The Green Arm
The Green Arm, established in 2008, is a platform for young environmental enthusiasts and nascent green initiatives in Egypt that promotes networking and harmonizing activities to address challenges of the urban community and promote green living, environmental entrepreneurship and activism.
It’s led by a group of young Egyptian environmental and social activists and experts who share the vision of widespread cultural change towards socially responsible green living in urban communities and improved health and sustainability in the cities and streets of Egypt. Among its key strengths is its outreach to youth and its understanding of Egypt’s evolving local conditions and needs. The focus area for this year is Sustainable Mobility and Urban Spaces, but the awareness raising activities are open to all environmental topics.
Our key strength is the network of young environmentalists and enthusiasts, and the core group of young experts. This gives us a comparative advantage of creative energy, demand-driven action, and powerful online networking.
Our Vision, Mission, and Values
GA’s Vision: A healthy, environmentally just, pedestrian friendly and fun urban environment in all parts of Egypt.
GA’s Mission: Raise environmental awareness in Egypt and catalyze activism addressing immediate priorities of the urban environment.
GA’s Values: Social & environmental responsibility, transparency, political neutrality, diversity, collaboration, pro-activity, sensitivity to local conditions and concerns, and “walking the talk”.
- Become a reference point for environmental initiatives and a platform for collaboration.
- Establish and expand a network of professionals, activists, and enthusiasts that collaborate and harmonize activities.
- Act as a springboard for young initiatives and activists and enable them to qualify for incubation or entrepreneurship competitions elsewhere.
- Promote the cycling movement in Egypt as a vehicle for social change.
Why the Green Arm?
The vibrant urban environment in Egypt is full of beauty and culture deep inside, and it can offer a lot of services to its residents for a better quality of life and space for green living and opportunities for green ventures. It is also full of youthful energy trying to fix, to solve, clean, and also make a living. We see many youth-led activities around us but there is often a need to network and harmonize these activities in order to act constructively. This also serves to voice the common concerns and interests to the policy makers and planners in a professional and organized well-researched manner.
The Green Arm was made to become this flexible platform in touch with today’s youth and environmental enthusiasts offering space and support for action.
A key driver is the observed environmental injustice in urban areas that needs to be addressed, which led to the focus areas of the Green Arm since its establishment. In big cities of Egypt it is observed that those who cannot afford detachment (the clean isolated home, the private car, office, and closed leisure venues) are suffering in their daily life, at home, in their leisure time, in their daily commute, and in every inevitable breath of pollution. The same is affecting the most affluent areas as well, although residents may resort to detaching themselves in various ways. Transportation issues and the friendliness of the outdoor urban environment is becoming the concern of all.
The Green Arm therefore aims to maintain its awareness activities covering all topics of concern to Egypt but to focus on this particular priority area during the growth phase; Sustainable Mobility and Urban Spaces.
Filling a Gap
There are immediate environmental threats affecting the quality of life (air, water, and soil pollution, climate change, urban environments, cultural heritage, marine environment and coastal zones, formal and informal staircase industries, agriculture, transportation, tourism, hazardous wastes, biodiversity and protectorates, etc).
Egyptians should be the originators. Foreign parties are too often the originators of environmental projects due to the lack of a local bottom-up national agenda to ensure ownership and to meet our real local needs and priorities, which can only be achieved through networking within the field and among Egyptians.
Policy makers need a competent representative body of the civil society and of the scientific community with a large outreach and local understanding to consult with in planning and decision making and to voice the concerns and interests of the civil society.
The high calibers in the field cannot find a professional space to collectively provide analysis, advice, and unbiased guidance, e.g. there is a big gap in sustainable think tanks.
Young initiatives are often being wasted due to the lack of guidance and harmonization of their activities, so their energy is often dissipated and not channeled/harmonized in a constructive manner.
The Green Arm therefore aims to address these gaps through a model that links the community with the policy makers and close the distances between stakeholders through its Programs.
Green Arm Programs
The Green Arm offers services through its following components:
- Outreach Component: A link to the activists and the communities through its Outreach activities (campaigns, awareness sessions, workshops, retreats, publications, and other experimental activities).
Components under establishment:
- Think Tank Component: A link between thinkers and policy-makers through its Think Tank Component (policy advice, research services, etc).
- Green Ventures Springboard Component: A springboard for green initiatives to qualify for incubation in NM or other incubators or entrepreneurship competitions.
All components are mutually supportive.