The Zerzara Project
Zerzara is a settlement classified by the Informal Settlements Development Facility (ISDF) as an unsafe informal area with unsuitable shelter conditions. It is considered as level two degree of risk in which the displacement of residents is not mandatory and informal settlement upgrading is the case.
Zerzara covers an area of 52 fedans with a total population of 7,500 citizens, women representing 45% of this figure. The Zerzara area has more than 1,100 houses with 1,700-2,000 families, each family with an average of four children. The population is mainly made up of migrants, who have moved from Upper Egyptian cities and villages in search of jobs to meet the demands of the booming labor intensive construction and tourism industries. 99.7% of the land is government property, 0.15% is archeological property and 0.15% is Waqf property.
Previous studies about Zerzara have identified 3 major challenges facing the community namely poor living conditions, lack of local economic development and low level of education. Poor living conditions are a result of unplanned buildings poorly constructed with major problems in roofs and internal walls. The community does not have proper sanitation system whereby manually constructed tanks are used. These tanks are built under buildings; suffer from leakage resulting in foul smells and the spread of diseases. Fulfilling the basic livelihood needs of residents is a challenge with the net monthly income per family in the area ranging between 500-1500 EGP. Finally, low level of education and high rates of school drop- out has been identified as a key problem in the area especially among women who are mostly illiterate.