Solution: Community Eco-paper product is an environmentally friendly technology of making paper using plants refuses by rural communities in Egypt.
Goals and objectives: In Egypt, economically disadvantaged urban and rural dwellers suffer from a severe lack of employment opportunities both in urban and rural areas. While the negative impacts of unemployment weigh heavy on Egyptian society, the country also faces significant environmental problems, some of which are attributable to the disposal of plant waste. Farmers, unable to rid themselves of plant refuse such as rice straw, banana stalks and river flowers, resort to burning these goods, which contributes to the overwhelming problem of pollution. Overall, there has been little effort to reform this practice because village communities lack environmental awareness and knowledge of alternative uses for agricultural refuse. Therefore, the projects of developing papermaking centers are to address, in a creative and integrated way, the issue of unemployment and environmental pollution from agricultural waste.
Implementation: In 2005, El Nafeza (Window) center, an Egyptian non-profit foundation, came up with Community Eco-paper, reviving the traditional of making paper using plants refuses, sun and natural colors.
The process of making papers through the agriculture wastes in El Nafeza:
- Firstly, they get the rice straw from the farmers then it left in water for two days, after that they boil the rice straw from two to three hours.
- Secondly, they lay the rice straw in the machine for the chopping.
Finally, the paper left on the wall till it dry, the paper can be left white or colored.
El-Nafeza innovative approach engage people in the development of their communities, introducing creative ways of dealing with the environment and unemployment. This happened through empowering marginalized groups (especially women and disabled young people) through creating untraditional job opportunities in the field of arty handmade paper. Also, through raising the level of environmental awareness about the efficient use of the recycled agricultural refuse through conducting workshops in the communities suffering from agricultural waste issues (such as farmers who burn the rice straw). El Nafeza is considered as the first center in Egypt and the Middle East in training paper makers as a professional job.
- El Nafeza succeeded in setting reasonable products prices, so that they can cover their costs and also meet the demand. This happened through El Nafeza’s proving more training workshops for schools, corporate team building outings, Embassies community days, which are another important sources of income for El Nafeza.
- El Nafeza has trained hundreds of people since its beginning who wished to learn about the technique of paper making and trained them in silk screen printing on paper to produce beautiful and very fine stationery items.
- As of July 2018, there are about 15 workers working in the workshop, 80% of which are deaf and mute.
- To be able to expand and grow, El Nafeza is working on a large scale, which including its presence in shops, hotels locally and also its presence in a lot of different workshops allover Egypt.
- El Nafeza is currently export its products to Germany (Boesner Company) and Canada (Saltmatters.com).
- was selected as a finalist in the BBC World Challenge 2011
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