CAIRO: Every Cilantro outlet in Cairo, totaling around 28, chose a nearby area or street to clean up with the help of volunteers.
This comes under a partnership between Cilantro Community Program (CCP) and Nahdet El Mahsoura (NM).
The two aim to raise civic engagement in social development through “project and content based initiatives, CCP officials explain. They choose a new theme every two months, and are currently working on raising environmental awareness.
CCP’s “project-based strategy involves training Cilantro employees and volunteers on environmentally-friendly practices. In addition to street cleaning, Cilantro also uses recycled material for their napkins and cups, said Miral Zalabani, CCP’s cultural outreach and content manager. Moreover, waiters sort trash into different piles to be recycled.
Cilantro employees and customers chose the theme for this round; they voted for an environment friendly initiative, explained Zalabani. Cilantro’s goal is to be entirely eco-friendly by 2010.
The CCP, founded by Hesham Sweidy, was inspired by a presentation given by NM about their youth-driven development activities in Egypt. The CCP now works in partnership with NM.
The CCP engages different non governmental organizations (NGOs) into their initiatives. About 50 volunteers joined the environmental friendliness theme. They were put into contact with participating NGOs who trained them on recycling and waste management.
Cilantro also gives partner NGOs that share the same environmental goals a chance to advertise their events and activities in the bimonthly Cilantro Central newsletter and the Gig Guide – two Cilantro publications.
“The project has been very successful, said Zalabani. Part of its success, she continued, is that people care and want to do something to save the environment.
The eco-friendly initiative received a positive response from the community. Of the 12,000 customers that walk in to Cilantro on a daily basis, 65 percent are youths. Engaging them in these initiatives is crucial to the success of the project, and voting on each theme makes them feel part of the process from the start, Zalabani explained.
The theme for August and September will be dedicated to youth initiatives and NGOs specialized in youth related activities. The CCP and NM have already started contacting related NGOs to take part in the campaign.