NGO focuses on enabling youth to see projects come to fruition
CAIRO: With their enthusiastic souls filled with persistence and a strong sense of belonging, a small group of ambitious Egyptian youth dreamed of helping Egypt to ride the path of real development. Four years ago, the dream started to come true, with the establishment of their youth-led NGO, Nahdet El Mahrousa.
Believing in the importance of Egypt’s development, Nahdet El Mahrousa focuses on reengaging and reactivating Egyptian youth as a first step to the country’s development.
“With the efforts, participation and belonging of its young people, Egypt will be a developed country. We should all come together and try to get organized in order to have a role in the country’s development and the public arena . especially those who have had a good opportunity in being educated and resourceful in different ways, says Ehaab Abdou, an Egyptian youth and the chairperson of Nahdet El Mahrousa.
Whether Egyptians are living in Egypt or abroad, they should all come together and make a good contribution to the country, adds Abdou.
But to reach this noble mission, the 250 members of the NGO work on achieving three main goals.
“The Project Incubator is the first of those. It is one of the main innovative ideas, which rotate around supporting ideas of Egyptian youth that have yet to be implemented, financially and technically.
Many ideas come from Egyptian youth, but often those ideas are not implemented, as people give up or can’t find the resources or support. “It is the role of the project incubator to bring those main ideas and support them, until they become full fledged national programs, that serve the country in different ways, says Abdou.
According to Abdou, some 10 or 12 projects are being incubated at different phases, some of them are close to becoming independent, while others are still struggling.
One of the incubator projects that has been implemented is the “Young Innovator’s Award, which is an idea that support research and development.
Abdou says the NGO has received various innovative ideas that have immerged from graduating projects at Egyptian universities that have not been implemented, adding that they have linked the necessary technical or financial support to those graduating projects to achieve implementation.
“It started with a telecommunication graduating project at Cairo University and now it is being extended to Ain Shams University, says Abdou, adding that up till now the project is supporting 15 percent of the best graduating projects in Cairo University and expanding to other universities.
Another project that has been incubated is the “Egyptian Expatriates for Development, which aims at linking up with Egyptian youth living abroad to transfer their knowledge to Egypt.
“We have a lot of Egyptian expatriates who live abroad. We try to encourage them to come back to transfer their knowledge in Egypt through small enterprises, says Abdou, adding that 30 percent of the members of the NGO are based outside Egypt, helping in the achievement of this project. Abdou says the project began with the IT sector as a start, and then expanded to other sectors.
“As a pilot phase, we had seven consecutive workshops to bring Egyptian-Americans or Egyptian-Canadians to train the small entrepreneurs, which was done through collaboration with Smart Village, NCR Company, and the Ministry of Telecommunications, says Abdou.
Misriyati, another project, trains Egyptian children on tolerance and respect for the differences between them, besides emphasizing the common morals and heritage they share, regardless of religion or social class.
“It focuses more on what’s common between us in terms of heritage and common values. We started two successful sessions with other NGOs: Fathit Kheir and Manshieyet Nasser, says Abdou.
Recently, the NGO has implemented a project called “The First Career Development Center, which aims at helping Egyptian graduates to develop their skills and find a job in the market.
Abdou says the NGO signed a memo of understanding with the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, adding that the organization will be managing this career office for two years, and then leaving it to the faculty to run.
“It will be a world class office that brings opportunities to graduates and trains them on different skills that the private sectors need. It will help them find summer internships, providing them with a searching database online, says Abdou.
The second scheme is the dialogue component, in which the members share their insights on the e-group, the forum and the Salon, a meeting organized every two weeks, in which a speaker comes over and talks with members of other organizations about issues related to the country’s development.
The final scheme, Nahdet El Mahrousa Policy Arm, is based on a number of partnerships that aim at mobilizing developmental contributions to Egypt.
According to Abdou, a partnership with Cilantro Cafes is in the works.
“We had a newsletter distributed in Cilantro. They wanted to run a common program with us, we were very enthusiastic as we wanted to mobilize the youth, and they wanted to share in this contribution and offer them the chance to contribute to the social development, says Abdou.
The previous projects were just few examples that indicate the success of Nahdet El-Mahrousa, as a model for encouraging youth to participate in the nation s development.