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Dedicated to thoughtful giving Advocates for change

Leading man

Values for money

Middle East, Africa, South Asia

Princess Banderi on the role of nonprofits in the new Saudi story

Billionaire activist Mo Ibrahim on reversing Africa's stalled growth

Meet the aid groups taking a fresh look at Islamic finance and giving

April - June 2017




Breaking out How a small circle of Saudi families is forging a new model for Gulf giving P.24

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How to do good tour - New York, Monday May 8, 2017

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Contents In this issue....

BREAKING OUT  � � � � � � � � � � � �������������������������������������������������������������������������� P24 Led by long-time philanthropists Khaled and Olfat Juffali, a small circle of Saudi families is breaking with tradition to forge a new model for Gulf giving. Hear how the Shefa Fund is pairing financial clout with out-of-the-box thinking to tackle pressing global health issues

ON THE ROAD  � � � � � � � � � � � � � � �������������������������������������������������������������������������� P28

THE MOMENT������������������������ � � � � � � � � � � � � P08 NEED TO KNOW� ��������������������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � P10 LIFE LESSONS ���������������������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � P12 GLOBAL EYE � ������������������������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � P14 ONE DAY ������������������������������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � P16 COMMENT ��������������������������� � � � � � � � P20 / 76 THE NEXT STEP ��������������������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � P81

Meet the coalition of Arab, European and US artists, filmmakers, photographers and journalists on a 20,000 mile journey to bring the stories, histories and cultural experiences of the Arab world to the heartlands of America

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From the web

ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE  � ���������������� P32

TAKING WING ������������������������������������ P56

Princess Banderi bint Abdulrahman AlFaisal, head of Saudi Arabia's King Khalid Foundation, speaks out on youth unemployment and the foundation’s role in the changing shape of GCC philanthropy

Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal, the philanthropist behind Dubai’s brightest arts and culture hub Alserkal Avenue, talks progress, patronage and cultural history in the making


COMING OF AGE � ������������������������������� P60

Lebanese social enterprise Recycle Beirut is exploiting the country’s garbage crisis to help get Syrian and Palestinian refugees back on their feet and to clear up the capital’s streets

Now in its second year, Philanthropy Age’s landmark Arab Giving Survey offers an unparalleled insight into the GCC’s charitable landscape – why and how people give, and what might make them donate more

LEADING MAN � � ��������������������������������� P44

VALUES FOR MONEY ������������������������� P66

Billionaire Mo Ibrahim is as famous for his giving as his business acumen. We talk exclusively to the activist and philanthropist about inspiring good leadership in Africa, and why today that progress has stalled

Across the world, the aid sector is staring into a funding void as needs outstrip donors’ generosity. Meet the NGOs taking a fresh look at Islamic finance in a bid to fill a $15bn global funding gap


NEXT GENERATION ��������������������������� P72

War and strife are part of the daily landscape in Afghanistan. But so, too, are the stirrings of new hope. One photographer has made it her mission to capture the nation's twin stories of loss and resilience

From Saudi Arabia to the UAE, hear from the pioneering social entrepreneurs leveraging financial technology, volunteering and energy efficiency, both to do business and to do good




Go backstage on our groundbreaking How to do good tour, a global series of debates on how philanthropy can – and is – changing the world


A roster of Silicon Valley and Arab entrepreneurs support the launch of Gaza’s first coding academy, to help Palestinians join the digital economy


Good business is on the rise in the GCC. Meet some of the entrepreneurs pairing profit with purpose, and using business to drive social change

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Philanthropy Age is published by Touchline FZ-LLC. The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in the publication, for whatever reason, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. The publishers take no responsibility for the goods and services advertised. All materials are protected by copyright. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photography or storage in any medium by electronic means) without the written permission of the copyright owner, except as may be permitted by applicable laws. Touchline FZ-LLC 402, Building 3 Twofour54 Media Zone PO Box 77826, Abu Dhabi, UAE Tel: +971 (0)2 234 4598

Contributors With our thanks to...

Touchline FZ-LLC 412, Loft Office, 2B Dubai Media City PO Box 502034, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 (0)4 568 3650

/ philanthropyage THE TEAM

Editor-In-Chief Leonard Stall

Editorial Director Andrew White

Managing Editor Joanne Bladd

Arabic Editor Fawaz Jarrah

Creative Director Matt Walker

Production Manager Anas Albounni

Senior Designer Liam Yeoh





Paula Bronstein is a photojournalist dedicated to covering humanitarian needs and conflict, particularly in Asia. Her work has won many awards, including the 2017 World Press Photo prize. Here, she recounts the hope and the fear of ordinary Afghans trying to rebuild their war-torn country.

Based in Paris, photographer Marwen Farhat’s work has appeared in publications as diverse as French news daily Le Monde and UAE-based Brownbook. Here, he captures the journey of a group of Middle East artists as they crisscross the US in a motorhome-turned studio to foster understanding about the Arab world.


Executive Chairman Leonard Stall

CEO & Partner Waleed Gubara

Publisher & Partner Salem AlShaikh

Subscription enquiries: Linda Musco

Business Development Mona Mahmoud

Contributors: Adrienne Cernigoi, Yu-Ming Huang, LaTigre, Mike McQuade. Images: Getty; Reuters; BMGF; Shefa Fund, Recycle Beirut, Culturunners, Marwen Farhat, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Paula Bronstein, Alserkal Avenue. ISSN: 2305-6525 Distributed by: GLS Media Services Printed by: Emirates Printing Press, Dubai


Mona Hammami is author of the book The Giving World and a director at the office of strategic affairs, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in the UAE. In this edition, she explains why the aid industry must unlock the potential of private capital to finance ambitious global development goals.

Omar Al-Qattan is chairman of the London-based AM Qattan Foundation. Established in 1993 by his father, the foundation is dedicated to the educational and cultural development of children and young artists mainly in Palestine. Read on for Al-Qattan’s advice on doing good, well.

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The UAE is among the world's biggest donors of foreign aid. It hopes to instil that same generosity within its young citizens

THE MOMENT / 11.04.2017

Charity begins abroad

UAE leads global list of aid donors as ‘Year of Giving’ gains momentum


spotlight, the UAE is leading from the front. Just months after branding 2017 the ‘Year of Giving’, the Gulf state has – for the third year running – been named the world’s leading donor of foreign aid, compared to gross national income (GNI). The country gave $4.1bn in development assistance in 2016, or 1.12 per cent of GNI, according to the Paris-based OECD. It is a ratio that shows the UAE is “built on great human values,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. “It has become a way of life that defines the UAE and it is felt around the world,” he said. Instilling the next generation with the same propensity to give – not only of money, but also of their time and skills – is at the heart of the Year of Giving. Announced by President Sheikh Khalifa in December, the nationwide campaign seeks to promote social responsibility among the private sector, through volunteering, and by seeding a sense of duty among young Emiratis. “Serving [the country] is a shared responsibility,” Sheikh Khalifa said. “The UAE will always be one team.” A survey of young Emiratis last year found only 25 per cent of those aged 16-24 rated ‘civic or social responsibility’ as one of their top three values. Just a fifth of UAE youth volunteered their time to a nonprofit in 2014, according to UN data. “The first step is asking ourselves exactly how we can make a difference,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai. “Giving is not limited to monetary donations. All of us have the capability and capacity to make a real difference in the lives of those around us.”

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“We must shift away from individual, fragmented giving. If we join our efforts, the impact will be much greater than we could ever achieve alone”



Gaza’s population is set to more than double in 30 years, signalling further economic woes. Foreign aid has halved in the past three years, the World Bank said

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE’s Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, reveals his plan to launch a philanthropy network for donors across the Arab world Global aid


Youth: employed

Silatech, the Doha social enterprise, had created and sustained more than 300,000 jobs for Arab youth by end-2016. Silatech said it had paired with partners in MENA to generate up to 1 million jobs by 2020

300,000 Alwaleed Philanthropies pledged $3m to the global fight to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The money will be disbursed over three years to the END Fund, a private initiative which seeks to wipe out five NTDs by 2020


Out of the poverty trap

The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by more than 100 million across the world despite a sluggish global economy, the World Bank said. Some 767 million people were living on less than $1.90 a day in 2013, its latest data, down from 881 million the year before, with the strongest gains in Asia

$3M 100M

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Overseas aid hit a record high in 2015, according to the Paris-based OECD – a club of rich nations – with donor countries giving more than $131bn in development assistance. Of that total, $12.1bn was spent on hosting and processing refugees in rich countries – around double the amount spent the previous year – raising fears that poorer states will lose out, as donor countries use funds to deal with refugees on their doorstep


Kuwait has signed a landmark $10m deal with the UN refugee agency to improve the conditions of Syrian refugees living in camps in northern Iraq

Crunch time


Global group aims to stop pandemics before they start A GLOBAL COALITION OF GOVERNMENTS

and nonprofit groups hopes to outpace future disease pandemics using a fund to accelerate the development of new vaccines. CEPI, or the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will bankroll research into vaccines for known infectious disease threats, with the goal of quickly containing outbreaks before they become global emergencies. C E PI ’s fou nders u se d t he World Economic Forum in Davos to announce its launch, with initial funding of $460m from the governments of Norway, Germany and Japan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. Bi l l Gates, co - cha i r of t he Gates Foundation and a cofounder of CEPI, said recent major disease epidemics such as Ebola and Zika showed the world is “tragically unprepared to detect local outbreaks” and to stop them becoming global pandemics. “Without investments in research and development, we will remain unequipped when we face the next threat,” he said.

