Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
19 June 2022
Promoting Community Integration to Achieve Sustainable Development

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has been strengthening community integration and empowering members of society from different groups. MCIT works relentlessly to engage citizens positively in the digital environment, drawing on the skills of effective communication and creation, to engage in different types of social participation that through the responsible use of ICT.

In this context, the Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development project seeks to empower rural communities and differently abled persons, through implementing development projects and raising awareness of the benefits of ICTs, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The objectives of the project include empowering women through carrying out illiteracy eradication programs, improving the quality of education and healthcare services, and supporting small businesses using ICT tools. Other objectives include building youth capacities to access the labor market and leveraging ICT to raise living standards and boost social and economic development.

To achieve these objectives, MCIT undertakes a wide range of projects and initiatives. A prominent program by MCIT, the Youth Enablement for Freelancing initiative targets training and qualifying 20,000 young Egyptians nationwide, including Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), to land gigs on freelancing platforms. The initiative is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the integrated community centers that MCIT has supplied with the necessary technical equipment.

Youth Enablement for Freelancing is within the framework of MCIT human development strategy, which focuses on building the Egyptian citizen. The initiative was launched in response to the heightened demand for digital learning opportunities and to tap into the potential of freelancers. The participants of the initiative have their skills honed and deepened to land jobs on digital platforms.

Another key project is Activating the Role of IT Clubs in Community Development. It contributes to eliminating the digital gap by making technology available to all society segments in different parts of the country. It is also aimed at empowering individuals working in community development to help achieve sustainable development.

The IT Clubs department works hand in hand with state agencies, the private sector, and CSOs to make ICT applications available and accessible to all members of society and provide technical and administrative support to institutions housing IT Clubs.

MCIT also collaborates with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to implement the Digital Development Centers project, which focuses on the institutional development of youth centers. Students and graduates of schools, technical and vocational institutes, and universities; young entrepreneurs; PwDs; and women artisans get digital literacy and self-employment training. Other training programs are delivered in collaboration with Cisco Networking Academy, including IT Essentials, Get Connected, Cybersecurity and Entrepreneurship.

Jobs and Skills for PwDs with ICT-Based Solutions is another flagship disability-inclusion project. It has been selected as a Champion Project in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes 2022, Category 11 — AL C7. ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life — e-Employment. The project is co-implemented with UNDP and the International Labor Organization (ILO) and funded by the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD).

The objectives of the project involve empowering PwDs capitalizing on ICT and upskilling them in computer basics, graphic design, customer service and call center, management and entrepreneurship, and computer and laptop maintenance.

Building on the national efforts toward empowering and integrating PwDs using ICT, the National Network for PWD Services (Taheel) was jointly created in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Solidarity. The Network is within the government plan to build the Egyptian citizen and achieve digital transformation. Taheel helps make rehabilitation, training, and employment services available and easily accessible by bringing people of determination together with employers and disability organizations through a digital platform and mobile application.

Kenanaonline Community Development Portals is another key project that contributes to the enhancement of the knowledge society in the MENA region. The project features specialized knowledge portals that facilitate access to information, namely Aradina, Byotna, Youm Gedid, Erada, Ayadina, Zatak, Egyptian Teacher, Poets and Authors, and Our Health.

The portals provide user-friendly online applications that allow users to build their online knowledge base to provide their communities with knowledge and consultancy in their respective fields of expertise. The service includes a business directory system, website and blog creation services, digital marketing tools, and customer relationship management.

ICT is a powerful tool that can be harnessed to attain agricultural development. In view of that, the Managing Agriculture Knowledge (Expert System) project was designed to investigate the most efficient agricultural knowledge management and utilization solutions that can empower farmers with expertise knowledge in an easy, optimized, and updated way to boost productivity.

The project seeks to create an eco-system to achieve knowledge management and utilization; link researchers, farmers and practitioners with each other in vibrant networks; and improve rural livelihoods by empowering farmers, especially females.

Healthcare is another vital sector where ICT has been employed to improve service quality. MCIT and the Ministry of Health have launched together the Telemedicine initiative to facilitate access to healthcare services, especially in remote and marginalized areas. The project operates through several pillars that target citizens, physicians, and the health infrastructure. The aim is to improve healthcare services and promote the health of citizens in underprivileged areas of the country.

The initiative targets reducing the high costs of health services, saving time, effort, and long-distance travel, and helping physicians in remote areas improve their performance and exchange experiences through a continuous learning process. This is in addition to promoting technological solutions by establishing telemedicine units in medically underserved areas, and creating an electronic database for medical records and reports to optimize health resource management in terms of human capital and technology equipment.

MCIT is a key player when it comes to empowering women, championing gender diversity and promoting the inclusion of women in the workplace. The Ministry, represented by the Central Department for Digital Community Development, has been carrying out Qodwa-Tech, a flagship initiative tailored to empower Egyptian women and girls socially and financially using ICTs.

Qodwa-Tech places special focus on women working in the informal economy, especially in remote and marginalized areas. The initiative motivates women to become entrepreneurs and develops their ICT and FinTech skills to bring about financial inclusion and digital transformation. In addition, Qodwa-Tech provides technical and technological support, promotes self-employment, and adopts a sustainable community model that helps lower unemployment rates and improve livelihoods.

Qodwa-Tech has been launched to tap into the potential of local craftswomen and create an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship can be nurtured. The initiative features capacity-building programs that help cope with today’s digital requirements and technological advancements, achieve digital inclusion, and encourage women to leverage ICT tools and solutions to guide and mentor other women in their communities.

Qodwa-Tech programs cover several tracks, including social media marketing and e-commerce, with hands-on training on top local and global e-commerce platforms. Moreover, consultations and awareness sessions on related topics such as financial and digital inclusion; online safety; product packaging, shipping and marketing; and Intellectual Property (IP) are delivered as part of the training.

In an effort to attain sustainable community development in governorates and modernize rural communities, MCIT undertakes the Integrated ICT for Development project. It focuses on improving access to healthcare services, empowering women through financial and community awareness sessions and literacy programs, raising awareness of PwDs issues, promoting entrepreneurship among students, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned by young people, and availing e-learning to advance education.

With the concepts of digital citizenship and online safety attracting global attention, MCIT has introduced the Digital Citizenship Initiative, a part and parcel of its Digital Egypt vision. The Ministry, through the initiative, strives to guarantee that children and teens surf the web safely, acquire the necessary skills to spot cyberthreats, and understand the consequences of their online behavior. The goal is to maintain safe cyberspace and forge a national child online protection strategy.

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