- Capital: Cairo
- Main country facts: Fastest growing population in the Arab world
- Population: 96.49 million
- Urbanization: 43.3%
- Life expectancy: 72.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 12.5%
- Population living below the poverty line: 25.2%
- Date when Habitat started working in the country: 1989
- Individuals served in FY17: 28,480
- Volunteers hosted in FY17: 589
- Housing solutions: Incremental, market development
Habitat for Humanity in Egypt
Since its start in 1989, Habitat for Humanity Egypt has helped construct or renovate 32,996 homes in 33 communities through the end of fiscal year 2017 (30 June 2017). Habitat Egypt partners with the homeowners and with local associations to achieve its goals. By working with these organizations at the grassroots level, Habitat Egypt builds on their established knowledge and insight in the community. A group of local, representative volunteers serve as the housing committee which selects loan recipients from within their community.
The housing need in Egypt
In Egypt, more than 20 million people live in substandard housing conditions, with minimum means of improving their situation. Substandard housing is particularly common in the rural areas, where many families live in old, mud-brick houses with dirt floors, no doors or windows, and inadequate roofs made from thatch, branches or even sugar cane. These conditions provide little protection from snakes, insects, intruders, rain, or extreme variations in temperature. The houses are dangerously hot in summer and below freezing temperatures in winter. Access to toilets and clean, piped water is limited, causing severe health problems to occur. Moreover, large families are often crowded into one- or two-room structures. Some even share their homes with their livestock or poultry.
Habitat’s contribution in Egypt
Houses built by Habitat Egypt are decent, durable and affordable. They are built using appropriate, locally-available building materials, which meet specific housing requirements. Houses have cement or tile floors, plaster or limestone brick walls, inside plumbing and sanitary systems, secure wooden roofs, and enough rooms to separate parents from children, boys from girls, and families from their livestock. These changes create secure homes, protecting the families from the elements and also allow families the opportunity to build a second floor in the future.
Habitat Egypt offers housing loans to families in need, ranging from EGP 5,000 to EGP 15,000. Families use this loans to build, repair and improve homes.
Habitat Egypt believes in the importance of the continuity of the program. Families who partner with Habitat Egypt repay their loans and the repayments of these revolving loans are used to build more houses in the village. The loans are usually repaid in a period of three years. Monthly repayments cannot exceed the value of 25 percent of the family`s monthly income.
Helping those living in the poorest places
Based on the belief that every Egyptian has the right to a healthy house, Habitat Egypt has agreed with their local partners to allocate 7 percent of annual housing through non-refundable grants to those families and individuals living in the country’s poorest places. The success of this program has motivated some donors to allocate a fair part of their donations to serving this disadvantaged group.
Meet a Habitat family
“My name is Mary and I live in the village of Nazlet Fargallah east of the Nile in Upper Egypt. My husband is deaf and can’t speak so he doesn’t have the ability to work. Unfortunately my two sons are like their father genetically and so I am responsible for my whole family.
I have no income to help me. It is very hard on me emotionally and physically. I wanted to change the house from limestone blocks to red bricks with a concrete roof to protect my family from danger. I heard about Habitat for Humanity through the Shining Tomorrow Association for Development in Minya, so I went there, explained my living situation and put in a grant application.
Later, I received a grant of 7,000 Egyptian pounds to conduct the work on my house. Habitat staff came to help me with implementation of the work.
Really, I am very thankful for Habitat’s program in our village and for the Shining Tomorrow Association for its role and for following up the work with me during and after implementation. Really I pray for those who granted me money to help in protecting my family from danger. I really was in desperate need to repair my home. I am very grateful for Habitat’s support for me and my family.”
What you can do
You can help needy Egyptian families improve their living conditions by taking one or more of the following actions:
Donate: Go to habitat.org/donate and designate your gift to Habitat Egypt.
Volunteer: Join one of the scheduled Global Village trips to Europe, Middle East and Africa or lead your own.
Tithe: All affiliate tithe gifts are sent internationally to serve families outside of the United States. To support the work of Habitat EGYPT, please send your tithe to: Habitat for Humanity International P.O. Box 6598 Americus, GA 31709-3498
To learn more about Habitat projects in Egypt, please contact us:
Ayman Awny, Senior Operation Manager
Christine Gamil, RD Coordinator
Michal Kruzliak, Associate Director of Operations
Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa