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Small Loans in Egypt
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Small Loans in Egypt
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In Egypt, more and more women are heads of household and are seeking new ways to improve their standard of living. The United Nations Development Program, UNDP, has introduced a microcredit project called Microstart for women who are interested in turning unique ideas into business opportunities. Miscrostart is playing a major role in breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering women in Egypt.
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Produced by UN in Action.

Learn more UNDP’s Microstart project in Egypt.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Women in Egypt are searching for new ways to improve their standard of living. Many of them depended on their husbands who were once the sole breadwinners. Seven years ago, Umtouba lost her husband. As a young girl, Umtouba helped her family to produce rope made from palm leaves. This was a family tradition. She continued the craft of rope making after she got married. Now, with the death of her husband, she finds herself working alone to raise her three daughters and three sons. This is not an easy task because her husband did everything for her.
UMTOUBA
I would never go outside to buy these leaves. He would go to the market and bring everything here. He would bring things in the car. I would sit here and work. He would bring things to me as I sat here.
VOICEOVER
Women who are the heads of households find themselves in vulnerable situations. Umtouba's neighbor, Sahar, says that there is need for caution when women negotiate with customers.
SAHAR
She used to sell to the merchants. He might or might not pay her. He could cheat her.
VOICEOVER
Sahar works for Microstart, a scheme developed by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP. Microstart's main focus is to break the cycle of poverty. It targets female-headed households. Many women have received loans ranging from 80 dollars to 300 dollars. Sahar's job is to build a trusting relationship with the women before their loans are approved.
SAHAR
If she needs anything, she asks me. I answer her questions. I try to be a friend to her before she receives the loan. I get to know her. I get to know where she's from, everything about her home.
VOICEOVER
Umtouba finally received a loan of 80 dollars with Sahar's help. She fixed up her house and sent one child to school with the money. The Microstart project has helped over 6,000 people find jobs in Fayoum by approving five thousand loans. The project is tackling two of the Millennium Development Goals established at the United Nations Summit in 2000: empowering women and reducing poverty. Beshir Shousa and Mary Ferreira prepared this report for the United Nations.