Interview with Naqa’a: Saudi Women Fighting For The Environment

naqaa'a-saudi-women-environment-climate-change


Members of Naqa’a: Norah Magraby, Mona Othman, Muna Alamer, Elham Uthman, Reem Oudah, Amal Aljuhani, Wafaa Aljuhani and Shaima’a Alhajj.

For over five years, a small group of young Muslim women have been hard at work in Saudi Arabia helping to fight climate change. Naqa’a, the environmental enterprise, was setup with the aim of introducing environmental practices to organizations and spreading  Islam’s green message to the masses. The founders of the group were even selected by the White House to participate in the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. Arwa caught up with Norah Magraby, a full-time nurse who manages the organisation in her spare time, to find out more about their work, the biggest issues facing Saudi Arabia and the role that all Muslims must play in protecting the environment.

How did Naqa’a coming into being?

The idea of Naqa’a, or I must say the passion for improving our environmen, started 5 years ago and it was shared between myself, Mona Othman and Muna Abdulkadir. We were inspired by environmental concerns during our undergraduate studies and as a result we established the first Green Society on campus to offer us an outlet for our passion. However, we have always wanted to have our own environmental business or project that would promote a greater positive change in our community as a whole so over a year ago (July 2009), we founded Naqa’a.

What are the main aims of the organisation?

Our main target is to involve our community youth in the great mission of preserving our planet and promoting greenery. We want to be a living example of how young people can be the drivers of change in a country like Saudi Arabia. We also want to transfer our community to a whole new level of eco-friendliness across all age groups and sectors by providing practical environmental solutions combined with awareness.

What work and projects have you been involved in so far?

We have successfully initiated and are currently managing the recycling system in Dar Al-Hekma College, and now we are planning to transfer the whole campus into a green one. We also helped to organizs many green events in the city of Jeddah such as the Gulf Environmental Forum 2009 and the Jeddah Environmental Forum 2008. Moreover, we have delivered environmental workshops in schools settings aiming to deliver our message to the younger generation. And last but not least, we are now implementing various green practices in different organizations and companies within Saudi Arabia in an effort to help them to be green.

What have reaction been to the organisation? Where you surprised by these reactions?

We always receive positive reactions to our environmental projects and are appreciated by other organizations and by the media. Many people approach us offering their help because they appreciate the idea and most importantly because they are aware of the environmental situation in Saudi Arabia and want to be part of the change for the better. We find this really encouraging.

What are the major environmental issues that you feel Saudi Arabia is facing?

Mainly it can be summarize by the major lack of water resources, the generation of a massive amounts of waste, the faulty disposition of general waste, massive materialistic consumption and pollution.

What inspires you, personally, to be more eco?

At first, it was noticing and realizing the major need for such attention in Saudi Arabia that caught my interest and encouraged me to become more eco. However, what got me personally interested is the fact that this is an Islamic duty that I have to carry out since I came to know that knowledge.

So does Islam play a big role in your environmental awareness?

Yes sure, it is actually a vital part of our mission statement as well. Many Muslim scholars have addressed many verses from the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet PBUH statements that urge us all to save the earth, preserve our water resources and to reduce our general consumptions. Concepts that have been recently adopted around the world have been in our Islamic teachings over 1400 years ago. We are really proud of our Islamic teachings and spreading it in the best way possible is one of our major awareness goals.

From what I can tell, Naqa’a is led by women. What role do you feel that women, especially Muslim women, can play in protecting the environment?

Naqa’a was first founded by 3 women; and then 5 more have joined us in the main team. We also have many male and female volunteers helping us in our events and activities. So yes, our core team consists of females only and unlike what most people think, it is not because it is a rule we adopted. It just happened that the most people who are interested in our cause are females. Which is in a way supports the theory of ‘Ecofeminism’. However, we truly believe that preserving our environment is a duty for every Muslim man and woman. Unfortunately, a lot of Muslims neglect that fact and go on with their lives messing our one and only planet. Also, our initiative is very small compared to the amount of effort needed in the Muslim world to promote the ‘Green Muslim’ concept.

If you could get people in Saudi Arabia to do one thing for the planet what would it be?

Cut the usage of plastic bags! I truly believe that the consumption of plastic bags in Saudi is the highest in the world.

And finally, what changes do you hope to see in Saudi Arabian community in the next 25 years with regards to environmental awareness?

We would like for environmental awareness to start with the new generations at school. Moreover, having an environmental center for the community would be a great step to highlight the importance of environmental conservation. And last but not least, to have all institutions across Saudi Arabia perform recycling as a duty enforced from the government.

Just a quick thanks to Norah for taking time out of her hectic life to answer these questions!

::For More on Islam and Environment see:

Eid Al-Adha: The Muslim Festival of Meat?

