Setting up a new country programme during a global pandemic

7 Jun 2021

Better Work Egypt was born under adverse circumstances. The programme was launched in an official ceremony chaired by the Prime Minister of Egypt on 8 March 2020. Around that time, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region and resulted in border closures of countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“When we set up a new Better Work country programme, we recruit factories and a national team. Also, several experienced Better Work staff members from the global team travel into the country to help set up the operations according to our standards”, says Janika Simon, Programme & Operations Specialist at Better Work. “For Egypt, all of this had to be adapted to virtual support due to the pandemic.” The lack of donor funding for the programme limited the number of factories and Better Work Egypt team members recruited in 2020. By mid-2020, the team delivered its first virtual advisory services and training sessions in Egypt online, supported by Better Work Jordan’s expertise.

These joint efforts produced concrete results. By the end of 2020, 40 factories were enrolled in Better Work Egypt, with a waiting list of almost 50 more factories eager to join the programme.

“We are excited about these numbers,” states Simon. “Seeing what we were able to achieve during the operational setup with the backdrop of a global pandemic in 2020 makes us even more enthusiastic about what we will be able to accomplish together with our partners in Egypt in years to come.”

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