The Social Initiative Forum (SIF) is a platform for all those interested in working towards the realisation of a holistic vision of sustainable development. Heliopolis University (HU) became the venue on 3 and 4 November for activists who want to turn their own, and SEKEM’s, vision into reality. The forum focused on how to integrate a holistic approach that includes environmental, social, cultural and economic aspects. The event was supported by the MedUP project and the KHNA project.
High level representatives from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, the German Association for International Cooperation, and the Organisation for Community and International Initiatives participated in the SIF Egypt. In total, the event had 1516 participants, among them around 300 farmers, and 75 volunteers.
SEKEM and the University of Heliopolis launched the SIF Egypt, modelled on the international SIF. The main aim is to create awareness about the role of partnerships between different sectors in achieving sustainability and realising a holistic vision.
Social and societal sphere
The Social and Society dimension addressed issues such as sustainable development for rural areas, models for community initiatives and their role in society, women’s empowerment or inclusion.
Among the topics discussed in the area of environment were the so-called “true cost accounting” method and the economic cost comparison of biodynamic and conventional agriculture. Other topics were certification and how to increase the share of organic agriculture in Egypt. The German Society for International Cooperation participated with a presentation on digital innovations in agriculture.
Several young Egyptian entrepreneurs and start-ups participated in the SIF. Six panel discussions focused on how to support the young generation in creating an ethical labour market. There were also contributions on topics such as. social entrepreneurship, the circular economy, ethical banking and what it means to be a responsible entrepreneur.
Workshops, artistic performances were held as part of the cultural forum. Activities ranged from poetry recitations, theatre, performing arts, painting workshops to improvisation art.
The Social Initiatives Forum provided an innovative opportunity for start-ups to showcase their products and services and to establish relationships with local and international organisations. Promising partnerships and future plans emerged that will hopefully benefit the community on many levels.