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Successful Rotary MG Microcredit Project in Egypt implemented by Rotaractors
Category: Microcredit | By RAGM, 5-Apr-2012 | Viewed 2337  Comments 0 | Source Robert Zinser, CEO RFPD, and Alexander Schmitt, Rotaract Club Mannheim

The 'Alexandria Project' started in 2001 and was initiated and implemented by the RC Alexandria Cosmopolitan, Egypt, and the Rotary D1860 together with the Rotaract Club of Alexandria Cosmopolitan, Egypt, and German Rotaractors of District 1860. The aim of this project was to provide the poorest women (and with them their large families) in the community of Ezbet El Mattar with the financial and educational possibilities to establish a business, enabling them to earn a living. This was done in a comprehensive approach including three pillars: basic literacy/skill development, microcredit and responsible parenthood. This pilot project ended in June 2011, but due to its success a scaling up of this model project already started in other areas of Egypt. Since its inception, more than 200 microcredits were awarded with approximately 1.250 people benefitting from the project. Credit recipients proved to be very reliable with their paybacks, which made it possible to keep the project running for about ten years with a Matching Grant of 20,000 US$. With receiving a loan the beneficiaries committed themselves to attend classes in basic literacy, family planning education and vocational training that the Rotaractors organized for them. Their participation in these classes had a very positive influence on their motivation, consciousness and skills needed to carry out their individual micro loan projects.

The project also played an important role in stimulating international cooperation between Rotaractors and Rotarians from Germany and Egypt. While credit recipients received hands-on support from the Rotaractors in Alexandria, Rotaractors in D1860 provided additional support and supervision with reporting and financing. Rotarians from both countries guided the Rotaractors and shared their experiences in project management and intercultural communication. Both partners, Rotaractors and Rotarians from Alexandria and Rotaractors and Rotarians from D1860 Germany, paid several visits to each other. 

In 2006 this project was awarded as "Best European Act" at the Rotaract European Conference. In 2011, the RAC Alexandria Cosmopolitan was awarded 'the most outstanding project award' for District 2450, in recognition of the project's important role in Alexandria's poor neighborhoods. Moreover, on one of his visits to Germany Prof. Mohamad Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner, discussed the project with the primary contact of D1860, PDG Robert Zinser, and called it an example for successful microcredit-projects in view of the combination of its three parts (Vocational Training, Family Planning and Microcredits) and suggested to publicize a methodology of it. 

With this project, Rotaractors have proven to be dedicated in implementing complicated projects like micro-credits and eager to learn project management from experienced Rotarians. TRF also applauded the Rotaractors for their work; this motivates Rotaractors, the Rotarians of the future. 

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