Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE)

The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) was established as a nonprofit in 1984 by prominent Egyptian philanthropist Yousriya Sawiris to improve the living conditions of garbage collectors (known as "zabbaleen" in Arabic) and their families in the Mokattam area of Cairo. APE's programmes focus on community well-being, particularly among women and children, and creating income-generating opportunities through recycling and up-cycling waste. Initiatives include: a composting plant; rug-weaving and patchwork workshops; maternal and child health; literacy classes; and paper recycling.

Related sustainable development goals

  • No Poverty
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Quality Education
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production

Focus areas

Focus sectors

  • Arts
    • Visual arts
      • Textile arts
      • Design
      • Painting
    • Humanities
      • Literature and writing
    • Arts & Culture
  • Development
    • Economic development
      • Community improvement
    • Business and industry
      • Entrepreneurship
    • Sustainable development
  • Education
    • Early childhood education
    • Adult education
      • Adult Literacy
    • Vocational education
  • Environment
    • Recycling
  • Health
    • Out-patient care
      • Preventive care
      • Health care clinics
    • Reproductive health care
      • Childbirth
      • Family planning
      • Maternal and perinatal health
    • Healthcare access
    • Public health
      • Water access, sanitation and hygiene
    • Health care quality
  • Public affairs
    • Leadership development
  • Sports and leisure
    • Community recreation

Focus populations

  • At-risk youth
  • Low-income people
  • Women and girls
  • Working poor

Focus geographies

  • North Africa
    • Egypt
      • Cairo


  • Children's club

    APE opened a children's club in 1993 to provide pre-school aged children (4-6 years old) with a safe space to learn, eat healthy food, and gain the skills to prepare them for formal schooling.

  • Composting plant

    APE developed this programme to collect animal waste from residents' homes and recycling it to create high-grade compost for sale. The income is then used to fund community health, literacy, recreation, and income-generating projects for the Mokkatam community. 

  • Literacy classes

    This programme provides community in Mokkatam, Cairo with literacy classes for adults and children who have dropped out of school.

  • Mother & child

    This programme provides training for midwives, vaccinations for pregnant women, and a safe space for women and their infants or toddlers to receive care.

  • Rug weaving, patchwork, and paper recycling

    Using recycled rags and materials, this project helps women create products such as rugs, bags, blankets, and gift items to generate an income for themselves and their families.  


Funding model

  • Impact investing
  • Pro bono services
  • Programme related investment
  • Volunteering

Primary funders

  • Yousriya Sawiris

Funding source

  • Fundraising
  • Private
  • Revenue generation


Board members

  • Yousriya Sawiris

Contact details



APE has an online store where it sells products made by women from the Mokattam community who using recycled materials from waste collected around Cairo. You can check out their products here.