United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Decent Life (Hayah Kareema): Sustainable Rural Communities


    “Decent Life” is an initiative endorsed by H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, with the aim of improving the quality of life in the poorest rural communities within the framework of Egypt Vision 2030. And in light of the belief that the real development occurs at the governorate level and not in a centralized manner and that each governorate has a different competitive advantage and has different resources. The initiative addresses multi-dimensional poverty and unemployment rates, through improving the economic, social and environmental standard of families in poor villages, enabling them to obtain all basic services and providing job opportunities to support the independence of citizens.


    Decent Life is a state-sponsored initiative to eradicate poverty in Egypt’s most in need villages and secure a decent life for low-income people in the society through developing rural areas, to fill the developmental gaps among the different governorates. The initiative has four main objectives: 1. Improving living standards and investing in human capital, 2. Developing infrastructure services, 3. Raising the quality of human development services, and 4. Economic development and job creation.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    This initiative is driven by four main pillars that represent the heart of the SDGs and its aspects (economic-social- environmental): 1. Supporting local communities to achieve quality improvements to the lives of the targeted citizens and communities through unifying the government’s efforts with the expertise of the civil society. 2. Enhancing social protection to all citizens 3. Equal distribution of development gains. 4. Providing job opportunities to enhance citizens’ independence.

    Implementation methodologies

    The Egyptian President called all the government’s institutions, civil society and the business sector to unify their efforts towards achieving the objectives of the initiative to provide a decent life to citizens living in all rural communities (representing about 50% of the overall Egyptian population), within a time frame of three years. The GoE, allocated around EGP 500 billion to achieve comprehensive development in the targeted villages, to bridge the gap between the urban and rural communities. As a start, the government determined well-articulated selection criteria to identify the most in need villages, as follows: 1. Lack of basic water and sanitation services 2. Low education rate, and increased density in classes. 3. The need for intensive health services to meet health care needs. 4. Poor condition of transportation networks. 5. High poverty rates of families living in those villages. Then, the targeted villages were divided according to the data and surveys of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), in coordination with the relevant ministries and agencies. The initiative provides direct and indirect interventions, namely: Direct interventions: developed infrastructure (housing; water and sanitation…); training and employment; and childhood development. Indirect interventions: Health services; providing prosthetic devices; providing subsidized food; and environmental services (waste management).


    The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MPED) issued a mid-term report to monitor and evaluate the impact of phase (1) of the initiative, on the quality of life index and the SDGs: The quality of life index improved by about 18 percentage points, and poverty rate decreased by about 14 points. SDG 3: rate of health services coverage improved by about 24 percentage points. SDG 4: rate of educational services coverage improved by about 12 percentage points. SDG 6: sanitation coverage improved by about 46 percentage points. SDG8: small projects worth EGP 438 million and 71,000 job opportunities were provided in 8 governorates. SDG 11: 11,600 houses were improved, 160 km of roads were paved, and 11 veterinary units, 21 youth centers and playgrounds, and 9 social units were established. 11,000 lighting poles were installed.

    Factors and Constraints

    Key enablers drive the success of this initiative: 1. The strong political leadership support. 2. The unprecedented financial allocations (around EGP 500 billion) 3. The multi- stakeholder approach of the initiative, through joint efforts between the government, the civil society and the business sector. With special emphasis on citizens’ participation in needs assessment phase through establishing local committees. 4. The multidimensional nature of the initiative, through addressing the social, economic and environmental aspects of the lives of the rural communities.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Sustainability measures: - Establishing a high-level committee headed by the Prime Minister, to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the initiative with the aim of achieving its objectives. - MPED launched an electronic system to (Decent Life) initiative, to identify the development needs of the low-income villages, design a plan for various interventions, monitor and evaluate the impact of all efforts on development and quality of life. - Citizens’ engagement in needs assessment and monitoring through establishing local committees, ensure the sustainability of development in rural communities. - In light of strengthening the public and private partnerships, MPED signed MOU with ECOnsult Design Company, in the context of achieving sustainable development and applying the best international standards in implementing “Hayah Kareema” initiative projects in the targeted villages and rural communities.

    COVID-19 Impact

    This initiative has contributed to mitigating the negative impacts of COVID-19 through: 1. Improving the conditions of living for the most in need groups helped to curb the spread of the pandemic (decent housing and improved water and sanitation services). 2. Better educational and health services. 3. Economic development and employment raised the resilience of the targeted rural communities.

    Contact Name
    The Sustainable Development Unit
    The Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development
    Geographical coverage

    The main objective of the practice is improving the quality of life in the poorest rural communities in the 27 Governorates of Egypt, to ensure spatial justice.

    02 January 2019 (start date)
    31 December 2024 (date of completion)
    Contact Information

    The Sustainable Development Unit