In 2022, some camps are organising camp experiences for you to participate in. We are hopeful that they will be able to go ahead. Camps will follow the local conditions closely, and may have to cancel activities if the local COVID-19 situation forces them to do so. If you have already signed up for a camp-activity you will be informed when this happens. We will update the website also, when such decisions are taken. Please check your own local authority travel advisory to see if you can travel to or return from the camp after the activity. At all times, when at camps, please observe it’s COVID-19 policy (such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, etc). 

CAMP SEKEM WAHAT
Wahat-Bahareya, Egypt

Introduction

SEKEM Wahat is part of the Egyptian development initiative “SEKEM”, that has worked with unwavering dedication since the 1970s and transforms hostile desert landscapes into functional ecosystems and sustainable communities. 

Based on SEKEM’s vision, the SEKEM Wahat initiative is primarily relying on biodynamic cultivation of desertificated land. We believe that caring about natural soil management and organic plant growing is fundamental for sustainable development and people’s livelihood is ensured alongside. 

Inherently, the SEKEM community is based on an integrative and holistic perspective of sustainable development in every single activity. Apart from the environmental work SEKEM is building new sustainable and self sufficient communities, providing artistic activities for workers, families and community members, providing school education and is working on infrastructure improvements. 

About Camp SEKEM Wahat

The SEKEM Wahat farm was established in 2008, with the aim of bringing the desert to life by restoring the ecosystem and building a new community that serves it. SEKEM Wahat is located in the Bahariya oasis in the Egyptian Western Desert – a 5 hour’s drive, alongside sand dunes and rusty train tracks, from the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The camp is surrounded by a beautiful desert mountain landscape right on the edge of the ecosystem of the Bahariya oasis. SEKEM Wahat is a social innovation project that integrates ecological, economic, cultural and community life to restore desert land. Here, nature meets progressive forms of being, working and learning together 

The SEKEM Wahat camp is part of the SEKEM farm in Belbeis . Our main work on site is reclaiming desert soil and creating functional land.  At the camp we are already developing:

  • Home schooling 
  • Basic Medical center with general practitioner visits twice a month
  • Compost center
  • Pivot irrigation system
  • Bedouin campsite with a mountain view
  • Permaculture garden 
  • Artistic activities such as painting, body movement etc. 

Volunteer opportunities

We prefer long term volunteers, but we are also happy to welcome those offering short or medium term support, with the following skills:

  • Tree planting, nursery planting and seed saving
  • Greenhouse building
  • Compost making 
  • Soil restoration 
  • Regenerative gardening for food self sufficiency
  • Water supply and retention 
  • Renewable energy
  • Waste management
  • First Aid and integrative medicine
  • Artistic work
  • Sewer system and other construction work
  • Human development  (core programme)
  • Children/adult educational skills and adult vocational skills
  • Community building and governance 
  • Media work (photography; video making; graphic design)

If you don’t have experience in the above fields you are very welcome to learn with us through hands-on work! Arabic language skills are of great benefit but not essential.

What to expect at Camp SEKEM Wahat

SEKEM Wahat campsite is a place where your personal interests, skills, visions and talents are always warmly welcomed gifts. We appreciate hands-on people who take their own initiative to make that place continuously better.

Working in the SEKEM Wahat camp means that you will collaborate with SEKEM’s mainly Egyptian employees, volunteers/interns and engaged people from all over the world. 

Working in the Egyptian Desert – in a place where a lot still has to be established – means that not everything can be planned in advance. Flexibility and trust in the process as well as initiative are probably the most important attributes that are required.

Living in the Egyptian desert means that you will be confronted with a cold temperature in winter and high temperature variation over the day. Nights are usually quite moderate in summer/spring while it can move up to more than 45°C during daytime. We always recommend you to take this issue seriously. Stay hydrated and out of the sun! To protect everyone from being exposed to the midday heat in summer, we’re always taking a long break during the hottest hours of the day.

Arabic culture onboarding
We will take you on an on-boarding journey to learn about different aspects of Arabic local culture and learn about Bedouin traditions .

Bedouin desert Kitchen
Our kitchen is almost fully organic freshly picked up from our permaculture garden from the campsite. Our local kitchen chef prepares our meals freshly every day, except for weekends where we all gather and share our cooking skills. 

To explore in your free time
After work you can enjoy going to al-Harra where you can meet local people, enjoy Egyptian tea or a qahwa turki (Turkish coffee) and have a real Bedouin culture exchange. It is located 20 minutes away from our camp. You can also go to a bigger city called El-Bawity, a 1 hour drive from the Camp, where you can enjoy natural hot spring water. We are able to organise paid excursions to the famous white and black desert, located is 120 km from the Campsite. 

Accommodation and cost to stay at SEKEM Wahat

We offer basic shared rooms at the campsite, but in spring you can bring your own tent or use our Bedouin mountain view tents.

Prices are available upon request, but anticipate to spend roughly 1500 EGP per person per month for food and 1500 EGP per person per month for accommodation. These costs are dependent on the type of accommodation, and your duration of stay

Vision and socio-economic context

The overall vision for SEKEM Wahat is related to community building through land reclamation and biodynamic agricultural activities. Thereby we are following a holistic view on humans potential to live and to shape their surrounding environment in a natural and sustainable way. 

Due to a lack of job opportunities, infrastructure systems, food insecurities, SEKEM wants to face today’s issues by offering stable jobs, education, vocational training, medical aid and a natural environment that suits the needs of a flourishing community.

You can find further information about the project greening the desert here

For general information about SEKEM its vision goals and other ongoing projects look here.

 Established Camp

Organising Partners
Facilities

Camping-basic
Kitchen-vegetarian                               
Electricity                                                             
Cell service
No sanitation facilities or Wifi

Restoration activities

Water retention                                                 
Tree planting                                                       
Compost making
Soil restoration     
Food growing
Community building                                Natural building

Camp contact form

 

SEKEM is a very dynamic and inclusive organisation. If you would like to help in other ways not listed in the volunteer opportunities above, please complete the interest form below with your proposal:

What you must do to ensure your own safety at an Ecosystem Restoration Camp

Your safety is very important to us. Most camps are in locations that are completely safe for you to travel to. Some camps are in locations where there is civil unrest, higher levels of crime, or in areas where there could be severe nature events (earthquakes, tornados, vulcanic eruptions). We strongly advise you to check with your national authority’s travel advisory service to see if there are specific travel advisories for the region you are travelling to. We strongly advise you to comply with that travel advisory. If there is a negative travel advisory for the area you plan to go to, we want to impress on you that it is your decision to not heed the warnings and go. ERC can then not be liable in that situation if something happens to you.

Work at camps is usually safe. The camp coordinators make your safety their highest priority too. But you will be working with tools and sometimes even (heavy) machinery. Sometimes the terrain can be slightly treacherous. Heat or cold can become a problem for people at work that do not take the necessary measures to prevent injury from weather conditions. Especially in remote locations, all people at an Ecosystem Restoration Camp will need to watch out for eachother’s safety. For this reason we ask you to also sign our Code of Conduct, through which you commit to contributing to a safe environment at camps for all that are there with you. Take yours and all other camper’s safety seriously! Together, while watching over eachother, we can restore our ecosystems safely and successfully.

Contact us:

info@ecosystemrestorationcamps.org

Stichting Ecosystem Restoration Foundation /
Ecosystem Restoration Camps 2020

Joppelaan 77
7215 AD Joppe
The Netherlands

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