Laila Iskandar – Egypt

Linked with Community and Institutional Development CID.

For Laila Iskandar, founder and managing director of the Community and Institutional Development group (CID), that opportunity came in the form of an empty shampoo bottle. Multinational cosmetic companies were frustrated that empty bottles of their products were being filled with bogus material, then resold as the real thing with the labels still intact. Who was doing the refilling? The garbage collectors, of course … (full text).

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Laila Iskandar – Egypt

Egypt: where and who are the world’s illiterates? (2005).

She writes: They have living memories of the horror of evictions and a city that never regarded their work as valuable. In 1974, the choice to settle deep in the ‘belly’ of the Mokattam hills was made consciously and collectively in order to avoid further eviction. They have never stopped serving the city at great financial and personal cost. Let me enumerate some of these costs:

  • unremunerated labour (they were never paid for the service of climbing up and down multi-storey buildings in Cairo);
  • gruelling work (especially for the women who have to sort the garbage by hand);
  • harsh living conditions and a lack of education and health care.

… (full text).

Visions of zero waste around the world.

Laila Iskandar and her Community and Institutional Development group (CID) took home the Schwab Foundation’s honor for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Egypt. We look at how she and her fellow nominees are setting out to change the economy as we understand it today … (full text).

The Urban Poors as Development Partners.

Many people believe that entrepreneurship is about making money, the more the better. Yet there are a growing number of entrepreneurs whose desire for money is to use it to transform society. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and Business Today Egypt are again launching their search to identify the leading examples of these sorts of entrepreneurs what some call social entrepreneurs … Laila Iskandar, winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Egypt last year, exemplifies this breed of entrepreneur. She founded the Community and Institutional Development group (CID) in 1995 in Cairo. Her academic credentials prepared her for career success, but an earlier experience working in the area of environmental sustainability and poverty eradication inspired her to create a different kind of company, a social business prioritizing social transformation while being financially profitable … (full text).

Development through wealth creation – The 100 Top Companies from Rapidly Developing Economies.

She writes also: According to the 2003 UN report on “The Challenge of Slums,” Cairo has three of the 30 largest mega-slums in the world. Two of these are Manchiyet Nasser and Embaba. The growth of informal settlements in the Greater Cairo area took place in a context of oversupply of formal housing units whose prices are beyond the financial capacities of low-income families and whose financing institutions served middle income rather than low income groups. Urbanisation on scarce agricultural land has been the dominant pattern in Egypt. Official prohibitions were not able to stem the loss of one million feddans of agricultural land to urbanisation. It has been argued that slums are a manifestation of social injustice, and that social injustice is a breeding ground for violence, extremism and instability. The widening gap between the living conditions of people who live in the serviced, formal parts of the city and informal settlements calls for the design of special measures for the inclusion of
the excluded urban poor … (full text).

Speakers and presenters from the Western world as well as from developing countries ‘challenged the future’ at the ISWA/NVRD World Congress 2007.

Laila Iskandar Kamel (Egypt, Day of Democratic Governance and Corporate Accountability) – Knowing how the working poor provide vital recycling services without formal compensation in the South Sinai, Kamel launched a new project in 1997 to harness the practical know-how of young recycling guildsmen in popular tourist towns. The project involved separating the garbage in the whole town into two components, food and non-food, refining the waste into high grade compost which is then sold to agriculturalists, delivering organic matter to the Bedouins who raise their goats and camels on it, and delivering the non-organic to a sorting and processing transfer station. Through her work with the organization Community and Institutional Development, Kamel is bringing together a broad range of stakeholders in each town to create sustainable tourism and livelihoods in the region. (earth

Laila Iskandar on ZoomInfo; and on Google Book-search.


WEF on the Middle East;

UNDP – Sub-Regional Resource Facility for Arab States;

Ecological Education in Everyday Life;

Singh, M. (Coord.) Meeting basic learning needs in the informal sector: integrating education and training for decent work, empowerment and citizenship. Dordrecht: Springer/UNESCO UNEVOC, 2005. 250p. (Technical and vocational education and training series, 2);


Environment and the Psychology of Behavior, a blog.

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