Mekkah Metro” Marks A Green Hajj For Pilgrims

How Islam Could Help Fight Water Scarcity

Comments

comments

23 thoughts on “Interview with Naqa’a: Saudi Women Fighting For The Environment”

  1. こことofcourseの一人一人が共有しているデータ 完全にきれいによくが起こっている、それはだ、 純粋 優れた、書き込みを維持します。
    お陰様で完売再入荷 2015春夏新色追加

  2. あなたがしている非常に 有用 サイト; ことができませんでした屋ずにそれを作ります!
    小物で春感をプラスするなら 店内全品ポイント10倍

  3. 実際には本当に いいと役立つ便利なの一部なものです。 私は私たちと一緒に| 情報情報 |この有用役に立ちを共有 。このように|私たちは最新の通知 | 保つ滞在してください。共有のために| おかげありがとうございます。
    おすすめ入荷 店内全品ポイント10倍

  4. 思考の心私| 学ぶ読み | そのようなあなたとあなたのような!電子ブック|この、あなたのような | 約約 本書い。 |ドライブ|圧力| 力にパーセント% いくつかのいくつかので行う パワーメッセージ家 少し、しかし 以外のことは 素晴らしいブログ。読ん 。 私はよ 間違いなく戻って。
    正規品クーポン 店内全品ポイント10倍

  5. こんにちは |あなたの存在、私が発見し、私が見つかりました サイト を介してを介して |ながら、同時にGoogleの関連 トピック、あなたのウェブサイトは 思い付いた、それは思わ偉大|}のように{良いように見えます|のようですが表示されます。 私がしたのGoogleブックマークにそれをブックマークし。
    店内全品ポイント10倍 高品質、低価格の

  6. However, it iss typically referred to ass onee ihch at
    100 yards, two inches at 200 backyards, and so on

    my webpage … best long range rifle scope under 1000 – christopherwil.livejournal.com

  7. 読んだ後、この素晴らしい こんにちは ポスト私はだけでなく うれしい 友人とここノウハウ |知識| |精通私の経験を共有すること喜ん。
    Hot高級品 店内全品ポイント10倍

  8. ねえあり。 MSN | ウェブログあなた| 私が発見した私が見つかりました。 つまりこれは 非常に よく書かれた記事。 私がします ことを確認してくださいブックマークにそれとリターンの読みを もっとあなた役に立つの情報。ポスト| おかげで、ありがとうございました。 カムバック | 確かに間違いなく | 私は意志私がよ。
    店内全品ポイント10倍 全国無料ランキング

  9. 、その素敵 こんにちは 約メディアプリント、我々はすべて のソースであるメディア理解。
    まで特別送料無料! 2015春夏新色追加

  10. 単に したい状態| |指摘急行|言及| |あなたに伝えストレス ラッキー I ウェブページ ページ内のウェブサイトあなたの来ましたページ !。
    14時までのご注文は即日発送 2015春夏新色追加

  11. 本当に私 あなたのウェブサイト .. 非常に素晴らしい色&テーマ。 この素晴らしいサイトあなたはビルドなかった自分自身? 私の非常に自身の作成私は だとして戻って返信してくださいサイトと 見つけるあなたはこのを持ってどこかテーマはと呼ばれているだけで何という名前が付けられます。 賞賛!
    [url=http://www.ristorantepesce.pescara.it]好評につき、新色追加&再入荷 商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント[/url]

  12. | 多大それウェブサイト かなり多くので多くのあなたのために。
    [url=http://www.murcianos.es]ギフト包装無料 商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント[/url]

  13. 、このライトアップと上のスポット このウェブサイトの注目サイトは} {多くを必要とします。私でしょう、より多くのためのおかげで| を介して読み取るために読むために 再び戻っ 情報!
    [url=http://www.esteticamilano.arbua.it]商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント 最安値に挑戦中[/url]

  14. あなたたちは通常、何あまりにも私は本当に好き。 この 報告露出が賢い仕事と!私|私たち| |私の個人的な私の| に君たちを追加して組み込まれた私がしたみんなの作品素晴らしい極上追いつきます自身ブログロール。
    [url=http://www.azergo.fr]特典付きキャンペーン 商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント[/url]

  15. Arwa says:

    Thanks for your comment Shala- couldn’t agree more.

    @Maurice: To rephrase Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, ‘just because you’ve read Oliver Twist doesn’t mean that you know what it feels like to be an orphan.’

    Peace

  16. Maurice Picow says:

    Hi all,

    I admit my comments are from watching news programs and documentaries about how women are treated in countries like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and even in the Emirates. I also recall the docos on Carmin Bin Ladin, ex-wife of Osama’s brother, who wrote two very descriptive books on the how life was for her in the Kingdom.

    What more can I say,ladies?

  17. Shahla says:

    Maurice Picow – I’m guessing you wrote that comment based on pure inaccurate stereotypes. Unless you actually live in Saudi Arabia and have experienced the life style here, you have no right to such assumptions. I’ve lived my whole life in the same city these ladies live in and what you said can’t be further from the truth. And would people stop with “women can’t drive” line already? Huge portion of the population here have private drivers (not to mention more women than men own cars)! I’m not saying it’s perfect, but seriously? It’s Not that big of a deal!! Get over it -_-

  18. Arwa says:

    I’d like to think that this article is proof that women in Saudi CAN stand up for what they believe and that they even praised for it…

  19. Maurice Picow says:

    It seems that these ladies are taking a hell of a risk in a society that does not even let women show their faces in public, much less drive a car. Even going to the supermarket has to be in the company of a male relative.

    1. Maybe you are perpetuating a stereotype?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × five =