“The ability to rapidly develop and deliver vaccines when new ‘unknown’ diseases emerge offers our best hope to outpace outbreaks, save lives and avert disastrous economic consequences.” CEPI has raised nearly half the $1bn it needs for its first five years. It is now calling for proposals from researchers and companies who want to work on developing shots against its first target diseases: the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Lassa and Nipah viruses. It aims to significantly shorten the time needed to make – and deploy – vaccines in the event of an epidemic. “Epidem ic s a re a mong t he most significant threats we face to life, health and prosperity,” said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “Vaccines can protect us, but we’ve done too little to develop them as an insurance policy. CEPI is our chance to learn the lessons of recent tragedies.” The coalition is also backed by major pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organisation and global health charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Percentage of GCC youth who think climate change is a bigger threat today than 20 years ago


The proportion of GCC youth who believe global warming will destroy existing jobs


The proportion of GCC youth who see the warming planet and climate change as a top priority

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Philanthropists and industry insiders share their advice on intelligent giving, and the experience they’ve gained along the way

Know the human and financial limits of your capacity as a foundation. Set realistic goals about what you can do, and what resources you can muster, and then act — Omar Al-Qattan 01

Don’t reinvent the wheel, or blindly follow trends. Try and focus on a specific area that doesn’t duplicate or compete for resources with others. Most of all, the idea must be coherent, strong and relevant. 02

Identify experts to help you and have the humility to invest in their talents. Wealthy people tend to have big egos. Being successful or well educated doesn’t mean you’re best placed to lead every project. 03

Effective ideas can come from unexpected quarters. In 1998, I wanted to launch a cultural programme and my father was wise enough to let me try for a year. At that time, culture was seen as a luxury. But it was so successful in providing education in the widest sense that it became one of the foundation's main interventions. 04

Omar Al-Qattan is chairman of AM Qattan Foundation, a London-based family foundation set up in 1993. The organisation is dedicated to the educational and cultural development of children. Previously a filmmaker, he is also chair of the Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture in London and chair of the Palestinian Museum


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The moments when you see the fruit of your labours make you incredibly proud. I recently visited our children’s cultural centre in Gaza, where up to 1,000 children a day can access a library, theatre, IT lab, and an arts and crafts lab. It’s an oasis in a bleak place. 05

Gauging success is complex. There are things you can measure – such as the number of children reached, or how money is spent – but long-term transformative change is subjective and takes time to materialise. Have the sophistication to acknowledge both elements in your work.


Truly effective interventions need the input of the community most touched by, and closest to, the problem. If you stay inside the boardroom, you invest huge sums of money that ultimately have no impact — Salvatore LaSpada


Philanthropy is described as patient capital. It works best when it stays focused and gets involved in it for the long haul. Donors need to stick with issues over time, despite the enormous lure to spread resources over a number of issue areas or, frankly, to give up when the going gets tough. 02

Preparing the next generation through training and early exposure to the family foundation is the best way to guarantee its longevity and vitality. The transition from one generation to the next is one of the hardest things to achieve.


Salvatore LaSpada is a global philanthropy adviser focused on family foundations. His former roles include founding executive director of the UAE’s Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, chief executive of the UK’s Institute for Philanthropy, and director of the Philanthropy Workshop at the Rockefeller Foundation

Find partners early. No foundation will solve the problems of the world alone. But you can solve a bigger piece of the puzzle if you stay focused on an issue, and collaborate with others.


Illustrator: Yu-Ming Huang

The philanthropic sector is sorely lacking case studies and research. Some of the best lessons for a philanthropist come from hearing how their peers have approached giving, but the need for evidence is significant, too.


A common mistake among philanthropists is making decisions based on impressions. An anecdote can be informative, but it is not a substitute for having deep, data-based knowledge of an issue.


Philanthropy Age



Change is coming to the Arab world. Faced with the largest, the best educated and the most urban population in its history, the first UN Arab Development Report since 2011 gauges the risks and potential rewards ahead for the region

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world remains in flux. From social and political instability, to plunging oil prices, poverty and marginalisation, nations are firefighting on multiple fronts. The UN’s latest Arab Development Report, the first since the Arab Spring erupted, shows many of the region’s gains are at risk of being erased. It reveals a fastgrowing, educated youth population – but one still outpaced by rising rates of unemployment and poverty. It exposes the region’s vast economic potential, but warns it is being stifled by red tape. Faced with the largest, the best educated and the most highly urbanised generation in the Arab world’s history, change, says the report, is coming. Government leaders, philanthropists, businesspeople and youth will have a pivotal role to play in helping to seed it, for the future good.


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The Arab world is home to 5 per cent of the world’s population. Yet in 2014, the Middle East accounted for 47 per cent of its internally displaced, 58 per cent of refugees, and 18 per cent of its conflicts. Military spending is up, but human development is down. Reversing this trend will be part of building a stable, prosperous future.





The region’s prospects hinge on peace and security. In 2002, five Arab states were mired in conflict. Today that figure is up to 11. By 2020, warns the report, three out of four Arabs could be “living in countries vulnerable to conflict”. Mediating ongoing crises is crucial to stop the past defining the future for millions.


Economic stability is tied to the private sector. Private firms hold the key to job creation, to luring foreign investment and to expanding manufacturing. Infrastructure spending, support for startups and stripping back red tape are all ways in which Arab states can set their economies on the path to inclusive growth.


The Arab youth population exceeds 105 million, and is its most educated generation yet. To reverse a joblessness rate of 30 per cent, the region must create more than 60 million jobs by 2020, and ensure job seekers can meet labour market needs. Private sector aid will be key to making this goal a reality.


Closer ties between Arab states could unlock vast economic gains. A customs union and easier travel access could boost the region’s GDP by $760bn over seven years, says the UN. Economic integration could also slash unemployment by more than 4 per cent, through the creation of 6 million new jobs.


Youth is an untapped asset. Young Arabs are more educated, aware and connected than ever before. Yet civic engagement in the region is among the lowest in the world, with just 9 per cent of youth volunteering their time. With support, young people can be agents of change, and the Arab world’s greatest asset.

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‘My job is to understand how people live’ Shelter is more than just a building and a roof over a family’s head; it is the bedrock for health, dignity and a livelihood, says Tom Newby, head of humanitarian at global nonprofit CARE International UK Writer: Adrienne Cernigoi

Right: Shelter is often both a home and a livelihood, says Newby


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A lot of the improvements are very basic, such as sealing off draughts, putting in doors and windows, and making sure they have access to water. It costs around $1,225 per household and CARE has already helped more than 18,000 individuals. Some of the conditions are heartbreaking. After five years outside Syria, most refugees have used up their savings and their lives are increasingly precarious. I met a single mother with three sons between 10-yearsold and early teens, and all three had to work. You could see the mother felt she had absolutely no choice but to sell her children’s future; it’s hugely affecting. With housing, part of the challenge is ensuring it works for everyone. Men and women have different needs and you need to have women interviewing other women or you won’t get honest answers. One frequent issue is a lack of privacy for women and girls to sleep or change, or the availability of washing facilities during menstruation. In some Nepali communities, for example, women who are menstruating have to live in a separate building. We find women are kicked out of the emergency shelter and have to live in something absolutely awful, even in a pigsty.


