Thursday, May 10, 2012

Better World NGO @ Civic Engagement Day - AUC

Society isn't free of errors that haunt us till this very moment. They range from social, environmental to economic reasons, and are rather not easy to address. This is where Civic Engagement comes in.

Better World's Booth
In short, it is the act of identifying a public problem and addressing it, and thus serving our society. the Civic Engagement Day at the American University in Cairo (AUC) is an event designed to provide awareness to the possibility of helping  the society through means that are not limited to donations. The event was organized by the Gerhart Youth Leadership Program and involved 19 participating NGOs, including the one I work at, Better World.

This is an organization that started on 2006 with the idea of closing the gap between skilled graduates and those unfortunate not to receive education. Founded and run by students of different nationalities, it focuses on four aspects:
  1. Delivering the required knowledge for today's job markets at minimal prices. (That cover the cost of the semester-long course)
  2. Analyzing today's social matters and formulating a solution.
  3. Researching environmental issues and also formulating a solution.
  4. Providing entrepreurial training and consultancy.
Banners to attract attention
We were there to aware students of our cause and recruit them, or even form partnerships with other participating NGOs. I came up with an idea of writing small banners with "Volunteering opportunities" and "Support for entrepreneurial ideas" (Pictured), which I believe attracted attention and helped contribute in the 35 contacts we obtained for recruiting! We all did a great job when talking to people and conducting interviews. I believe we were the most successful organization there as we were the last to leave and I think the most interacted with as well.

There was actually a session that introduced two things: A masters degree in Community Psychology and a beta website (http://www.ngotoolbox.org/) which gives NGOs the resources they need to better understand the local communities. Believe it or not, the big news for me here is not the latter, I'm actually hooked by the idea of community psychology. You have to think about it, imagine contributing to society with the help of engineering knowledge? In other words, wouldn't it be great if we initiated an NGO that builds cheaper electronics for education in rural areas? Wouldn't it be great if we made development easier to understand for everyone to learn and make use of? It's about REAL technological advancement in society.

Last but not least, I would love to thank my team for their hard work, deeply thank our director H. Amin; Better World has been the true starting point of my success, and what it's given me is priceless! I'd also like to thank the AUC for inviting us over. Let this be a true starting point for true engineering!

Allow me to add that the AUC campus is phenomenal!

AUC Library at night

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