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The Institute OF Cultural Affairs

Middle East & North Africa (ICA-MENA / Egypt)

The Institute of Cultiral Affairs ICA (MENA): Is a private,non-profit organization concerned with the human factor in world development.

Our mission as a development organization is to improve the quality of life of community groups through mobilizing their potentials in order to build a dynamic society that is aware of its assets and opportunities and capable of interacting with and affecting change.


ICA Becomes a Distinguished Organization In Improving the Quality of Life of Community Groups
Guided by the following 4 strategic objectives:
  1. Contributing to the improvement of health, environment, education and economic status of local communities
  2. Enhancing the capacity of community groups especially women, children and youth
  3. Building partnerships for the facilitation of effective and sustainable community development
  4. Developing ICA's organizational capacity to be able to realize its mission

ICA began work in Egypt in 1976 with a demonstration self-help development model in Bayad, the biggest village in the Bayad El Arab Local Government Unit, situated on the poorer east bank of the Nile, in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Beni Suef, 120 km south of Cairo.
Within 4 years, the model expanded to include all the other mother villages and satellites in the Local Unit. The work of the ICA has since expanded to other areas in the governorate in order to capitalize on the experience gained and to broaden the impact of the methods and techniques developed over the previous years.
The Institute worked under an agreement with the Governor of Beni Suef and in partnership with the Local Units and 35 CDAs on capacity building and integrated project activities in the east and west bank of the Nile, thus covering the entire governorate of Beni Suef and serving a population of around 500,000.
In March 1999, the Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Social Affairs granting the ICA the right to pursue development efforts in all of Egypt's governorates. This allowed ICA to resume community development work in Aswan governorate where the Institute has established an office and initiated programs with 5 CDAs, with plans to increase the number of served communities to 15.
The impact of ICA's development activities reaches other governorates in Egypt, as well as Africa and the Middle East through its Communication Development Sector. The Sector provides training programs and consultancies for a number of local and international organizations in the region, such as implementing an NGO Internship Project with many local NGOs spread across Egypt.
ICA MENA implements its programs according to a five-year strategic plan. In September 2000, ICA (MENA) developed its plan for (2001-2006), which would introduce it to the new millennium. However, the process was far from being conventional, as it was built on two main pillars: Using a participatory approach that involved not only all ICA staff, but also counterparts, partners and clients. Secondly, an Impact Assessment Study of 10 years of ICA's commitment to the socio-economic development in Egypt. In addition to the above, the new Strategic Plan has taken into consideration the current development trends as expressed by the Egyptian government, UN bodies, international organizations and other NGOs.
In the year 2000, ICA implements the following programs:
1. The Institutional Capacity Building for Local Community Development Associations in Egypt
This program aims at facilitating competent institutional skills for members of the Community Development Associations in order to enhance the long-term sustainability of CDA program activities through providing training programs and guidance in project implementation in the following fields:
  1. Education
  2. Health
  3. Agriculture
  4. Animal Production.
  5. Micro Credit
  6. Environment.
2. Enhancement of Women Status in Beni Suef
This program aims at enhancing the status of young women, ranging from the age of 9 to 20, in Beni Suef Governorate and to strengthen the institutions that would sustain and provide forum for women's contribution to their communities. Project activities include:
  1. Women Centers that host public meetings and workshops on various issues;
  2. Community Learning Centers that provide access to information through libraries and various educational tools appropriate to the culture of the community;
  3. Gender courses that aim at enhancing the self-image of women within their societies. A curriculum for boys is also being developed to balance girls' advancement.
  4. Small Loans program for women that includes technical skills training for a variety of tools such as marketing techniques and handicrafts skills. A loan fund was established in each Women Center to provide women with loans to start their own projects.
3. Child-to-Child Health Education (C-t-C)
This program aims at enhancing health awareness and education in primary and preparatory schools, besides the one-classroom schools and targets drop-out girls. It has been implemented in 58 schools. Teachers have been trained on how to use the C-t-C curriculum with students through creative teaching methods such as drama, song, dance and crafts. To ensure sustainability, the programs' messages have been integrated in the school curricula. Yearly exhibitions and exchange trips are organized for all participating schools, along with an end-of-year festival to celebrate children's accomplishments.
4. The Advancement of Education in Three Primary Schools.
This program aims at raising the level of efficiency of the teachers, supporting programs that develop the student's ability and skills, renovating schools and strengthening the relationship between the schools and the community.
5. Environment
ICA advocates an environmentally friendly approach to development work through public meetings, awareness campaigns, and the support of environmentally sound practices. Topics cover issues such as air pollution, farming practices, clean water, healthy practices and environmentally friendly technologies.
ICA also promotes the use of alternative energy sources, through pilot projects and demonstration plots in areas such as Solar Energy, Bio-latrines, in addition to the Biogas, which encourages the production of high-quality organic fertilizers. Moreover, it contributes to the improvement of household sanitation through the construction of latrines financed by small loans and managed by the CDAs.