like food or water that is relatively cheap per head. In a rapid emergency the minimum goal is to get people under cover as quickly as possible. The broader aim is to help people into adequate housing that will help them recover. Housing is protection from the elements but, more importantly, it provides an anchor for wellbeing, privacy and dignity. You realise what a fundamental human need it is when you see the lengths people will go to – and the harm they will do to themselves and their families – to have a home. I’m a structural engineer by background. I joined CARE International UK three years ago to lead the global emergency shelter team, and I’ve visited around 10 countries in that time. In cases of natural disaster or displacement, I go out to talk to the people affected, assess the needs and draw up a programme of support. Lack of shelter is a livelihood issue. In many places people make things to sell in their homes, or their house may also be a shop. In the 2015 Nepal earthquake, people stored food in their attics so they went hungry as well as homeless. Without housing, people can end up in a downward spiral as their health, income and livelihood degrades. It really is a building block for all other development work. We very rarely give people tents. Tents are a last resort; no one wants to live in one. If you can do something more meaningful, you should. Across the Middle East we’ve helped more than 385,000 people in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq with upgrades to housing, vouchers or cash assistance. Most Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan rent accommodation. Our goal is to help them secure fair rental terms, pay the rent – about $200 a month in Tripoli, for example – and live without fear of eviction. We’ve been running the programme in Lebanon since 2015 in Tripoli and Beirut, which focuses on upgrading housing for Syrian refugees and Lebanese living in poor areas. The refugees live in pretty dire situations, although more than 80 per cent pay rent. That may be for an empty plot of land to build a shack upon, a garage or commercial unit, or even access to an outside toilet. My last trip to Lebanon lasted three weeks. It typically starts with a few days in Beirut to assess the needs of refugees. Each day we look at the security situation, before heading out with our local staff to some of Tripoli’s poorest neighbourhoods. My job is to understand how people live. We ask how many people there are in each house, how many families, what the sleeping arrangements are. Some of these can be sensitive questions. If there are adolescent children, boys may have to sleep in even worse accommodation, or outside, because it’s not appropriate for them to share the room. There is always a risk of abuse, sexual or otherwise, when you have strangers together. I mainly play a backseat role to our local staff; sometimes it is appropriate for me to join in, sometimes it isn’t.


Left: Addressing women's needs was vital in Nepal

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It is my job to understand the local, social and cultural context or you end up with a section of society systematically excluded from equitable support. Cold climates are the hardest to manage. There is little you can do other than provide heaters. The cost of building a really well-insulated shelter is enormous. In hot climates, the key thing is to provide shade, such as netting or a second layer over the shelter. After a natural disaster our default response is to provide emergency shelter kits. These consist of two big plastic sheets, fixings and rope. These can be turned into tents if needed, or they can be used to patch up a damaged roof or cover a hole in the wall. After typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013, a lot of building frames were still standing. People used the sheets to cover the roof and moved straight back in. The kits are very versatile and cost a fraction of the price of a tent – about $30 compared to $300. We helped about 16,000 households after that disaster with kits, training and roofing materials. We always favour local building methods, working with materials people are used to and which tend to be sustainable. Teaching people to adopt a new building material in a crisis is very challenging. There are both high- and low-tech innovations for housing, but there aren’t any panaceas. A great deal of


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misdirected effort is spent on ideas for tents, shelters, things that can roll straight off the back of a truck. But those ideas ignore the cultural, social and economic context – they drop something in, which never works. When it comes to housing, true innovations have to be either very local, or a component part rather than a whole structure. In situations where populations have been displaced, such as with Syrian refugees, giving people cash nearly always has better outcomes than just gifting a tent. The ability for people to make choices and buy what makes the most sense for them cannot be underestimated. Still, there is a danger of having a simplistic view of cash. There is no point in cash grants if the building materials aren’t available; if people rebuild exactly what they had before with the same vulnerabilities; or if the landlord is exploiting the tenant, for instance. You need to provide training or legal support alongside the grants. A big challenge for the sector in the next few years is how to provide support that empowers people to make the best use of cash. The job is difficult because it’s never quite as simple as providing someone with a physical object to live in. We need to see the whole picture. Only then can you provide not just a shelter but a home. —


Around the world, billions of people live at risk of poverty and disease. Financing ambitious global development goals means looking beyond aid to unlock the potential of private capital, writes Mona Hammami

Raising the bar: rethinking giving



complex and ambiguous. On the one hand, we have come a long way in improving the lives of the poor and the marginalised. Billions of people are on the move from villages to cities and megacities, spurring the transition from agrarian, to industrial, to technological societies, and on to developed economies. Yet on the other hand, colossal challenges remain. Poverty, hunger, water scarcity, climate change, disease and illiteracy – these are just some of the daily threats for many around the globe. While these problems are daunting, they are not insoluble. But they do require funding – and much more money than governments alone can supply. Income transfers and, in particular, remittances and philanthropy can make a vast contribution towards achieving global development goals. Alternative sources of funding can relieve the financial stress that is a byproduct of population growth and increased urbanisation, and help bear the weight of humanitarian crises. Used wisely, they have the power to transform development outcomes. Yet philanthropy remains underutilised, falling far short of its potential impact. In part, this is because the motivations behind giving – whether for altruistic, religious or tax purposes – are not sufficiently focused on outcomes. This is evolving. But it will progress much faster if we harness four key trends to make philanthropy more reachable, innovative, strategic and engaging.


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Let’s begin with reachable. Philanthropy is no longer the preserve of the wealthy. Technology has changed this dynamic. Anyone can donate to, or raise money for, a cause with crowdfunding and other online platforms transforming the way fundraising is done. Technology has also allowed charitable enterprises to scale up more easily, and enables greater monitoring of how funds are used. Technology has also given birth to a new generation of funders. In the past, the archetypal philanthropist was someone who had spent the best part of a lifetime creating a business empire, which in turn created the wealth that allowed them to embark on charitable endeavours later in life. Today, rising numbers of individuals are making their millions early in their careers – a trend typified by the tech boom, which birthed a stream of dotcom millionaires and billionaires. Many made their fortunes by the time they reached their mid-thirties before turning to philanthropy. Increasingly, these young entrepreneurs are applying skills acquired in their careers to disrupt traditional models of giving. Then comes innovative. Mobilising capital in new and more efficient ways will be key to plugging the shortfall in development funding. Consider social impact bonds, a hybrid of philanthropy and investment, where funding is tied to the outcomes of social initiatives. Governments use a proportion of the savings that result from improved social

Realising the UN's Sustainable Development Goals needs more money than governments alone can supply

outcomes to reward the private players that financed the programme. As a model, this leverages private capital for outsized social impact. Remittances and philanthropy can also be combined innovatively. Diaspora bonds are an inexpensive form of raising capital, where governments issue bonds to be bought by overseas citizens and philanthropists. This model – used to great success by India and other states – can be used to offset the cost of infrastructure and other key projects, and to accelerate economic growth. Philanthropy can, and needs to be, strategic. With the rise of the new philanthropist comes a desire to track the impact of giving, and to hold the beneficiaries of such generosity to account. Greater transparency is sought. There is an emphasis on measuring impact with new metrics. These include tools such as the social return on investment (SROI) method, which gauges social or environmental returns not reflected on balance sheets, and is gaining traction among governments, including that of the UK. With many of these tools, the aim is to focus on impact. It is about the effectiveness of the deployed funds. Lastly, giving must be engaging – this means cooperative philanthropy, which encourages and supports partnerships between different types of donors. With structured financing, for example, philanthropists, governments and investors can join forces to pay for projects that would not otherwise


see the light of day. Matching programmes allow gover n ment s , c ompa n ie s , or i nd iv idu a l s to equal donations to charitable causes they see as important, scaling up their impact and widening the beneficiary pool. Philanthropic giving has the potential to improve lives and plug the resources gap, at a time when the global aid industry is stretched to its limit. I am optimistic about the future and the power of the giving community. It is time to fulfil that potential. —


Mona Hammami is author of the book The Giving World, and a director at the office of strategic affairs, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in the UAE. She previously worked in management consultancy including at the International Monetary Fund. She is the founding curator of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Abu Dhabi Global Shapers Hub and was recently named a WEF Young Global Leader

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Relegating a disease to the history books is no small feat. Global eradication efforts need patience, unstinting effort and vast amounts of capital to push them over the line. In April, the fight to eliminate measles got a shot in the arm, when Saudi’s Alwaleed Philanthropies pledged $50m to the cause. The money will be used by the UN children’s agency to vaccinate more than 51 million children in 14 countries against measles and rubella, and marks the single largest private donation to UNICEF's efforts in this sector. Since 2000, measles deaths have fallen by close to 80 per cent, but the disease remains a threat to young children, killing more than 300 a day. As the end game nears, donor generosity could mean the difference between failure or success – and saving the lives of millions. Per-Anders Pettersson


