Laila Iskander

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Laila Iskander Daily News Egypt
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Laila Rashed Iskandar Kamel is now the Minister of State for Environment Affairs in Egypt under the interim government of Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi. Her track record in Cairo’s waste management brought her to the attention of the statesmen in her country; she is the founder of “Community and International Development Group” (CID), a holistic consultation firm which aims to bridge grassroots communities and giant manufacturers so they can both work for the good of the community. Her work with the “zaballeens,” or garbage people, earned her the “Goldman Environmental Prize” in 1994.

Achievements

Why Laila Iskander is Extraordinary

Laila Rashed Iskandar Kamel is a force to be reckoned with, indeed. She founded the “Community and International Development Group” in 1995 to help garbage collectors in Cairo become entrepreneurs and not just scavengers. She now serves as Minister of State for Environment Affairs under the leadership of Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi. She has regaled the world with her heart for service; although she has never experienced poverty, having been born into a wealthy family, it did not keep her from spending a good year of her life aiding the marginalized population of Coptic Christians living in the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.

Before she began serving the government of Egypt, she was first the Volunteer Field Director for the Rag Recycling Center at the Association for the Protection of the Environment. She has written books and articles telling the public and the government how they can best keep Cairo clean. In an article she wrote in 2009, she suggested:

“The sustainable waste- collection system advocated here includes the following features:

- A return to door-to-door collection;
- The need for public- awareness campaigns in the media, among NGOs, at schools and so on, asking residents to divide their waste into organic and non-organic materials;
- An end to the distribution of plastic bags, since these are bad for the environment;
- Payment for the service from government and municipal finance;
- The organisation of unemployed young people working in the waste- collection sector into small teams, companies, or cooperatives to serve low- income neighbourhoods;
- The introduction of unemployed young people to a "clean collection" and recycling trade that includes sorting, recovering, processing and trading;
- The extension of credit and electricity to all small and medium-sized collectors and recyclers;
- The issuing of licences according to neighbourhood;
- The direction of organic waste to composting plants and the need to ensure that collectors are paid by the plants for clean organic waste." (SOURCE: Al-Ahram Weekly)

With the founding of CID Consulting, she was able to put her vision to practice. She was also behind the schools and other livelihood industries in Mokattam. Prior to that, she received the “Goldman Environmental Prize” in 1994. In 2006, she received the “Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship.”

Top Reasons why Laila Iskander is Extraordinary

  1. She collaborated with garbage collectors and founded an informal recycling school in 1982.
  2. She received the “Goldman Environmental Prize” in 1994.
  3. She founded “CID Consulting” in 1995.
  4. She once acted as UNESCO’s UNLD Resource Person for the Arab region.
  5. In 2006, the CID received the “Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship.”
  6. She once acted as Director and Lead Author of the Business Solutions for Human Development Report.
  7. She now serves as Minister of State for Environment Affairs.
  8. She once served as a consultant to the Egyptian Minister of Environment on Waste Management.
  9. She was a jury member for UNESCO’s “International Literacy Prize.”
  10. She has also been involved in other livelihood industries in Mokattam.

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