6. NGO In-Country Internship Program
The purpose of this program is to equip promising local NGOs with necessary tools and skills for community activation and involvement in the design, implementation, monitoring and assessment of community based projects through first-hand observation of successful NGO projects and management and technical practices. Following the positive evaluation of the previous two years, in 2000, the Institute implemented the project with more than 100 interns from over 40 local NGOs in the governorates of Upper Egypt.
7. Exchange Programs
Local and regional exchange programs on general and specialized issues are held for development practitioners with the aim of providing them with space for the exchange of experience, networking, introducing new approaches for interaction with local communities, and designing innovative solutions for development work. Each year, the program has a theme and the year 2000's theme was "Community Development and the Changing Global Context". There are also specific exchange programs such as credit. In 2000, a program for "Managing Small Loans through Local NGOs" conducted to 20 attendees.
8. Training and Consultancies:
ICA offers structured as well as tailor-made training programs and consultancies throughout the region, utilizing various professional methods and strategies. In 2000, a number of events were organized including a "Participatory Project Planning" for 25 development practitioners from 4 Arab countries; an "Organizational Development Workshop" for 24 participants from 15 organizations; and a "Fundraising Course" for 18 development practitioners from 6 Arab countries. This is in addition to the consultancy service provided to a number of organizations that have requested specially designed programs.
Other supportive functions of the ICA include:
Finance and Administration
The ICA has a financial system that is fully automated and capable of handling multiple donors supporting various activities, in addition to fulfilling the International Accounting Principles. ICA has appointed KPMG, one of the top six international auditing firms, as its external auditor.
The Institute has also set up a system to facilitate handling all logistics, procurement procedures and personnel and other administrative tasks.
Human Resource Development Center (HRDC)
The ICA HRDC in Bayad El Arab has been renovated, furnished and equipped to serve as an upgraded, modern training center. It hosts various events organized by ICA as well as other organizations. It accommodates annually around 100 training events, seminars and workshops with an average of 800 participants.
The Center now boasts the first village Computer Learning Lab "21st Century Club". The Center also hosts a resource-library with a Green Corner, and a Montessori teaching/training room with a variety of planned activities for both adults and children. The Center caters to the entire governorate of Beni Suef and the surrounding governorates.
Media & Publications
ICA published a bilingual development magazine "Ru'ya", which provides a much needed forum for discussion and exchange of ideas within the development community. Sixteen issues of different themes have been published so far with a circulation of over 4,000 in the region and beyond.
The ICA also produces an annual report on all its activities, which includes the financial auditors' reports produced by KPMG. It also publishes progress & financial reports and evaluations of all ICA's major programs. Audio-visual documentaries of some of the programs are likewise produced periodically.
ICA develops proposals and budgets from concept papers that are received from the implementing sectors and the communities that they serve. A complete monitoring system for program implementation has been developed which ensures both accurate delivery of activities and accurate reporting systems. ICA also cherishes and maintains a responsible and engaging relationship with its different partners.
Supporting ICA's effort, is a group of responsible individuals committed to the Institute's mission, they comprise:
The Management Support Committee:
  1. Ms. Hala El Kholy, Director ICA-MENA
  2. Mr. Mohammed Yassin, Community Development Sector.
  3. Mr. Hashem Shoukry, Finance & Administration Consultant
  4. Mrs. Dina Raouf, Communication Development Sector
  5. Mrs. Sahar Salama, Program Development & Monitoring
  6. 6. Mrs. Azza Kamel, Media & Publication consultant
The Advisory Board:
ICA's Personnel:
The ICA has 45 staff members (22 females and 23 males) as of May, 2001: 43 nationals and 2 expatriates. The Institute also contracts experienced external consultants and benefits from the contributions of volunteers and interns.
Interns and Volunteers
ICA hosts national and international university students as interns during their summer vacations. The students get the chance to practically apply skills and theories they had studied under the supervision of ICA staff. The selected students are placed within ICA according to their preference and background. Thus, the students benefit by being exposed to the working environment before they graduate, while, ICA benefits from the work they do and as potential candidates for future employment.
ICA also hosts volunteers from various disciplines who are keen to apply their learning and practice their academic knowledge. The Institute benefits from the expertise of the volunteers to enhance the status of the served communities and foster their development process through this mutually beneficial relationship.
The ICA is a member in a number of networks:
  1. Egyptian Environmental NGO Steering Committee.
  2. Egyptian Small and Micro Enterprise Association (ESMA).
  3. National Council for Population and Development.
  4. The Arab Network for NGOs

Contact Information:
Cairo Office:

48 Road # 79, Maadi - Cairo, Egypt
Tel: (202)-7530059
Beni Suef Office*:
40 Road # 4 - New Beni Suef
Tel & Fax: (2-082) 326388 - 320488
Aswan Office:
Dahyat Amin El Sherif, Atlas Buildings (behind Xerox- above DANIDA)
Tel & Fax: (2097) 314474 Or
*As of July 2001, the Beni Suef office will be moved to the HRDC in Bayad El Arab - Beni Suef.
Last Update: June 2001

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