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reinvent the wheel,” says Khaled Juffali, a Saudi philanthropist and CEO of EA Juffali & Brothers Co, the conglomerate owned by his family. “I’ve always felt that collaboration with the right people gives you a better result than going it alone. And in this case, I really think it has.” Juffali is outlining the thinking behind Shefa Fund, the Saudi Arabia-based giving circle he cofounded in 2013 with his wife, Olfat, backed by a cohort of close friends. Working hand-in-glove with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, its goal is to channel money so it has the greatest long-term impact on pressing global health issues. “Giving is easy,” explains Olfat Juffali, “but giving well is an art.” In four shor t yea rs, Shefa has pa rlayed its members’ financial clout – and the Gates Foundation’s expertise – into more than $9m worth of grants, helping to bankroll the fight against diseases ranging from polio, to malaria and meningitis A. Having exhausted its first tranche of funding, a second round of fundraising is planned for this year, with a target goal of $20m. “There are many people our age who want to give, but don’t know how or where to direct their money,”

says Olfat. “They like the Shefa story, and they like what we’re doing – they’re keen to support it. Like us, they want to learn how best to give.” Giving circles are not a new trend. Born in the US, they exist around the world, ranging in size from informal supper clubs to large-scale nonprofits with annual fees and minimum donation requirements. Givers chip in with money, swap ideas, strategies and successes, and determine together which nonprofits to support. But in the GCC, where philanthropy is still dominated by individual, often opaque, foundations, Shefa Fund represents a bold streak of innovation. The fund grew out of an off-the-cuff remark to Olfat, who was mulling the launch of her own charity, focusing on health and education. An advisor suggested she could instead fold her funding into the Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organisation, to deploy through its hive of programmes and partners. It was an idea that led to a lunch with Bill Gates in Saudi Arabia – hosted by the Juffalis and attended by a handful of their friends – and one that ended with a clutch of pledges and a newly inked blueprint for giving.

Breaking out Led by long-time philanthropists Khaled and Olfat Juffali, a small circle of Saudi families is forging a new model for Gulf giving Writer: Joanne Bladd Illustration: Mike McQuade

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“We made the decision that day to put our hands with the Gates Foundation and go with them on this journey,” says Olfat. “We were impressed.” What followed has been almost a crash course in strategic philanthropy: giving that thinks big, has a clear goal, and delivers an outsized benefit for the dollars invested. Most big-ticket philanthropists struggle up a learning curve, with the wastage and poor investments that go with it. Shefa members, buoyed by trips into the field and exposure to global health experts, have fast-tracked theirs. Today, using pooled funds, the 19-person group doles out grants to catalysing projects in healthcare shortlisted by the Gates Foundation. The headline idea is to offset the market failure affecting poor consumers of healthcare, by deploying money on their behalf to open up access to drugs and treatment. Done right, the Juffalis hope it will better the lives of millions of people across the Middle East and Africa. “It’s eye opening: the more you learn – especially during the trips – the more you want to help,” says Khaled. He recalls watching a line of children outside a free health clinic in Tanzania, queuing patiently in the heat for vaccinations their families could not otherwise afford. “We see first-hand the impact our money is making, and that’s a huge encouragement for all of us. It brings our philanthropy to life.” Among its grants, Shefa Fund has given $3.3m to the global fight to eradicate polio, $2.5m towards eliminating meningitis A, a disease which – before the rollout of a cheap vaccine in 2011 – erupted in regular epidemics in Africa, and invested $2.4m in ending the ravages of neglected tropical diseases. Its grants have reached some 16 million people in 15 countries – “a phenomenal number,” says Olfat – ranging from the Central African Republic and Sudan, to neighbouring Arab states Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. In 2014, the group made its first award to a project in Saudi Arabia: a $1.2m push to sharpen the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. A parasitic disease transmitted by tiny sandflies, leishmaniasis is not fatal, but its disfiguring lesions cause untold misery. The condition stalks the Middle East, affecting thousands each year, but rarely makes it on to the radar of aid donors. Shefa Fund’s grant – funding research at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine – has now turbocharged the response. The end goal is to wipe out leishmaniasis in Saudi Arabia. The tools developed can then be used to attack the disease in the wider region, where conflict and mass displacement has sped its spread. “Being able to eliminate leishmaniasis here; that would be something incredible. It would truly


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“In our part of the world, everyone wants to do his or her own thing. Shefa Fund is a change in the methodology of giving”


be an example of using money to the greatest effect,” says Olfat. In the GCC, Shefa Fund is an outlier. Its model blends the best of Islamic generosity with outside expertise, encouraging proactive – not impulsive – philanthropy. Members, by virtue of collective action, are constantly learning. Still, when pitched against more status-seeking ways of giving, it’s not an easy sell. “In our part of the world, everyone wants to do his or her own thing: start an NGO or foundation. They want to put their name to something,” explains Khaled. “Shefa Fund is a change in the methodology of giving. But, as private philanthropists, we should be agile.” This also means reapproaching the Islamic tenet that counsels discretion in charity, to ‘give

with the right, but don’t let the left hand know.’ “Giving is seen as a private matter, which makes it difficult to share ideas and collaborate,” he adds. In this, the Juffalis have led from the front. They have championed the fund within their own influential network, hosting dinners and then “very elegantly bombarding” friends with evidence of its impact. The Gates Foundation name has also served as a calling card, helping to combat any rumblings about how money may be channelled by global NGOs. Both, says Olfat, are keen to see the vehicle duplicated elsewhere in the GCC, and to swell Shefa’s donor base among the next generation. “All our children come along on field trips with us; it’s very important to us to pass that along. It’s a learning journey for whole family,” she explains.

It’s an added bonus that Shefa Fund’s model plays well among data-hungry millennials. “That’s a big change within the younger generation: whether statistically, or geographically, they want to see the numbers, and know the money is being used as it should be," she says. Another portend of change is the growing sp ot l ig ht on ph i l a nt h ropy a mon g G u l f governments. In Saudi Arabia, the trade bloc’s wealthiest state, the national economic plan calls for the nonprofit sector to generate 5 per cent of GDP by 2030. In an era of plunging public spending, philanthropy is taking on a heightened role – and one that may demand a radical rethink of how money is allocated and tracked. The Juffalis are doing their part to spark change. In 2014, the couple invested in an

experiential philanthropy programme at Northeastern University, US. The course, which sees students make dollar grants to nonprofits, aims to expose pupils to the complexities behind crafting and funding strategies for effective social change. Now, orchestrated by the Juffalis, a version of it is being taught in Riyadh’s Prince Sultan University, to school young Saudis in the art of strategic philanthropy. If all goes well, they hope to see it roll out in universities across the country: the art of effective giving, woven into Saudi’s national curriculum. “Philanthropy does not distinguish by race, religion or region, it all goes under one banner,” says Khaled. “This is the future: teaching young people around the world how to give well, and how to collaborate and learn from each other.” —

01. Shefa Fund has given close to $9m to tackling neglected diseases, including African sleeping sickness in Uganda and Chad

02. Khaled (left) and Olfat (far right) Juffali shown during a Shefa Fund field trip to Tanzania

03. The trip also took in a visit to a factory manufacturing bed nets to prevent malaria



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Marwen Farhat



diversity and nuance in terms of culture and history. More so than other regions, in many ways. Why don’t more Americans see that?” muses Stephen Stapleton, founding director of Culturunners. It is a question a coalition of artists from the Middle East, Europe and the US is trying to answer – and remedy. Winding across the US in a touring bus, the grassroots nonprofit has racked up more than 20,000 miles since 2014, in an effort to bring the stories and histories of the Arab world to the heartland of America. So far, Culturunners has teamed up with more than 50 artists, filmmakers and journalists from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine and Syria, among others, to stage art exhibitions and talks, and host workshops. Their project has taken them across 27 states, including during the recent US presidential election campaign, adding poignancy to the project. “Travelling across America, it is clear there is a lot of fear about the Islamic world. But it surprised me how quickly that fear disappeared after some of the encounters we had,” explains Stapleton. The project will carry through to the end of 2017 and hopefully beyond, says Stapleton. “Artists have a capacity for wonder,” he adds. “As we face so many challenges in the 21st century – from climate crisis, income inequality and fundamentalism – the artists’ point of view could be really valuable in imagining solutions.”

