Mohamed Abou EL Naga

Ashoka Fellow
Cairo, Egypt
Fellow Since 2007
Al Nafeza


This profile was prepared when Mohamed Abou EL Naga was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
By working to expand the traditional profession of papermaking, Mohamed is helping people in struggling rural communities in Egypt improve their living conditions. Through his center, El Nafeza (The Window), he manages a trainer of trainers program in which communities suffering from high rates of unemployment are endowed with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully embark on professions in papermaking. Using low cost equipment and trained craftspersons to aid with the training, he is helping a new generation of people start their own businesses.
Mohamad aims to help those most in need (particularly unskilled workers and women) attain employment. He also wants to reduce pollution associated with the disposal of agricultural waste by using it to produce saleable, environmentally friendly products. In doing so, he is eager to create a niche for Egyptian producers in the growing and lucrative global handmade paper markets, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the profession in his country and its future economic strength.
While his plan is based in Egypt, Mohamed has begun to identify domestic and international markets where it could expand, and hopes to do so in the future.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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