Development | Egypt

Egyptians still remember what it felt like, in the aftermath of the 18 days of the January 25 - February 11 revolution, walking in the streets looking at smiling faces of complete strangers who seemed like close friends. “I remember stopping a street vendor and asking him to take away some trash he left behind explaining that we had a responsibility towards the city and he immediately obeyed feeling no grudge and even agreeing warmly”, said Dr. Zeinab ElSanabary, a strong willed lady and a leading Ophthalmologist with tears in her eyes that did not dare to roll down. Similar stories are told all over the place comparing a moment of utter utopian perfection to a chaotic present.

The team gathered to work on structuring Rod el Farag initiative is a cross functional team of development professionals, urban developers and concerned citizens who understand perfectly that a revolution is not an act of immediate change but a glorious inauguration to a long process of growth and maturity. Being experienced professionals each in his/ her own field means to them that they have a responsibility to act towards such a goal.

The choice to work with the residents of Rod El Farag a neighborhood at the heart of Cairo is a conscious choice knowing that what created the utopian euphoria at a moment of time is the fact that people were empowered and had a strong sense of ownership of their own country and their own destiny. Thereby, they acted responsibly. This sense of ownership and freedom of choice can be restored and restructured by supporting people to explore their capabilities and to make better use of their existing assets in order to rebuild their environs and their lives. In effect The World Bank’s World Development Report 2000/1, Attacking Poverty, advances similar arguments noting that the combat against poverty is most effective when people have the opportunity to decide for themselves, are empowered and feel secure (Lustig & Stern 2001).

The visibility and centrality of the area, is meant to send a strong message of empowerment and inspiration to the wider population as they observe the process of transformation in the physical environment along with the growth of the human capital. The process should develop integrated business models and should also create positive political engagement.

Project Team

From Left:

Hana Fahmy - Gihan Sharkawy - Azza Koura - Tayseer Khairy - Amir Gohar - Olfa Tantawi - Zeinab El Sanabary

About The Project

The community development initiative is targeting Rod el Farag quarter, a disadvantaged old locality resting immediately at the rear of a glamorous touristic neighborhood overlooking the Nile shores with a number of deluxe hotels.

The main objective is to turn the locality into a socially and economically integrated community by making proper linkages between its residents and the surrounding commercial, business, and touristic neighborhoods to maximize the benefit for all stakeholders and to empower a communal growth towards sustainable development.

The restoration and upgrading of this particular locality could be an opportunity for a neighboring booming tourism industry to have an attractive historic old town right at its doorsteps. Shoring up, instead of bulldozing the area and the small industries, crafts and trade, will add to its attraction and viability..

A multi layered participatory approach will be used in order to ensure ownership and long-term sustainability. The initiative is employing an innovative integrative approach with government support aligned with the needs of the local community and is reaching out to the neighboring businesses, in order to have the full participation of all stakeholders wherein social, environmental and financial benefits are all achievable at the same time.

The course of action should eventually assist the residents to make better decisions on their own, and improve their quality of lives economically, socially, environmentally, and culturally.

The Area

The following are some pictures taken from the area shwoing the diversity of the community and the cultural landscape of Road el-Farag:

The Location

Being right at the Nile bank and adjacent to downtown Cairo provides an opportunty to upgrade the area and make use of the resourceful location, the map below shows the location of Road el-Farag in the city of Cairo:

Project Organization Chart

Programme Objective

The main objective is to turning Al Adaweya community into a socially and economically integrated business unit by making proper linkages between all stakeholders: Al Adaweya residents and the surrounding commercial business and touristic neighborhoods to maximize the benefit for all and to empower a communal growth towards sustainable development .

This can be achieved by:

Establishing an arts and culture community center to host community-based activities targeting to educate and train the residents and the youth through arts.

Upgrading the physical environment of the neighborhood with a focus on the restoration and maintenance of the historic old architecture

Creating awareness among the residents of the historical, cultural and potentially economic value of their old buildings and the neighborhood

Creating awareness among the neighboring tourism industry of the potential benefits of the upgrading plans to their investments and involve them in supporting these plans.

Establishing a communal mechanism of decision making where by the residents and the different stakeholders jointly decide the future of their neighborhood.

Enhancing and upgrading the local artisans’ skills and link them to high end markets as well as train them to acquire new competencies in addressing the needs of potential markets

Introducing a micro-finance program to stimulate the development of enterprise with emphasis on the arts, crafts and culture fields

Introducing, in collaboration with the neighboring tourism industry and the private sector, new employment and income generating opportunities, with special focus on empowering women.

Improving the teaching and learning process in the school at the locality and improve the physical conditions of the school and it’s building

Establishing a legal assistance and legal mediation unit to assist the residents in settling ownership and rent disputes and to help them with government permissions and legal procedures to introduce necessary physical changes in the district.

If you are interested to know more,click herefor complete and detailed information about the project

روض الفرج

استلهمت ثورة الخامس والعشرين من يناير قدرة المصريين على استرداد ارادتهم المسلوبة للانتماء الى وطنهم ليس فقط الوطن الام "مصر " ولكن مجتمعاتهم الصغيرة والشعور بالمسؤولية نحو هذا المجتمع لجعله أفضل بصور شتى ...اجتمع فريق عمل اربانكس والذى ضم العديد من المهنينين ليس فقط فى مجال التطوير العمرانى والتنمية وانما أفراد تعوزهم المسؤولية ويدفعهم ايمانهم بأن التغيير عملية طويلة الاجل تمر بمراحل من النمو والنضج على العمل مع سكان منطقة روض الفرج والتى تقع فى قلب مدينة القاهرة لتطوير المنطقة ليس فقط من الناحية العمرانية ولكن بنهج اشمل يدمج الناحية الاقتصادية للمنطقة ومساعدة اهالى الحى اجتماعيا لاستكشاف قدراتهم وتعزيز الشعور بالملكية لديهم بشكل أفضل وربط المنطقة بالمناطق المحيطة لتصبح عملية التطوير بمثابة نموذج متكامل ليس فقط فى مجال التطوير العمرانى ولكن فى مجال تمكين المجتمع للمشاركة السياسية الايجابية.