the road



Marwen Farhat

Marwen Farhat


01. Culturunners’ road trip is powered by a 34-foot motorhome-turned-studio 02. Ahaad

Alamoudi performs during the opening of the GENERA#ION exhibition at Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco * 03. “One of the main myths and misconceptions we are trying to challenge is that of Middle Eastern homogeneity,” explains Culturunners’ Stapleton 04. The cliché of art as a universal language is true, says Stapleton, which makes it a powerful tool 05. Riyadh-based artist Nugamshi performs live calligraphy at the opening of GENERA#ION in San Francisco. The calligraphy is a translation of “Nothing gold can stay” * 06. “Art can generate empathy, expose counter narratives and identify common concern,” says Stapleton. “We‘ve seen this in practice on our travels.” 07. A visitor to the GENERA#ION exhibition in San Francisco captures Heaven‘s Door by Rashed Al Shashai


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Marwen Farhat


Marwen Farhat



* Culturunners’ exhibitions in Houston, Aspen, San Francisco and Lewiston, Maine, were produced with the support of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

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Advocates for change Writer: Leonard Stall

Princess Banderi bint Abdulrahman AlFaisal is the director general of Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid Foundation. In an exclusive interview, she talks failures, tackling youth joblessness and the foundation’s role in the changing shape of philanthropy in the GCC’s wealthiest economy 32

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Saudi Arabia is no stranger to large-scale generosity and charity. Yet the infrastructure of giving – from foundations to the nonprofits on the ground – has struggled to play in the same league. The Riyadh-based King Khalid Foundation (KKF) is one agency seeking to redress the balance. Founded in 2001, KKF aims to help cultivate and scale the country’s fledgling nonprofit sector to meet national challenges and lobby for socioeconomic change. And while there is still much work to be done, says director general Princess Banderi bint Abdulrahman AlFaisal, change is underway

Q Q . KKF has a broad mandate. How do you gauge your success? We set out to change the face of philanthropy in Saudi Arabia, and if you look at where the sector was 10 years ago, it is enormously different today. When we began even the term ‘nonprofit sector’ was unknown. About four years ago, in the second of our annual development debates, we talked about the underrepresentation of – and lack of consultation with – the nonprofit sector in the kingdom’s National Development Agenda. The Ministry of Planning was sceptical, but over time we convinced them to include us in discussions. Today, the nonprofit sector is front and centre in the government’s economic plan, Vision 2030, and we’ve been asked to contribute to policy planning. The nonprofit sector currently accounts for less than 1 per cent of GDP and the goal is to increase that to 5 per cent by 2030, so the government has absolutely bought in to the work we are doing. These elements of our work are difficult to measure. If we are working on youth employment, for example, gauging impact is easy: we can track how many candidates got jobs and stayed in those jobs. Other aspects of our work are less tangible, but I’ve no doubt KKF has played a key role in driving change in our industry. Q Q . How has KKF’s own approach changed since inception? We’ve learned through trial and error. The foundation started as a grantmaking organisation – initially we wanted to work with local partners in rural communities on development projects. We failed miserably; we were talking different languages. KKF talked about sustainability and impact, while the nonprofits focused on cash handouts and charity. As a result, we stopped all grant activity and for the next two years focused on building the capacity of local NGOs and helping to change mindsets. That wa s 10 yea rs a go. We g radua l ly reintroduced grants, which today comprise


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more and more of what we do; in just two days this week, we’ve signed 20. Grants are typically between SR100,000 ($26,500) and SR750,000, but ultimately it’s about the quality of the grants rather than their size. Many local organisations don’t know how to apply for a grant, to draw up an action plan or a budget, or report back. We want them to develop those skills and will help them to do so. We believe our approach means nonprofits will be far better prepared to fundraise in future. I have changed a lot, too. My father challenged me to be ambitious and give back, but while I certainly wanted to be involved with the foundation, I didn’t want to be the boss – I was slightly bullied into taking it on. Over the years, I’ve learned more from our failures than our successes. I’ve also learned that leaving your ego at the door, as a person or as an organisation, goes a long way to developing successful partnerships.

Q Q . Is there a particular grantee or project you are proud of? Many, although there’s one in particular, which came in response to the high rate of school dropouts in Saudi’s Eastern Province. A nonprofit requested a grant to address the problem. It emerged that the parents’ reading level was poor, so they were unable to help their children with schoolwork. And, as a result, they began lagging behind their classmates and eventually became embarrassed and dropped out. We helped to implement an after-school programme to assist students with their reading and writing skills. It was very simple, but it was lifechanging for them and their families. These kinds of things make it all worthwhile. Q Q . Youth unemployment stands at 11 per cent. How can the country move the needle on jobs for young Saudis? This is the topic of the day. It’s a frequent discussion for us, because we have a youth unemployment programme that trains young Saudis, with employment as the goal. However,

Chronic youth joblessness is a risk for Saudi Arabia, where two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30

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YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO GIVING IN THE GCC For exclusive insights into how, why and where Arabs in the Gulf spend their philanthropic dollars, pick up your copy of the Arab Giving Survey 2016. Out now.

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nobody is hiring in the current economic climate, which opens up a whole new challenge and we’re not entirely sure how to address it. Broadly speaking, our impact as a foundation will be limited as long as the country’s education system is not doing what it should. Philanthropy is a sticking plaster that stops the bleeding, but it does not help the patient. Saudi Arabia’s education system is the elephant in the room – everyone knows there is a problem, but nobody seems able to fix it. It is beyond what we can do as a sector.

Q Q . Is more support needed to help young Saudis compete in the workplace? Running the ‘Our Youth, Our Future’ project, a three-year programme with the Human Resource Development Fund, has been eye-opening. Attitude is the missing piece of the puzzle among young people. Having the right soft skills, attitude and work ethic is crucial. A qualification is one thing but desire, passion and interest are another. When jobs are scarce these are the skills that will help youth in their personal and professional lives. But the right attitude is also necessary among employers. We’ve seen all sides exploit the system intended to promote Saudisation [getting more Saudi nationals into the workforce]: firms with so-called job openings, training institutions’ lacklustre involvement, and young people happy to take the training but not the job. It’s a box-ticking exercise all round. I hope the situation will change, but it is still a significant challenge.

“Our impact will be limited as long as the education system is not doing what it should. Philanthropy is a sticking plaster”

through institutions, even local ones, with people preferring to give directly to beneficiaries. The philanthropic sector needs to establish more trust among wealthy and middle class donors. The notion of a philanthropist is also changing. The first three charities registered in the kingdom were nonprofits launched by women from the country’s royalty or elite. We’re starting to see this evolve; today it is more about the cause than where you come from. Finally, the younger generation is pushing the concept of strategic giving. There is a growing awareness that giving directly does not necessarily benefit the most needy or most deserving. Young people want to see tangible results, and we are starting to see the fruits of this in family businesses.

Q Q . Where do you believe KKF can have the most impact? The foundation has a unit focused on evidencebased policymaking to influence decision-makers. The plan is to increase that aspect of our work. Our experience shows the impact we can have. In 2013, we pushed for a Women and Child Abuse Prevention Law, which was subsequently adopted and passed by the government. It was the first time a nonprofit had been involved in developing policy. Rather then identifying areas we think need to be addressed and saying: “You need to fix that,” we try to focus on giving policymakers ideas. It is very easy to complain about problems, but putting the hard graft in towards finding solutions is the fun part. I hope that will be part of our legacy. —

Q Q . Are more young Saudis looking to the third sector for a career? We are certainly trying to get young people excited about the nonprofit sector. Last year, we teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund Shaghaf, the Saudi Philanthropic Fellowship Programme. The pilot run has an intake of 10 young Saudis who will do a two-year placement with an NGO in Saudi Arabia, a summer course at New York’s Columbia University and an internship at the Gates Foundation. We hope they’ll see the nonprofit sector as one with legitimate career prospects, and gain an affinity for philanthropy. Hopefully they’ll be its ambassadors in whatever they choose to do. Q Q . Is Saudi philanthropy evolving? Philanthropy has become more fashionable globally, and we see this trend in the kingdom, too. Over the last five years, more and more family businesses and businessmen in Saudi Arabia have created foundations, becoming role models in turn. New regulations have also made it easier to open a philanthropic organisation. Still more needs to be done. Saudis are extremely generous, yet very little giving is channelled

