There is so much to learn as a volunteer, learning Bedouin lifestyles, new desert agriculture techniques, giving back to the community & exchanging cultural experiences.
The Habiba Organic Farm was founded in 2007 in the Bedouin town of Nuweiba, South Sinai. What was once a piece of empty, lifeless desert (in spite of its highly fertile soil), has became a production hub for wide variety of local grown organic products.
Collaboration between Bedouin natives of the Sinai, with researchers from across Egypt and France, and the generous efforts of volunteers from around the world led to the development of a high yielding, purely organic farm that continues to deliver healthy, fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs to the local community. Our aim is to highlight the benefits of organic practices to not only the local environment, but also to the communities that produce and consume our produce. The Habiba Organic Farm trials new varieties regularly, and acts as a hub for knowledge transfer between the farm, the Desert Research Center, Ain Shams University - Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University and the local Bedouin tribes (Tarabin, Jabaleya, Muzeina).
We harvest many plant varieties all year round, including eggplant and asparagus. Winter crops include Fava Beans, Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Kale, Beetroot, Salad Leaves, Rocket, Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Quinoa, Spinach, Onions and Garlic; with a wide selection of tomatoes grown under cover. Summer crops include Okra, Molokia, Peanuts, Melon, Water Melon, Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds. We are also growing mulberries, olives, pomegranates, corn, medjoul dates, and a growing selection of herbs; including basil, wild mint (habak) and rosemary.
The mission of Habiba Organic Farm is to promote sustainable agriculture and the permaculture lifestyle within Nuweiba’s local community and the surrounding Sinai, the farm aspires to set a successful example to be followed by locals across the peninsula.
Volunteering at the Organic Farm
Candidates for the volunteering positions will have the opportunity to live and work in a close-knit community of Egyptians, Bedouins, tourists, the local expatriate community, and farming experts who attend periodically to carry out duties at the Habiba Organic Farm. The recreational activities available in the Red Sea and the neighboring mountains and valleys are endless and breathtaking. The coast is dotted with popular snorkeling and diving sites, and nearby cities of Taba and Dahab offer many tourist activities. Weekly excursions to Dahab offer an opportunity to enjoy the "city" scene and easy transportation is available to Sharm el Sheikh, St Catherine, Cairo, and many other locations in Egypt.
Work varies by season and the most critical time is autumn (starting mid-September), the tomato planting season. Plant maintanence is necessary all year, in addition to working with compost and sifting soil for the Sinai Palm Foundation. Innovation and self-motivation is highly encouraged. Maged El-Said, the founder and chairman of Habiba Organic Farm, is eager to share ideas and plan new projects with volunteers. A typical day for volunteers begins at 8am in Winter and 7am in Summer and continues for 6 hours. Fridays are half days with excursions to the Sheikh Salim Market in Dahab.
Habiba Organic Farm is listed among WWOOF Independents in the world of sustainable volunteer tourism, the first one in Egypt. Many tourists and travelers have passed by to stay for a minimum of three months to give their best on the field of organic, desert agriculture. HOF is a Demeter registered farm and a member of the Center of Organic Agriculture (COAE) in Egypt.
In cooperation with the Desert Research Center for Egypt we can enable individual students and researcher a friendly environment for research and study for projects with flora and fauna in the desert.
The idea of Habiba is to be a field for experiment and pioneer projects. We stay in contact with many international doctors and professors for agriculture who can help you to start your project in our community for research and experiment, exchange and development.
We are happy to welcome you to share your knowledge and your experiences with the community, giving speeches and workshops and help growing this place.
Founded in 2007, Habiba Organic Farm acts as a community-based farm to benefit the people of South Sinai. Our farm serves as a beacon to what can be accomplished through sound organic farming practices in the desert. Local people have seen the result, and today agriculture is beginning to flourish across the region.
Through university and NGO partnerships, we are expanding the role of HOF in the region and are beginning to serve as a training hub for integrated sustainable development that serves as a model for Egypt's South Sinai and beyond.
What should I bring?
Sun protection including lightweight clothing to cover your head, neck and shoulders, mosquito repellant, sturdy shoes, work gloves, beach gear, and a sense of adventure. Most of the above is available in shops around Dahab and Nuweiba, but its perferable to buy your quality shoes and cargo gear before arriving. Winter gets chilly, even in Sinai, especially in January and February, so bring warm clothes for the evenings.
You are working 6 hours, 6 days a week on the farm and in the community on different projects depending on your interests, skills and expertises.
You will work alongside our farm manager, the founders and other
volunteers on the farm, with once or twice a week harvesting and selling
our produce at local markets in Dahab and Sharm el Shiekh. You will
meet and collaborate with local Bedouin farmers, sometimes helping out
on their farms, or helping to transfer knowledge from our organic farm
(and research institutes) to help aid in their production.
While you're volunteering, we will help you pursue other subjects that might be of interest to you, we believe that you should learn like a student and live like a tourist as much as you work.
A good example is joining the Habiba Camel Riding School, which will offer you the standard three-day camel riding course that will teach you how to feed, load, and ride your camel in a professional manner. The course entails a list of survival skills such as following the starts for directions, learning about dangerous plants, finding edible plants, and finding water in the desert. All instructors are Bedouin natives of the Sinai, all camels descend from pure Sinai breeds.
Furthermore there are numerous dive centers, which will be ready to offer diving courses.
The volunteers can also participate in yoga, meditation and have the chance to learn about hand-made crafts.
We provide volunteers with accomodation at the guest house in the farm or at Habiba Beach lodge on the sandy beaches of Nuweiba. Each room is equipped with beds, closets, sheets, and views the Aqaba Gulf. Habiba Beach lodge is in walking distance from the farm and the markets of Nuweiba. The farm is also equipped with a kitchen and two guest rooms. If volunteers prefer falling asleep while gazing at the silhouette of trees, the farm should be their top pick.
The meals are vegetarian and many components are from the organic farm . We also provide bottled water, hot drinks like tea or Nescafe (3 times per day) and fruits (served 3 times per week) .
You can also add 5$ per meal to get fresh fish, chicken or meat.
The chef at Habiba Beach Lodge can satisfy all of your culinary wishes, but any special reqirements should be communicated prior to arrival. Traditional Egyptian cuisine is our standard. Volunteers are free to cook their own meals with the ingredients provided by the Lodge or any other ingredients they wish to buy from local markets. The meals provided are mainly vegetarian to rhyme with our concept of farming and self sustainability. Our organic veggies from the farm make superb salads, soups and sauces.