Ezzbet El Haggana has long been one of the marginalized communities of Nasr City's area. As part of MNHD’s commitment to reintegrating these marginalized groups into the larger Nasr City community, Ezbet El Haggana was targeted for renovation.
The area was first settled by a group of military personnel, from southern border area , who were given permission by the military to build a small number of homes on the land. However, because of high voltage cables running over the area, no further development was permitted. Unfortunately, this did not prevent illegal land acquisition from transforming the area into a sprawling slum, with unofficial statistics suggesting as many as 1 million people live on the 750 acres of land.
The area in general faces dire challenges; many are not connected to the electricity grid or the sewage system, while others have limited access to water and sanitation services. Poor access to medical and educational services and a lack of urban planning has led to low levels of education, unnecessary illness and death and cramped crowded conditions. One of the biggest threats to inhabitants’ health is the high voltage cables running over the area, classified by the Informal Settlement Development Fund as a class B health risk. Many inhabitants build their houses in close proximity to, or even around the cables making them susceptible to agonizing diseases and health conditions and soaring cancer rates, that exposure to these cables can create.
In light of these serious challenges, a team of MNHD employees is collaborating with architects and master planners to prioritize the developmental challenges facing Ezbet El Haggana and tackle each in turn. Major achievements to date include:
· Landscaping and cleaning the entrance to Ezbet El Haggana
· Commissioning A2 Architects to develop a master plan integrating the area into a larger development project including commercial, leisure and entertainment outdoor and indoor activities, an office complex, and minor residential areas
Future plans in place:
· The high voltage cables will be removed and buried underground where they pose no threat to inhabitants’ health.
· The urban development axis will be built through the area, providing the community with much needed services and linking it to the surrounding neighborhoods.
· An axial road that offers an alternative access route to the Cairo-Suez Road will be developed.
· Plans to build schools, hospitals, a fire station, sports playgrounds and other facilities needed to create a thriving community.
MNHD is working closely with all stakeholders to make this ambitious project a reality. Collaborating with local inhabitants, volunteers and A2 Architects, a proposal is being sent to the Cairo government, local authorities and the Informal Settlements Development Fund.