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Conflicts in Iraq and Syria have helped drive misery and displacement up to levels not seen since the end of World War Two. They also have another grim record to their name – the resurgence of deadly landmines. Global deaths and injuries from mines, crude explosive devices and booby traps hit a 10-year high in 2015, up 75 per cent on the year before. Iraqi security forces started a push to take back the city of Mosul in October 2016, displacing 130,000 by January. As citizens start to return, they risk losing lives, limbs and livelihoods from leftover mines and contaminated land, said UK-based Mines Advisory Group. Many of the victims are children, who inadvertently step on the mines while playing. The nonprofit cleared 250 improvised landmines in just three weeks from one village near Mosul. According to the nonprofit: “It is a race against time to get these brutal, indiscriminate killers� AFP Photo/ Safin Hamed


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Turning rubbish into opportunity Lebanese social enterprise Recycle Beirut is using the country’s garbage crisis to help get Syrian and Palestinian refugees back on their feet

Writer: Adrienne Cernigoi Photography: Recycle Beirut



waste. But in a warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, pile upon pile of glass bottles, walls of plastic and towers of cardboard are more than the detritus of modern living. They are the building blocks of a new, dignified life. Recycle Beirut is a company hoping to overcome two of Lebanon’s big challenges: waste disposal and the refugee crisis. The business launched in 2015 with a simple model – to offer jobs to refugees to collect, sort and package recyclable rubbish, which is then shipped off to recycling centres. “We wanted to change the refugee crisis from something negative to something positive for the country,” says Kassem Kazak, the firm’s president. The scale of the challenge is immense. The summer of 2015 saw bags of rubbish pile up throughout the Lebanese capital’s neighbourhoods and spill onto the streets after the government shut the city’s main landfill site. Residents joined mass protests to decry the eight-month crisis, which garnered international attention when a 2 million tonne ‘river of trash’ formed in the suburb of Jdeideh. The issue threatens to flare again as waste remains uncollected – a byproduct of Lebanon’s complex politics. The unsightly problem is also a health hazard as the waste’s toxins risk leaching into the water table and causing a massive public health crisis.

“The garbage crisis hasn’t gone away. You can still see waste being burned, or dumped in the forest,” laments Kazak. The problem highlighted just how little rubbish gets reused, he adds: “People don’t have the mentality of recycling; they don’t sort [rubbish] at the source. This is what we focus on.” The social enterprise employs 17 people to collect, sort and clean non-organic materials, such as wood, cans and plastic. If clients want Recycle Beirut to pick up the waste, it costs $10 for households and $25 for a building. Or, they can drop it off at the warehouse for free. Currently the company sells the sorted waste of some 800 clients to recycling centres across the country. They collect two to three tonnes of rubbish a day, according to Kazak. All the employees are refugees, either from Syria or Palestine, who make up a staggering propor t ion of t he cou nt r y ’s popu lat ion . Palestinian refugees account for an estimated 10 per cent of people in Lebanon, according to UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees. The six-year conflict in neighbouring Syria added to the strain: more than 1 million people have crossed the border, bringing Lebanon’s refugee population to one in four people, says the UN. Life is tough. Palestinians are restricted in the jobs they can take, with around 20 proscribed professions. Exploitative labour among Syrian refugees is rife, according to the Freedom Fund, a charity dedicated to ending modern slavery. Desperate to support the household, many

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Left: Recycle Beirut's staff are from Syria and Palestine, as the social business aims to tackle two of Lebanon's most difficult issues: refugees and rubbish

Syrians work on farms in the Bekaa Valley earning around $5 or $10 a day for women and men, respectively. Child labour is also rampant, with an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of Syrian refugee children working in Lebanon rather than going to school. Children as young as six have joined the workforce, according to the fund. Peeling garlic for restaurants earns young Syrian girls $1 a day. Women make up one-third of Recycle Beirut’s employees, mostly sorting through waste in the warehouse. There, seven- to eight-hour days net $20 a day in income. The men work as truck drivers, collecting waste from clients or off the streets, earning $25 a day for eight- to nine-hour shifts. For women such as Razan Mostafa Ghazal, 40, from Salheia in Syria, the job has returned a measure of independence. “Before working with Recycle Beirut I had a very difficult life. There was not enough money to pay rent and other expenses. I was constantly borrowing money from my relatives,” she explains. The work at the warehouse offers “reasonable working hours and good salaries”, she adds, helping to support her four children. Employing refugees is challenging. Many of the women were from deeply conservative, rural areas, and Recycle Beirut is their first job

since losing their husbands to war in Syria. More pressingly, Syrians registered with the UN’s refugee agency are not legally allowed to work. The company’s drivers are regularly stopped and fined by the police. “We can create job opportunities from something that was once a headache for the government,” says Kazak. “Our reward for this service shouldn’t be a ticket.” Set up as a social business, Recycle Beirut has yet to turn a profit. It has raised some funds from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a meagre $4,000 from a crowdfunding campaign. Kazak believes more donors should come forward because the end result – a cleaner environment – benefits everyone. The company is keen to expand. It is working with another firm to extend its efforts to organic waste, such as food, by adding composting to the menu. Recycle Beirut is also experimenting with upcycling: “We have started a new project manufacturing tiles from construction waste and recycled glass,” explains Ghazal. The ultimate goal is to boost recycling in Lebanon – and help people help themselves. “Especially after the garbage crisis, people started to realise they needed to take a step forward,” explains Kazak. “If you want to change something, you have to do it yourself. You can’t wait for someone else to solve the problem.”

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I don’t know, maybe very little, but at least I’ve tried. If you can just move things a few inches forward that’s great, because I’m sure a lot of other people are also helping to move that big animal forward.” The ‘big animal’ to which Mohammed ‘Mo’ Ibrahim refers is no less than the reshaping of government in Africa, the continent of his birth and the passion of his life. Through his eponymous foundation, he has worked for more than a decade to foster democracy and build pressure for better, less corrupt leadership – and in doing so, has helped raised expectations and outputs across the region. Today the foundation is considered the preeminent independent voice on governance in Africa. Ibrahim, meanwhile, is a magnetic presence, all exclamation and exhalation, at once galvanised and exasperated by the pace and direction of change on the continent. “We don’t lack resources, we don’t lack land, and we don’t lack space, so what are we doing?” asks the Sudanese-born philanthropist. “Nelson Mandela [South Africa’s first black president] put it beautifully when he said that Africa is a rich continent, but the African people are poor. That for me was an amazing statement; it just slaps you in the face.”

Leading man Writer: Andrew White Photography: Jason Dutch

Ten years ago, billionaire Mo Ibrahim launched a foundation to inspire democracy and good leadership in Africa. Today, he warns that progress has stalled


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As founder of mobile phone operator Celtel, Ibrahim spent decades travelling the continent, working within and across byzantine power structures in both the public and private sectors. He became convinced of the value of strong institutions and the rule of law – and for a country’s leaders to inspire, not hinder, development. “Good governance is really about institutions and the way the country is run,” he explains today. “Leadership is about vision, those rare leaders who can really transform a society.” Ibrahim himself cannot be accused of a lack of vision. Having sold Celtel in 2005, in 2006 he launched a range of initiatives designed to foster good governance and reward superlative leadership. The most high profile is the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which ranks government effectiveness across the continent. Established initially with the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the index tracks 58 criteria in five main categories. A country’s score reflects how well it is providing services to its people – and nobody likes to be told publicly that they can do better. Upon its publication in 2006, the inaugural index was greeted warily in the corridors of African power. “The body language was not friendly,” recalls Ibrahim. “But nobody criticised us for doing it because people could not find an angle. We are Africans so nobody could accuse us of being colonialist. We are using our own money, African money, so they could not say we were agents of the CIA. And we have no outside incentive because there’s no political or financial motivation for us to do this.” It was not uncommon for disgr untled leaders to pick up the phone and complain to Ibrahim directly, to which they would receive a straightforward response: “I don’t write it.” The data is compiled from the foundation’s own measurements as well as 34 other sources. Every digit is indexed, every decimal point referenced against its source. While Ibrahim insists leaders are welcome to contest the figures, “in 10 years we have not changed a single number”. Today the index is both a benchmark and an incentive. A team headed by Abdoulie Janneh, the former under-secretary-general of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, spends its time flying from capital to capital, meeting with government leaders and discussing a country’s ranking. It helps that major global donors – from USAID to the UK’s Department for International Development – use the index to aid in the disbursement of billions of dollars annually. A high score, then, can bring high reward. “Countries accept that we’re not using the index to criticise any one government,” says Ibrahim. “We say, ‘This is the outcome of your


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The number of countries in Africa that have seen a decline in safety and the rule of law since 2006


The prize money paid out over 10 years to an outstanding African leader through the Mo Ibrahim prize

policies; are you happy or is there something you need to change? And by the way, this is how your neighbours performed in all the same areas’.” The benefit of this objectivity, Ibrahim notes, is that “it’s not a shouting match. It’s not personal or down to tribal or religious background. It’s down to achievement. “It is not acceptable that leaders just rely on good speechwriters to sell whatever,” he adds. “It’s not about nice phrases or rhetoric or personal charisma. It is time to talk numbers, to talk facts.” Not all the leaders in Africa’s storied past – and present – have relied solely on words to entrench their positions. A handful of dictators have achieved and retained status through brutal means. In so doing, says Ibrahim, they have stained international perceptions of what an African leader can be.

