Women have always been at the helm of social transition. From uprising an international agitation for climate change to engineering the software algorithm, women leadership has a significant share in social transformation.
Meet Nermine Khouzam Rubin, who turned the wheel of human barbarism to rejuvenate the life of African people with water, food, and hope with her 501(c)3 non- profit venture Water 4 Mercy.
As the Founder and CEO of Water 4 Mercy, Nermine envisions redefining African villages by facilitating access to water, sustainable farming practices, and quality agricultural education, all based on a solid and firm foundation. She envisions expanding Water 4 Mercy to all of Africa and bringing dignity, purpose, and economic empowerment to its people.
Prior to Water 4 Mercy, Nermine has held various leadership positions in the healthcare and IT industry. She has an enriched corporate experience of Bayfront Medical Center, Gresham Smith & Partners Architects, Hospital Cost Consultants, and The Thomson Corporation.
Let us discover her social entrepreneurial journey!
Walking the Road Less Travelled!
Nermine refers to herself as a businesswoman with a significant soft side. She holds an MBA and MHS and has also held executive positions in healthcare over the years. She expresses, “I’m grateful for these experiences as they enabled me to become Founder and CEO of Water 4 Mercy in 2018, the project that comes from my heart.”
At Water 4 Mercy, Nermine is focused on facilitating human dignity while turning roadblocks into opportunities. Talking about challenges, she mentions, “Being from Egypt, I have seen deep poverty. I have seen how the cycles of poverty perpetuate and when people aren’t empowered, they cannot break free of it. That is one of the reasons at the core of what Water 4 Mercy does.”
Water 4 Mercy helps restore dignity in the villages by providing economic success, entrepreneurship, and education opportunities in the fields of solar, water and agriculture. Nermine’s experiences and background have also helped prepare her for the organizations’ challenges in raising funds, finding partners, promoting awareness within a multitude of channels, and getting donations.
Nermine states that after many months of extensive research and prayers, she was inspired to get to the root of the problem and permanently end thirst, hunger, and poverty. Water 4 Mercy now provides clean water, agricultural technologies, and modernized educational solutions to remote African villages with a team of implementing partners that include Israeli NGO’s Innovation Africa, CultivAid, along with a coalition that share the same HEART comprised of Don Bosco Technical Institutes of Africa, The Israeli Foreign Ministry, Start-Up Nation Central, The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Embu County.
Making an Impact
Nermine is keen on utilizing technology to enable easy access to water, food, and quality education. She notes, “Water 4 Mercy was voted as one of the ‘Most Disruptive Companies To Watch’ by Technical Era, a magazine for tech executives that focuses on success stories. An honor? Yes, but it came through hard work, learning by doing, and surrounding myself with knowledgeable people. My ability to connect with organizations worldwide has led to the overwhelming success of Water 4 Mercy. Working with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli NGO’s, Don Bosco Technical Institute and others, we bring water to villages formerly stricken by drought. Water is the necessary first step which then enables us to provide ‘miracle seeds’ from Israel to create sustainable farming.”
Water 4 Mercy is enabling the poorest villages that have no means to water to have access to clean water and grow food so that they can thrive independently. It’s not just a band-aid solution of throwing money at the situation, because the money will dry up along with the next drought. Nermine asserts, “Remember the adage of giving a man a fish vs. teaching him to fish? Our approach is a permanent solution to end poverty, thirst, and hunger.”
Advancing with Technology
With the socio-economic empowerment of African remote villages, Nermine team of contractors utilize technological advancement to propel sustainable farming and facilitate educational training.
Nermine states that the technology has contributed to Water 4 Mercy’s success. It relies on its partners creating the most advanced techniques in finding water and sustainable solar energy and farming. Working with Hebrew University in Israel and developing ‘miracle seeds’ that produce more output with less water our team is originating custom systems to educate and spread Israeli knowledge.
Changing with Time
At Water 4 Mercy, Nermine is focused on analyzing changes in agricultural innovation and discovering new ways of aligning her organizations with future developments.
Talking about the next big change in the industry, she notes, “We are strategically poised for major growth this year and next. Our successes in Africa are snowballing and will continue as long as donations, grants, etc., can keep up with it. Recently, we have developed Student Service Chapters of our organization where high school students can ‘adopt a village’ and raise funds. Educators love this program as it spreads empathy for all humans in their classrooms. Moreover, by planting the seeds in our youth, they may be inspired to work within the fields of solar, water and agriculture for the purpose of making a difference in our world. That is what we see as the next big change – the next generations.”
Water 4 Mercy plans its projects to be self-sustainable for generations to come. One of its missions with its Agricultural Innovation and Technology Centers (AITeCs) is to “teach the teachers to teach.” It educates and empowers the villagers to then educate and empower the next generation. Nermine believes this model will help grow the village inside out and create ownership over the opportunities.
Nermine is making efforts with many industries, from improving agriculture to training, education, and commerce. She says, “It’s a long road, but I would like to change the perception of philanthropy. It’s not enough to give them the ‘tools’, it is imperative to teach them to be autonomously using them.”
A Walk into the future
Speaking about the company’s future goals, she says, “In four short years, Water 4 Mercy, along with our collaborators, has successfully relieved drought, hunger, and poverty in villages in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Our mission is to continue our process and turn Africa’ green.’
She concludes, “In the next four years, and years to come, I see all of our water and agriculture projects being self-sustaining, villages flourishing with drip irrigation, and technical schools training up the brightest and best talent all across the continent.”