Nawas are the seeds for rural innovation and collective action in local communities.
Like date trees, Nawas blossom in local ecosystems. They are the people who guide rural communities through prototyping of solutions that better lives.
Nawas work with Nawaya to identify local opportunities, adapt knowledge to local contexts, and validate impact.
Connected to one other, they share ideas, experiences, and challenges – so they don’t have to solve issues alone.
WHO CAN BE A NAWA?
For their fruit to grow, date trees require careful hand pollination.
Nawas are similar. To help their communities thrive, they must be people of character, with strong values, passion, and motivation to see change in their communities.
They must be acutely familiar with regional contexts and languages; demonstrate an ability to create deep and trusting relationships; be skilled at identifying local talents and resources; and be a natural communicator for complicated concepts across diverse people.
Nariman has guided artisanal food producers in Cairo and its rural outskirts through the development of a collaborative network.
Sara has worked closely with a group of rural women to help establish a start-up food business based on their heritage food skills.
Mohammed has helped communities design rooftop gardens for environmental sustainability in Egypt.
Yasmine has worked with rural women in Fayoum to co-design healthy food products for children.
To flourish, Nawas require fertile soil and diverse ecological conditions.
We invest heavily in our Nawas through long periods of online and offline training, guided experimentation in the field, mentorship and problem solving, and networks for co-learning and peer support.
Nawas become skilled in:
Relationship & trust building
Self-awareness, expression & talent development
Storytelling around shared identities
Connecting diverse networks
Setting common agreements: values, strategies & goals
Sharing risk & reward
Experimentation, co-learning & adaptation
Managing power & conflict
Identifying Shared Priorities
Comparing diverse needs, hopes & perspectives
Finding patterns for action
Leveraging technology for easy access to information
Researching existing knowledge for local needs
Translating into local contexts
Accountability "testing" for local needs
Shifting mindsets around alternative ways of working
Facilitating critical dialogue
Adapting to multiple literacies & languages
Identifying shared knowledge, skills & assets
Mobilizing local funds
Participatory video making
Representing rural voices in national/international forums
Contact us at to learn more about how you can support us through partnering or funding our Nawas program.