Radwa Rostom - CEO and founder of Hand Over Projects- Egypt
2021 WE Empower Finalist, Middle East and North Africa
Modern building techniques used by most design and construction companies are not environmentally sustainable. Hand Over aims to transform the construction industry through the use of natural and renewable materials. Founded by Radwa Rostom, a multiple award winning civil engineer, Hand Over fosters sustainable development through its approach to individual projects, buildings and spaces in addition to directly providing homes for underprivileged communities.
Radwa Rostom and Hands Over
Stemming from an 11 year background in environmental construction, consultation, project engineering and other relevant fields, the idea of Hand Over was born from Rostom’s passion for social change and sustainability. This enthusiasm for change, in April 2015, led Radwa to be ranked by Arabian Business magazine as number 30 of the 100 most powerful Arabs under 40. Not only does Hand Over create sustainable, earth-built projects but they involve communities within the building process through participation and workshops. Challenging the traditional building sector, Hand Over fosters multiple UN SDGs which promote building activity that “lowers carbon emissions, reduces energy consumption, improves indoor air quality and creates sustainable solutions”.
The future of homes and community spaces
With the global population rising, creating safe, sustainable housing for people of all economic backgrounds is of extreme importance in order to align with UN SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Quite often the focus is shifted to large, metropolitan areas while small rural communities are left out of the equation. Hand Over finds the balance between the two through having a development track and a commercial track. Within the development track they work with “NGOs, local initiatives and governmental bodies to create residential, social housing projects, communal spaces and urban development projects”. The commercial track focuses on private sector work that involves individual clients and real-estate developers.
Past knowledge for future growth
Hand Over fosters UN SDG 13 (Climate Action) through utilizing local, natural building materials in the projects they create. The “Earth Construction” building technique uses natural materials such as sand, mud and gravel to construct houses and community structures. Before modern inventions and materials, the people of the past used natural materials to build homes which had little impact on the environment. Using historical knowledge, Hand Over is “reviving ancient building techniques and educating people about them”.
Like Rostom, it's important that sustainable development efforts are looked at through a community-based lens that strives for innovative solutions which benefit not only the people but the natural and built environment around us.
By Ella Schneider, WE Empower Intern