Working Group Project

Local, Sustainable, Digital: Rethinking Textile Production


In Egypt, 20% of all industrial companies are located in the textile and clothing (TC) sector employing nearly a quarter of the industrial labor force. About 40% of the TC employees are women, much more than in any other sector. However, labour intense export oriented industries (such as TC) are often criticized for providing only low wage employment, especially for women. Today, women in this sector receive only 72% of the hourly wage of men. Moreover, the increasing automation and digitalization of manufacturing processes will further accelerate the displacement of manual workforces once automated solutions become more cost-efficient requiring also for new skills on the remaining TC labour market. Finally yet importantly, the TC sector needs to transform towards more sustainable practices on different dimensions, addressing challenges of resource efficiency and overuse as well as the distribution of shares and knowledge along the highly globalized value chains, in accordance with SDG 8 of the UN.

Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset

The AGYA Working Group Innovation aims at developing training modules targeting women who work in the TC sector in rural and economically hindered areas in Egypt. The developed practical training relies on innovative experience-based learning techniques that integrate (digital) open-source appropriate technology as well as contents from STEM education and principles of the circular economy. By empowering women to make use of digital manufacturing tools in the TC sector and promoting their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge about using local resources, we aim to foster technical and digital literacy as well as North-South-South technology and knowledge exchange. The main goal is to empower young women to create better-living conditions for themselves and their children.

So far, women in rural Egypt working formally and informally in the TC sector are not well informed about recent technology trends. Yet, these technologies bear the potential to assist them in having more efficient production, creating their own business, and using virtual social platforms that can ease technology and knowledge transfer as well as their communication with potential customers aiming to innovate their products and increase their sales rates. Thus, empowering this group in terms of technological and digital literacy as well as fostering an entrepreneurial mindset can be a boost for overall growth and development.

For the implementation of the practical training, the portable STEM truck, developed within a former Working Group project will be equipped with some additional tools and setups for delivering onsite training sessions in villages, especially tailored for micro (but also medium tech) projects. The training course runs for 5 days including theoretical and practical sessions to be delivered by AGYA members and local experts.

Disciplines Involved
Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Educational Research, Economy, Management and Innovation Studies, Economic Geography
Cooperation Partners
Fayoum University, Egypt
Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Egypt
Helmut Schmidt University, Germany
Project Title
Empowering Women in Economically Hindered Regions Through STEM-Based Practical Training
Funding Scheme
Working Group Project
Working Group
Countries Involved
Egypt, Germany, Algeria, Libya