In the last year, as a consequence of the social and political unrest in the Middle East Region, Egypt has been faced with a high number of returning migrants from Libya. These returnees who have mostly been supporting their families through remittances, are finding themselves in need of support with very little coping strategies. This is currently putting pressure to rural communities and families, resulting in a progressive increase in the vulnerability of the rural poor and, in particular, of the most at risks groups in society, namely women and youth.
The return of migrant workers from Libya exacerbates pressure on already weak labour market as households are forced to support and share limited resources with returnees. Further to this, many of the migrant workers find themselves in a situation without any real prospect of socio-economic integration.
As a timely action to mitigate the impact of these multifaceted challenges, FAO has undertaken a pilot project in Upper Egypt to empower returnees, their communities and families and strengthen, at the same time, the livelihood of poor and vulnerable communities affected by the increasing percentage of returnees.
The pilot project has provided agriculture and livestock inputs for farming and capacity building to promote income generation
activities for 120 households. This has enabled beneficiary returnees and local communities to rebuild their lives, and support the local economy. The capacity building provided has triggered an empowerment process that a big number of rural youth and women have been benefiting from. Many of them are now able to improve production efficiency and standards of their produce.
“I used to support my family by sending remittance when I worked in Libya. After the sudden return it was very difficult for me to depend on them. With the inputs provided by FAO I can now feed and support my family”. Says Ahmed Mohamed, a young farmer from Gafar Village, Beni Suef Governorate.
“I am happy since the cost of buying inputs and renting land is very high. I feel I can stand on feet now!!”
FAO works to reach communities and families most in need, many of whom face the double burden of food insecurity and the volatility of the political situation in the region.
As Mohamed, many other returnees have been benefiting from the FAO project and from the capacity building activities with a cascade effect on more and more communities which share now satisfaction on the positive impact of the FAO intervention on their lives.