We visited an incubator NGO (non-Governmental Organization) within Egypt, called Nahdet Mahrousa (Renaissance of Egypt) a few weeks ago. The incubator selects possible projects and helps them turn into full-fledged, self-sustaining NGOs that are independent financially and otherwise. NM promotes better standards of health and education, as well as tolerance, employment, financial independence and dignity. They’re a homegrown group of diverse Egyptians who wanted to help combat the infant mortality rates, high unemployment and brain drain that have been such a problem for Egypt.
NM provides legal assistance, research, HR, funding, branding and PR advice, training and project development ideas. Some of the NGOs they have helped get off the ground include the Young Innovators Award (YIA), which awards Egyptian high schoolers with the funding to carry our their innovative ideas. This is an attempt to promote more science and technology in Egypt, and often helps the students land jobs with companies that want to buy their innovations. Another NGO hey helped create was CEDO, a group that has put career services offices in all the public universities of Egypt. Previously, only wealthy students who could afford to go to private universities got the kind of career advice that comes standard with a college education in the US. Now, students who never took a university-level english class can have help going over their resume, or preparing for an interview.
Marisa–you’d be so proud of me! I networked my little tush off! I got a few business cards and they said I can send my resume to them for the next coop cycle (sorry mom!). It would be unpaid but phenomenal, and I absolutely need to find a way to get back here, so we’ll see how that goes. I would absolutely LOVE to work with them, but so far my Arabic isn’t quite good enough.
What’s amazing is that NM just now (after five years) hired their first PR person for their own organization. They explain their success (and constant interview requests) by saying that, “good news travels fast.” I can’t help but thinking that wouldn’t exactly be the case in the US. But then again, in a country where so few people are (effectively) tackling unspoken issues, a group that dedicates itself to just that must stand out.