Catherine Exists - Community Co-op

Independent co-op aims to raise awareness of St Catherine; isolated mountainous area & empower its local Bedouins & preserve their culture

Photo of Rehab Eldalil
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Catherine Exists

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Egypt

Headquarters location: City

Saint Catherine protectorate, South Sinai

Location(s) of impact

Saint Catherine protectorate, South Sinai Cairo Alexandria


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The Sinai Bedouin community in St. Catherine, South Sinai, Egypt has been struggling for their civil rights for decades; being unacknowledged by the government, deprived from their lands, lacking proper medical & educational facilities, lacking equal job opportunities and being misrepresented in the media are some of the obstacles they face on daily basis. Tourism which is considered their main source of income has been heavily impacted; dropping more than 60% since 2011.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Catherine Exists in cooperation with the local community & Hand Over is building a community center where local residents are able to access medical services, take classes, & pursue incomegenerating activities. We aim to support locals in managing & sustaining the center while expanding the program impact. The center also provides facilities for travelers to stay, learn about the local culture, attend classes conducted by locals; experts in agriculture & other fields and volunteer in the local community. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the locals; providing medical & educational facilities & creating an inclusive platform for them to connect, learn from & teach visitors from across the globe, sustain the locals’ economic situation by providing income generating activities & opening job opportunities, create a platform for intercultural dialogue between the local & outside communities & open a space to connect & learn from each other. The center’s opening in 2018.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

1. Healthcare: Only 1 public hospital is available for a community of 10K+ individuals & physicians are often absent. We provide a free primary health care & first aid unit. 2. Income: We work to revive tourism by offering activities for visitors in order to increase job opportunities for the locals along with introducing new working fields. 3. Education: We provide tutoring classes for children & adults in various subjects from languages to computer skills to expand the local’s knowledge & work capacities. Over 120 tutor has signed up for 2018. 4. Social inclusion: Create volunteering & touristic activities for intercultural dialogue. In 2017 we recruited 30+ volunteers who’ve had long lasting relationships with the local community. 5. Environment: community center itself is being built with traditional rock methods and rammed Earth and includes composting toilets and solar energy making the center a sustainable environment friendly space. We promote ecotourism & sustainable living

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

We are supported by the following methods: 1. Individual donations/gifts: The estimated budget for 2018 is 2000USD 2. Income generating activities: The estimated budget for 2018 is 5000USD 3. Grants: We have not yet been able to secure a grant but we are working to secure 5000USD to help us in the first year in 2018 By 2019 we will only depend on our income generating activities and occasional donations.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

1. We are one of the few initiatives in Egypt that focuses on empowering indigenous communities while respecting, preserving and sustaining its rich cultural and natural heritage 2. We are a cooperative initiative; collaborating with the local community to create this center 4. We are able to work with volunteers and engage them in a larger support family 3. Our initiative is based on values of love, understanding and tolerance, promoting social equality and inclusion.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Since I was a child I used to go to St. Catherine for its mesmerizing historical sites and mountains. When I started college I began going with friends, it is where I first practiced my photography skills to start my career, it is where I used to study for college exams without distractions, it is where I go for selfdiscovery & spiritual awake nesses and is where I met my now husband & co-founder. Saint Catherine's protectorate has always been very close to my heart, it has been proving every day how precious it is to me. I started Catherine Exists because I felt that it was misrepresented & highly neglected and I want to give back to this very precious land and its people, I simply want to give back to a place that has given me so much throughout the years, my motivation is the people who've become my family & now have so much hope in me and in what I'm doing.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Sebastian Gatica

Dear Rehab,

Congratulation for your initiative. I am also involved with local communities, I my case thorugh community based tourism. Please have a look on afterwards. Best and good luck! Sebastian