The Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE) has announced a call for Solutions to disrupt the employment status quo for young Egyptian women.
CFYE is calling for innovative private-sector solutions that actively address barriers and create new spaces for women to participate equally in the Egyptian workforce. They invite all private companies that wish to invest in projects that generate (or sustain) decent employment for young people (aged 18 to 35), especially young women, to present proposals for funding from CFYE.
CFYE will prioritise projects in certain sectors, identified through scoping research as holding the most potential for creating decent work for youth, with a focus on young women. They will also prioritise projects that expand their operating focus beyond Greater Cairo. Although no sector will be ruled out upfront, prioritised sectors are:
- Agriculture: Egypt’s largest sector by employment share for women and men alike. Post-harvest processing jobs in agro-exports can be important sources of employment growth for rural women. They also see opportunities for youth in new areas like ag-tech, logistics, processing and ecological waste management.
- Retail trade: Significant opportunities for young women, particularly through innovative approaches to last mile distribution and e-commerce.
- Manufacturing: High demand for skilled workers; most TVET graduates do not meet industry requirements. Innovative models that combine training and apprenticeship may address this issue. Subsectors such as apparel and food processing present lots of opportunities for SMEs and for creating productive employment for young women especially.
- ICT/Digital businesses: A lot of growth potential, varying from e-lancing to e-commerce, including ag-tech, fintech, health-tech and ed-tech; strong potential for flexible work. Highly resilient, ‘future-proof’ sector. The sector can absorb youth with tertiary level qualifications, who cannot find decent work so remain unemployed and economically inactive.
- (Renewable) energy: Growth and labour demand driven by increased investment in sector by government and foreign investors. There is also high demand for blue collar workers.
- Health Services: Traditionally major employer of women. Many opportunities for private sector companies and (angel) investors, in particular in health-tech enterprises. The sector can absorb highly educated youth, responding to growing numbers of unemployed university graduates.
- Hospitality Services: One of the industries most affected by COVID-19. Recovery will take time, but innovative approaches to create or sustain may apply. Great potential to improve working conditions in this sector, by formalizing certain subsectors (such as cleaning).
- SME support /Accelerators/Business angels: Young, creative entrepreneurs can create new growth opportunities for the economy as a whole. Access to finance is an important constraint for early stage companies, thus limiting their growth potential.
Implementing Partners’ solutions should focus on:
- Ideas for enabling women to work flexibly, for example in working hours or location, while maintaining job stability and ensuring the flexibility of the job doesn’t come with trade-offs in decent work aspects.
- Ideas that advance the decent work agenda, focusing on several of the following aspects:
- Living income / wage, in particular focusing on redressing the gender wage gap by supporting women into jobs in higher paid sectors and occupations or into senior positions within firms, and improving their career prospects in general.
- Security in the workplace, including physical safety provisions that take into account the particular needs of women (e.g. safe transport to and from work, appropriate bathroom facilities, etc.) and protection against psychosocial hazards such as sexual harassment or discrimination (e.g. social support systems for workers, etc.).
- Social protection for families, which does not reinforce women’s traditional roles and responsibilities, but contributes to the transformation of gender relations in economic and social spheres (e.g. maternity leave, childcare provision or subsidies for working mothers or single fathers to access childcare, strengthening young women’s agency and participation in social protection design and delivery, etc.).
- Prospects for personal development and social integration, for example by conducting risk assessments of how a job or a promotion within a job might affect how a worker is perceived and treated in their family and community, and deploying strategies to mitigate against any harm (e.g. community outreach activities to protect women employees against domestic recriminations for working).
- Equality of opportunity and treatment,for example, applying a gender and inclusion lens to HR practices, especially at hiring and promotion stages (avoiding highly masculinised language in job descriptions, avoiding unconscious bias in training, establishing clear evaluation criteria, etc.)
- Focus on Private Sector: Only projects presented by private sector firms are eligible.
- Priority for Jobs for Women: Projects should create, match, improve or sustain at least 350 jobs for young women or, if the total youth employment created, matched, improved or sustained is above 700, at least 50% jobs for women.
- Leverage: The minimum contribution of the fund is € 200,000. This should be matched by a co-investment that is at least equal to the grant requested.
- Decent work: For any job created, matched, improved or sustained, the working week should be at least 24 hours and at most 48 hours (including irregular overtime). The gross income / wage for one full-time equivalent (FTE) should be at least EGP 2,370 a month.
- Resilience: able to adapt and pivot rapidly to threats such as Covid-19, and support employees to withstand shocks and stress resulting from those threats.
For more information, visit https://fundforyouthemployment.nl/call-for-solutions-egypt/