YEP Duo: Mott MacDonald in Egypt
A new YEP Effect, a new YEP Duo! Young Experts Anna Goense and Mohamed Magdy both work for Mott MacDonald at the international development services unit of the group. Mott MacDonald is a large-scale consultancy engineering group that operates worldwide. Based in Egypt, they work on implementing water infrastructure projects for the government. Both Anna and Mohamed focus on the two irrigation projects for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
Can give some background on the work you are doing and the organisation you are working for?
Anna: One of the projects that just started is the Kitchener Drain Depollution Project. The Kitchener Drain is one of the main agricultural drains for irrigation in the Nile Delta passes through three governorates and is 69km in length. The drain has become heavily polluted by domestic and industrial wastewater, uncontrolled solid waste disposal, and residues of fertilizers and pesticides, causing severe environmental, social, and economic harm. The EBRD, EU, EIB, and the Government of Egypt joined forces investing 715 million euros in the cross-sectoral Kitchener Drain Depollution and Rehabilitation Programme. The programme consists of three components, water and sanitation, solid waste, and drain rehabilitation. We are working on the drain rehabilitation component.
Magdy: Next to the water resources projects, we are also providing consultancy services for the sanitation sector in Egypt. Mott MacDonald is leading a consortium that helps the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities and the affiliated water companies in each target governorate of the Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Programme (SRSSP). The government recognises that water pollution is a threat to the economic development of Egypt and has therefore launched its flagship presidential programme known as the National Rural Sanitation Programme (NRSP).
Ultimately, the objective is to provide access and improved sanitation services to 4,000 unserved rural villages and over 27,000 satellite villages. This will be done by providing new sanitation infrastructure to collect wastewater, proper treatment, and then controlled disposal so that it does no harm to the environment. Although rural, populations are dense enough to justify collecting wastewater through sewer networks and bringing it to a nearby treatment plant. SRSSP has two main priorities. Firstly, it supports the decentralised approach of empowering regional Water Sanitation Centres (WSCs) to develop their own assets and improve their operational, financial, and customer engagement performance. Secondly, it reinforces the presidential commitment, creating a clear incentive for all stakeholders to turn this project into a national success, paving the way for more robust regional utilities, better governance and service delivery.
How is being a Young Expert of added value for you and for Mott MacDonald?
Magdy: Being a Young Expert helped me a lot, professionally and personally. I would like to thank the YEP Programme Bureau for this magnificent opportunity and for the training sessions and coaching. It is a life-changing programme, and I hope that in future, I will be able to continue growing as I was taught by the YEP training. On the personal scale, I have benefited a lot from the extensive two training sessions and periodical meeting with my coach and my mentor. I gained different and valuable perspectives and better communication abilities that widened my horizon and gave me insights into diversity and access to a greater range of talent. I was also able to define and acknowledge my strengths on a personal and the professional level. YEP allowed Mott MacDonald to hire me as a local Young Expert and add more junior talent to their team. It has given me the chance to boost my abilities and for Mott MacDonald to see the potential in me. I will always be grateful for the great opportunity that I was offered and will continue to develop my potential.
Anna: The Young Expert Programme has given Mott MacDonald the possibility to create a long-term post for me in Egypt. I am now almost at the end of my two years in Egypt and I must say it is has been an experience that cannot easily be equated. YEP is like a pressure cooker and you go up a steep learning curve. Of course, I gained many different professional skills, in broad terms it taught me to be independent, flexible, and a better communicator. I have also taking the chance to learn Arabic and I can now move around Cairo like a local.
Your work seems to contribute to a number of SDGs: which ones?
Magdy: The rural sanitation project we work on, directly contributes to SDG6 “Clean Water and Sanitation” by providing sewage connections and wastewater treatment to around 1 million people in the Nile Delta. The programme aims to reduce pollution of the Nile and consequentially the Mediterranean Sea, contributing to SDG 14 “Life below water”. Furthermore, SDG5 “Gender Equality” is addressed by the strong citizen engagement efforts with a focus on gender equality within community committees.
Anna: The Kitchener Drain project contributes primarily to three SDGs, Goal 2 – Zero hunger, by increasing agricultural productivity and income, supporting sustainable food production, and increasing rural investment. Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation, by increasing water-use efficiency and implementing integrated water resources management and Goal 9 - Industry, innovation, and infrastructure by developing quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure and facilitating sustainable and resilient infrastructure development.
Do you have any tips and tricks for other (aspiring) Young Experts?
Anna: I would say, do YEP if you have the opportunity and keep your eyes, ears, and mind open always.
Magdy: It is a lifechanging opportunity, paradigm shifting experience, not only on the professional scale, but mostly on the personal scale. Please keep your eyes, ears, and mind open always (as per Anna`s advice).