This profile was prepared when Raghda Butros was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Raghda believes donor-driven development strategies have resulted in a culture of apathy and dependence. By providing all citizens, rich and poor alike, with the appropriate skills, information, and opportunities they need to maximize their own personal potential, she is empowering her community to achieve their common aspirations and transform their apathy into reciprocal responsibility. Raghda is bringing people of all walks of life together, from the most disadvantaged to the highly privileged, to challenge the existing social structure which keeps citizens unengaged in the issues that affect their lives. In promoting and supporting active community engagement and participation, she aims to combat feelings of victimization and defeat among the poor, as well as feelings of apathy, fear and resentment among the privileged. Raghda’s model works at multiple levels and with different partners. The private sector provides funding and expertise to her initiative, while local community members play a key role in designing and implementing development initiatives. By mobilizing a diverse range of community members and volunteers, Raghda has been able to revitalize a low-income community from within, proving that there is less of a need to rely on international donors than many in her country believe.