Environmental Sustainability During COVID: Greenish

Greenish was co-founded by Shady Khalil, an alumnus of the 2019 Professional Fellows Program, with the intent to increase awareness of environmental sustainability and to empower and engage environmental activists around the Middle East and North Africa. Like many companies in 2020, Greenish faced many difficult decisions in the wake of COVID-19. After broken contracts and diminished interest from partners and investors, the Greenish team decided to sell their office space, which had come to embody their hard work and efforts. However, as the world slowly begins to reopen, Shady has both the hindsight to reflect on Greenish’s successful pivots and responses to the global pandemic, as well as the foresight to embrace new opportunities, streams of revenue and business models, ultimately creating a stronger Greenish.

As Greenish let go of their physical space, the team was able to reimagine Greenish within a virtual and even international context. Rather than existing as a stand alone entity, Shady and the Greenish team pitched their work to experts, investors and consultants, ultimately deciding to develop partnerships with universities and schools in order to make their mission more accessible. By expanding partnerships, Shady and the Greenish team recognized that Greenish is so much larger than just a brand; Environmental sustainability is not a “choice,” it is a responsibility for all individuals, businesses, organizations and corporations.

Recently, the Greenish team completed the first draft of their Educational manual, which addresses biodiversity, clean energy, waste management, food, water and agriculture. Up to 62 entities including schools and universities around Egypt from Cairo to rural communities in upper Egypt will be trained to implement the environmentally-focused curriculum found in the manual. Not only will the Greenish team personally train the instructors and facilitators, but also the facilitators will be encouraged to adjust the activities and content according to their local community’s needs. The experience-based curriculum emphasizes outdoor learning and includes activities such as debate simulations and role playing on macro and micro scales. By December this first of its kind, open-source manual will be available in Arabic in both written and video formats. 

As Shady and the Greenish team continue to support environmental activities and education, they are also cognizant of the need to diversify income. They will continue to host sponsored events such as Greenish clubs and competitions awarding innovative student projects; however, they are also working on generating more sustainable profits by creating a Waste Management System in Egypt. Six months after the onset of COVID-19, Shady has started to recognize the numerous lessons he has learned throughout the global pandemic, while also recognizing the value of time, “When you are in the experience itself, you can see a lot, but when you give yourself time to reflect you can see so many more things.” 

Looking for some additional tips on how to respond to the current global crisis? Here are some of Shady’s best practices: 

  1. Make Everything More Accessible: Whether by embracing virtual resources or utilizing creative practices; we will get through this by working together. 
  2. Be Prepared for Changes: Every opportunity comes with new opportunities and challenges. Be prepared to reevaluate your priorities, project management tactics, delegation practices and more.
  3. Create a Safety Net: While the world of business emphasizes risk-taking, it is also important to be prepared for the unexpected. Though you cannot plan for everything, you can prepare risk-management strategies, emergency funds and more. 

To learn more about Greenish visit their website at https://www.green-ish.org/en. You can also find Greenish on Facebook

The Professional Fellows Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Legacy International.