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Zenein Market Upgrading

Zenein Market is a formal, mixed-use market built in the 1990s in Boulaq al‐Dakrour District in Giza Governorate (Egypt). Despite its accessible location and affordable prices, the Zenein Market -encompassing 168 units mostly operated by women- suffered from several problems; environmental, economic, and institutional.



Boulaq al-Dakrour, Giza, Egypt


April 2018 - October 2019

Project Partners:

USAID/Egypt (donor), UN Women Egypt, The National Council for Women, and the Giza Governorate.


The ZMU Project engages the market vendors (primarily women working in informal employment) to implement a Gender Action Plan aiming at improving the existing conditions of this local market located in Boulaq al-Dakrour (Giza) – making it safer for women and girls and boosting its women vendors' economic opportunities.​


1. Documentation of the Existing Condition

The project team conducted comprehensive documentation and analysis of the existing condition including the following:

  • Urban Assessment (Land use and activities, Public space activities, Occupancies, Gender Distribution, Detailed Unit Analysis);

  • Safety Audit;

  • Solid Waste Management Study;

  • Gender Action Plan.

2. Participatory Needs Assessment

The team conducted a participatory needs assessment including semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with the vendors and customers and representatives from the local district and governorate. The purpose of these meetings was to identify the main potentials and challenges of the market, and the needs of its diverse users.

3. Participatory Design Workshops

The team conducted participatory design workshops with the market vendors including representations of both genders and diverse types of products. The team also engaged other stakeholders such as representatives from Giza Governorate and Boulaq al-Dakrour District.

The purpose of these workshops and meetings was to address the main design content that suits the needs of the market users. The team held presentations and provided visual material of the proposed design to the multiple stakeholders to obtain their feedback.

4. Design Development

The proposed design solution for the market addresses the issues of safety, visibility, accessibility, integration with surrounding context, and provision of necessary amenities, utilities and adequate spaces for vending activities. 

The main goal of the design was to create a gender-sensitive public market with enhanced experience and safety of both vendors and customers, through addressing both the market place and its surrounding context.

5. Implementation

The project stakeholders decided to implement the proposed design on two phases due to budget restrictions. The first phase, implemented in 2019, is composed of the four-unit blocks (of a total of six), at the northern entrance of the market, and the second phase is composed of the remaining two.

6. Before and After Photos