Using Green Building Techniques to Provide Affordable Housing and Community Centers in Egypt

Client: Hand Over
Firm: Shalakany Law Firm (Egypt)
Sector: Environment and Community Development
Legal Area: Contracts, Finance and Banking


Hand Over is an award-winning social enterprise that utilizes sustainable construction methods to promote community development in Egypt. Hand Over tackles climate change by using local earthen materials as building components while striving to empower underprivileged communities through environmentally-friendly techniques. Hand Over also empowers and trains architecture and civil engineering students and connects them with their local communities so they can work jointly on the design and implementation of new buildings.

At the same time, Hand Over collaborates with local NGOs and private-sector companies to facilitate the process. Adapting the “Human Centered Design” approach in all the stages of its projects allows Hand Over to meet its goal of putting the needs of the people it serves front and center in order to design new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.

Inspired by the sustainable building techniques she learned in various positions, Radwa Rostom founded Hand Over in 2016 and was soon selected as an Echoing Green Fellow. After she graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Ain Shams University, Radwa gained valuable experience in several positions ranging from project engineer in an environmental consulting firm to a corporate social responsibility specialist in a solar energy company. In these roles, she explored several fields such as energy efficiency, energy management systems, and green building.

In late 2016, Radwa reached out to the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation through her contacts at Echoing Green seeking assistance for contract reviews with various partner organizations in Egypt. She later sought the Foundation’s assistance in navigating Egyptian banking regulations to be able to receive grant money from a U.S. entity. In both cases, the Foundation was able to connect Radwa with Lex Mundi’s member firm for Egypt, the Shalakany Law Office, in order to secure critical pro bono legal support for Hand Over’s innovative mission.

“Social entrepreneurs usually face several challenges when they launch their startups and when they start to operate—challenges that are not relevant to their backgrounds and technical skills so I was grateful to have the support of one of the top law firms in Egypt,” Radwa said of her work with Shalakany Law Firm. “I faced some difficulties in transferring my grant that I received form Echoing Green due to my lack of knowledge about the laws and banking procedures of transferring foreign grants. Shalakany Law firm were very supportive during the whole process, they were familiar with my situation and their advice was directly on point. The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation team followed up closely until they knew that the case was resolved.”


Fighting Climate Change with Circular Economy Innovations

News On Purpose – August 2021

According to a new report issued by the United Nations on August 9, 2021, our planet is warming faster than predicted. Extreme weather, fires, flooding and drought are becoming common headlines around the world.


2020 Year in Review

News On Purpose – May 2021

In the face of uncertain times, Lex Mundi member firms rallied together to give back to their communities. In 2020 alone, 74 member firms matched with 99 social entrepreneurs on 202 matters. This is a record high for the Foundation! These numbers are a testament to Lex Mundi attorneys’ commitment to pro bono services.


Government Support for Social Enterprises Critical Amid a Pandemic Economy

As COVID-19 continues to ravage some countries, others seem to be turning a corner. Governments around the world are being tested, and whether a country is still fighting to contain outbreaks or has found a path toward easing restrictions, without active measures to ensure businesses survive and thrive post-pandemic, economies will continue to suffer.


Ensuring survival of social impact organizations during covid-19

The economic fallout of COVID-19 is upon us and coverage of its reach is prevalent. Stories of businesses closing their doors permanently due to the crisis proliferate the media. From government responses and record unemployment rates to fluctuating markets and threats to commerce, there is no sector left untouched by the global pandemic.


Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation and World Economic Forum Alliance Help Social Entrepreneurs Overcome Impacts of COVID-19

The Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation is among the founding members of a newly formed alliance of more than 40 global organizations amplifying support of social entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations that comprise alliance collectively support more than 15,000 social entrepreneurs in more than 190 countries. The alliance estimates that their work impacts upwards of 1.5 billion people.


Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Supports Impact Organizations Working to Advance Equitable Solutions to Address Systemic Racism

During this time of profound grief, unrest, and reflection over the mistreatment, abuse, and murder of countless Black Americans in the United States, the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation is proud to support our social impact collaborators and clients working to address systemic racism and advance a more equitable future.