“Who doesn’t know about [Uganda’s] Idi Amin? I haven’t yet met a person in Europe who doesn’t know Idi Amin, who doesn’t know [the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s] Mobutu,” he notes. “But why do people know only about our bad leaders when there are a lot of very good leaders too? This sends a very damaging message to young people. “We need to bring those good guys out of the shadows to really recognise them,” Ibrahim continues. “If a Nobel Prize is given to a physicist or physician or songwriter, what about the leaders who take 2 or 3 million people out of poverty? Is that not a wonderful achievement?” Ibrahim’s response was to launch a prize for excellence in African leadership. Awarded by a seven-member judging panel, according to strict criteria, the Mo Ibrahim Prize credits

Above: Ibrahim is a fervant and highprofile advocate for democratic transition and good governance in Africa

rulers who govern well and step down peacefully. The first winner was Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, in 2007. Mandela received an honorary prize the same year. However in the decade since, the prize has only been awarded three times, due to a lack of suitable candidates. “This award is for excellence, it’s not a pension, and excellence by its nature is rare,” insists Ibrahim. “To have come to power democratically, moved the country forward, and then to have handed that power over peacefully; it’s a high bar. When there’s no winner we also send a strong message, which is important for our credibility.” Criticism of the prize centres on its financial aspect: winners receive $5m over 10 years, followed by a $200,000-a-year pension.

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“Unless we run our countries in a better way, no amount of aid will solve our problems”

Ibrahim, however, argues that the salaries and pensions of African leaders are insufficient for productive life after office. He cites the example of Pedro Pires, who when he stepped down in 2011 had no house or car. When he lost the election, the former president of Cape Verde called a taxi and took his wife and two daughters to stay at his mother’s apartment. “A good leader is not one who uses the country’s resources for private gain,” he says. “How do we deal with those guys who came out clean, those guys who come out and call a taxi? “We want them to come back to public life as part of civil society, to show that there is life after leading,” he continues. “So we take care of them financially while they go around telling young kids what it means to be a leader, and engaging in the political arena on behalf of Africa.” Since stepping down as president, Pires has founded a governance institute and is training civil servants on service delivery. Chissano has undertaken peacekeeping efforts in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar. Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae, who won the prize in 2008, has launched a foundation focused on education for women and girls. “These guys are working and they are able to be involved because they don’t have to worry about feeding their children,” says Ibrahim. Their efforts are timely. Much of Africa blossomed in the first decade of the new millennium; political progress was accompanied by a rise in commodities prices, which in turn fuelled investments in infrastructure. Now, however, stagnation has kicked in. “No major developments have been made and we raised a flag about this three years ago,” says Ibrahim. “What happened in the north of Africa of course affected the overall performance of the continent. The Arab Spring countries have suffered a lot because if you are in the middle of a revolution then development is not taking place, people are losing tourism, and the energy of the country is spent somewhere else.”


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In 2013 Ibrahim signed the Giving Pledge, the philanthropic campaign led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet that will see more than 150 billionaires give away at least half their fortunes in their lifetimes. It was, he says, “a no brainer because I was already doing it”. Yet these efforts do not represent the answer for Africa. “Bill Gates has done a wonderful job in Africa and I love him to bits, but I look for the day when Africa doesn’t need Bill Gates, doesn’t need anybody else, because what happens after Bill Gates is gone? “I don’t think of myself as a philanthropist, but more as an activist, because all the stuff we’re doing is trying to change the way we run our countries,” he adds. “We are pushing to build better institutions, better policies, because unless we run our countries in a better way, no amount of aid will solve our problems.”


© Patrick Meinhardt/Cordon Press


Photographer: Paula Bronstein



Afghanistan. But so, too, are the less well-reported stirrings of new hope. The story of this south Asian country is one of resilience, where struggles against poverty and insecurity sit alongside progress on girls’ education and recreation activities. The challenges facing the country seem unending. Decades of conflict have left Afghanistan languishing near the bottom of the UN’s human development index, at 171 out of 188 countries. Life expectancy is just 60 – six years lower than that in neighbouring Pakistan, says the UN. The fragile economy has also had to contend with a sudden uptick in returnees from among the 2.7 million Afghan refugees spread out around the globe; almost 1.6 million of these live in Pakistan, which is engaged in a concerted effort to repatriate a large number back to their home country. Yet there is goods news among the gloom. Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, school enrolment leapt from fewer

than 1 million pupils to 8.3 million in 2013, some 40 per cent of which are girls, according to the UN children’s agency UNICEF. Afghans were able to vote in the first parliamentary elections in 33 years in 2005 and the country has made great strides towards wiping out the paralysing disease polio – with just 13 cases recorded in 2016, down from 20 in 2015. Healing the wounds of war will take time. Since 2001 photojournalist Paula Bronstein has tried to capture the tale of these two Afghanistans as the country takes tentative steps forward to put its dark past behind. Her book, ‘Afghanistan: between hope and fear’, documents the challenges faced – and small victories gained – by ordinary Afghans each day as they try to rebuild their country. “I keep going back; motivated and inspired by those faces, pushing against the difficulties, hoping to find fewer doors slamming shut and more people seeing reasons to smile,” said Bronstein.

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01. Afghanistan is cited as one of the worst places

to live if you are a woman. Bronstein's work includes images of Afghanistan’s more than 2.5 million war widows many of whom are left penniless, to the desperation of women who practice self-immolation to escape forced marriages.

02. The five-year rule of the Taliban, during which

women were invisible in public life, came to an end in Afghanistan in 2001. This photo captures white pigeons taking flight as Afghans come together to feed the birds at the blue mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, the country’s third largest city.

03. Afghan students recite prayers in an outdoor classroom in the Wakhan Corridor, a mountainous region in northeastern Afghanistan. Going to school is still a perilous undertaking, with 132 attacks on schools and teachers in 2015, up sharply on the year before, according to UNICEF.


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04. Economic growth is key to getting the country back on its feet. Located in Bamyan Province, Band-e-Amir National Park was named the country’s first national park in 2009, with six lakes created by natural dams in the Hindu Kush. The government hopes the park will be a key tourist attraction. 05. Afghanistan is a very youthful country, where half

the population is under 18 years old. An education is vital for these young people, yet many face barriers in gaining one. More than 1,000 schools closed in 2015, according to the Education Ministry: the result of growing instability in the country.

06. Eid Muhammad, 70, stands outside his house

with a view overlooking the hills of Kabul. In the face of hardship the Afghans’ capacity to keep smiling is what draws photographer Bronstein back, time and again, to the country and its people, she says.

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Taking wing Hidden in the cradle of Dubai’s industrial zone, the city’s most dynamic arts district is propelling local artists into the global spotlight. Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Avenue, talks progress, patronage, and cultural history in the making Writer: Joanne Bladd Photographer: Celia Peterson



first place you’d look for Dubai’s brightest and edgiest arts district. But amid the gritty cacophony of auto-repair shops, grimy factories, storage hangers and concrete plants, that’s exactly what you’ll find. Barely a decade after its launch, Alserkal Avenue has become the urban nerve centre of Dubai’s arts scene: an explosion of galleries, studios, workshops, pop-up projects and more, housed in a dense grid of repurposed warehouses. It’s a leap, says founder Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal, from the days when the city’s cabs struggled to find it. “At least people can locate it now,” he laughs. In fact, Alserkal is a testimony to slow, organic growth. In an abrupt departure from the identikit economic clusters that sprung, fully formed, across Dubai in its boom years, it has instead unfurled gradually as a noisy hub for the city’s creatives. It was born in 2007, when Abdelmonem – whose family owns the site – began to rent lots to galleries and other cultural enterprises. The purpose was “to give a base to the local artists and mediums that commercial galleries traditionally didn’t support,” he explains; a break with the art scene’s existing, market-orientated dynamic. “We wanted to create a global platform for art in and from the region.” It’s for this reason that Alserkal’s focus is curatorial rather than commercial. Local lights


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such as The Third Line sit alongside global heavyweights Waddington Custot, and offbeat upstarts such as TheJamJar, a DIY painting studio. A subsidised rental system means the avenue is one of only a few spots in Dubai where early-stage or fringe artists and nonprofits can gain exposure. “I always say we like to take risks on the risktakers,” says Abdelmonem. “I believe in people who are passionate about what they do. I think the city needed this scene, and this community.” “What Alserkal offers as a cultural district – there’s nothing comparable in Dubai. It’s an incredible support,” says Deborah Najar, director of the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, which opened its doors in 2016. “We’ve had the directors of the world’s top five museums visit us here. I don’t think we could have achieved that anywhere else.” The private museum houses a 500-strong collection of post-1960s European and US abstract art accrued by Najar’s father, and shown in a striking, dual-level space designed by Mario Jossa of Marcel Breuer & Associates. The nonprofit’s aim is three-fold: to showcase its expanding collection, to support its artists, and to converse with a new generation of collectors via shows and public events. Its subsidised rent is “essential” to this mission, says Najar. “As a nonprofit foundation, we’re a first mover in a difficult environment,” she explains.

