Adam Molyneux-Berry

Ashoka Fellow
Egypt,
Fellow Since 2014
Icecairo, Nawaya

Citation

This profile was prepared when Adam Molyneux-Berry was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Adam is creating spaces which foster a culture of social innovation and green technology innovation in urban and rural areas. These spaces use participatory approaches to empower Egyptian communities to convert their daily sustainability challenges (agricultural challenges, water, soil, energy, food ...etc) into innovative, affordable, replicable and open source solutions to address their local needs. These solutions become responsible and inclusive green businesses improving the quality of life for the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) whilst providing opportunities for income generation.

Adam’s idea consists of four main components; three in urban areas and one in rural areas. In urban areas, Adam empowers youth to create innovative low cost technology solutions for sustainability challenges and convert them into tangible products and businesses (for example: developing a $150 solar water heater in response to diesel shortages). First, he established icecairo, acronym for Innovation, Collaboration and Entrepreneurship, a co-working environment targeting youth, especially unemployed, and pre-incubating their ideas. ICE Cairo provides technical know-how, prototyping labs for locally applicable solutions and business capacity building as well as shared community expertise. By harnessing the power of their network, consisting of technical and business experts, media, NGOs and policy makers, youth are ready for business launch and market access. Second, Adam is institutionalizing fabrication laboratories (Fab-labs) in engineering schools across different universities to allow students to prototype potential affordable tech solutions for sustainability challenges. Third, the physical co-working space and university Fab-labs are complemented by an open source, evolving e-learning platform that aggregates all the technical know-how of the resulting innovations to allow solutions identified in one place to be available for replication by other communities and youth elsewhere. The prototypes and products generated by the ICECairo community are used to create responsible and inclusive green businesses which improve livelihoods through sustainable products and create economic opportunities for young Egyptians to access new markets, additionally it contributes to the growth of a sustainable green economy in Egypt.

In rural areas, Adam established Nawaya, an Arabic word meaning seeds, nucleus and intentions. Through Nawaya, Adam targets the farming community, in particular small scale farmers, introducing a farmers’ apprenticeship program, a 2-year intensive program that develops agricultural skills, exchanges experience between farmers through farmer-to-farmer educational videos, integrates sustainable farming practices on their land, and solves farming challenges through prototyping and demonstrating opportunities for creating agri-businesses to alleviate rural poverty.

To convert sustainability challenges into viable green business opportunities in rural and urban areas, Adam uses collaborative design methodologies to foster synergies within each community (like Art of Hosting), which are internationally acclaimed for their ability to allow for integration between community members, crowdsource expertise and build on the shared power and experience of communities to reach desired solutions. This participatory approach creates a bottom-up model of sustainability that can be used to alter and create policy.

Adam’s idea aims to create communities that use local resources and skills to be self-sufficient and independent of subsidies or grants, allow rural and urban communities to solve their own challenges, turn those solutions into green products and services, and create youth employment that is socially responsible and environmentally friendly.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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