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Barely a generation since its launch, Alserkal Avenue has become a meeting place not only for art collectors, curators and critics, but for those completely new to the art scene

Abdelmonem is reluctant to be described as a patron of the arts, and his modesty belies his position within one of the UAE’s most prominent families. But private capital and entrepreneurship has underpinned Alserkal’s emergence as an experimental cultural district, blowing open a scene previously dominated by polished galleries and auction houses. “As a family present here, we wanted to give something back to the community,” he explains. “With Alserkal, I feel we are doing our part to help write the arts history of the region, and to give that global exposure to local talent.” And as Alserkal’s profile has risen, so too has the success of its artists. In 2015, the district commissioned a performative talk by Lantian Xie, which appeared as part of the London-hosted


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Shubbak Festival. Soon after, says Vilma Jurkute, Alserkal’s director, Dubai-based Xie signed with the gallery Grey Noise. “This is where we come in, by supporting ephemeral, conceptual mediums not easily embraced by the commercial scene,” she says. “I think it is important for artists to develop creatively, but they should also have the means to support themselves commercially.” This year, the avenue plans to open its first artists’ residency. Alserkal’s canvas is still evolving. Last year, courtesy of a disused marble factory, the complex unveiled a 250,000 sq ft expansion, doubling its size. For the 50 units that came online, the hub received more than 1,000 applications. “We always joke and say the community demanded an expansion from Abdelmonem,” laughs Jurkute.

New tenants include black box theatre The Junction, New York’s famed Leila Heller Gallery, and the locally conceived Cinema Akil; all speeding Alserkal’s growth from visual arts, on to music, theatre, film and design. But the jewel is arguably Concrete, a vast events space designed by architects OMA, which opened in March. Hung on the bones of a former warehouse, the venue’s movable walls, huge ceilings and translucent front façade form an art piece in themselves, with endless spatial variations. Alserkal’s programming activity has been as bold as its construction, with curated shows, screenings, workshops, talks, performances and commissions. Free to the public, these offer one of few places in Dubai where blue-collar workers and fashion types can cross paths. “During events,

you see the multicultural population of Dubai that meets here and blends together,” says Abdelmonem. “Nothing would matter if the audience wasn’t here. Without them, it would just be buildings.” There is also a broader legacy in play. At a time when the Middle East is in thrall to conflict, and when its oldest and most beautiful cities – Damascus, Baghdad – are under attack, preserving and documenting its culture has never been more vital. In this, the Arab world’s artists, filmmakers, storytellers are frontrunners, recalling a region beyond the chaos and helping to craft its future. “With the times we are living in, to support the arts and culture scene, to see a brighter future, to contribute to that future of the region – this is why art matters,” says Abdelmonem. “I hope we are contributing to history in the making.” —

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COMING OF AGE Exclusive: for the second year, Philanthropy Age’s landmark Arab Giving Survey has polled Arabs across the GCC to gauge how and why they give, and what would make them give more. From Riyadh, to Abu Dhabi, the results are in:

Illustration: LaTigre


and – increasingly – they care about how to do good. Philanthropy Age’s second annual Arab Giving Survey (AGS) reveals impact-led giving is exerting a greater pull on how philanthropy is conducted in the region, with donors increasingly seeking transparency in how funds are disbursed, and their effect. Our benchmark poll of the giving behaviours of Arabs in the Gulf found a complex mix of motivators and deterrents for charitable donations. Despite economic headwinds, the impulse to give remains strong. But the channels through which money is given, and the causes supported, continue to evolve.


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The AGS polled 1,008 Arab nationals in six GCC states, aged 18 and above; a sample consistent with that used in the 2015 survey. For the first time, the survey also quizzed an exclusive sample of 17 high-income Gulf residents, those with a net worth of $30m or more. The findings are both a barometer for the giving patterns and priorities of Arab donors, and an unparalleled insight into what drives the GCC’s growing trend of big-ticket philanthropy. For nonprofits and fundraisers keen to move the needle on pressing global issues, the results offer a clear signal of how to engage with – and better encourage – donors across the region.

Donation methods

Base 898 +25%

Importance of results when selecting a charity

Base 1,008

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3% Extremely unimportant


3% Somewhat unimportant

7% Neither important nor unimportant

32% Somewhat important

56% Extremely important





Put cash in a charity collection box 42% Donated to an individual, in a personal capacity 51% +7% -13%


donor market. Those who give increasingly want to know how their money will be used – and what impact it will have – before handing over their cash. More than 80 per cent said they choose a charity based in part on its effectiveness. The ability to track the impact of donations on beneficiaries was named the most influential factor in selecting a cause, up from fifth place last year. Nineteen per cent of donors said knowing their money was being used well would spur them to give more. “The findings show strategic philanthropy is on the rise,” notes Leonard Stall, editor-inchief, Philanthropy Age. “We’re seeing a sharper focus on results and increasing demand for transparency from donors. This, paired with the Gulf’s sizeable youth population – which favours an investment-orientated approach to philanthropy – is helping to bring intelligent giving into the mainstream.” This trend may have spurred a change in habits. Putting money in a charity collection box fell from first to second place as a donation method. Instead, giving directly to an individual is now the most popular form of philanthropy for 51 per cent of those polled, a rise of 25 per cent on the previous year’s findings. There remains a gap between the goal of giving effectively, and the practice. The AGS found that 58 per cent of donors still give on impulse – a finding unchanged from the first survey. Spontaneous giving means 36 per cent of donors did not consider the cause at all when making their last donation. This finding was reinforced in our poll of high-net-worth respondents. While wealthy donors give clear signals of supporting impact-led philanthropy, they are torn between wanting to solve an immediate need – by giving to an individual – and a desire to adopt a more planned, strategic approach. Just six per cent of high-value philanthropists said they have a formal strategy to guide their giving. Donating to an individual in a personal capacity (59 per cent) was a more popular method than a charitable trust or foundation (41 per cent). Yet, half still believe the majority of their philanthropy spurs long-term impact. Change needs to come first from foundations and charities, many of which are fixated on shortterm programmes, says Clare Woodcraft-Scott,

Donation Donated tomethods an individual, in a personal capacity 51% Base 898


Link to cause


Gave a one-off payment directly to a charity 25% Put cash in a charity collection box 42% +8% +7% 2016 Report 2015 Report Texted donation 20% Gave a one-off payment directly to a charity 25% Not showing +2% +8% sources with 2016 Report 10% or less Donated by direct debit to a charity 15% 2015 Report Texted donation 20% Not showing +2% sources with 10% or less Donated by direct debit to a charity 15%

Total donated to charity

Base 1,008 76% $0 - 500,000

Total donated to charity

Base 1,008 76% $0 12%- 500,000 $500,001 - 1,000,000

Base 1,008

12% $500,001 12% -$1,000,001 1,000,000 - 2,000,000 12% $1,000,001 - 2,000,000 Base 1,008

Preferred causes to donate to

-6% Poverty, or third world 47% +7% Directly to an individual in need 47% +14%





It is a cause that I have financially supported in the past

I didn’t really think about the cause when I decided to support it on this occasion

I haven't really supported the cause in the past but wanted to on this occasion

I’ve supported the cause in the past, although not financially

CEO of the Emirates Foundation. “The onus is very much on the industry itself to make sure they are looking at creating systemic impact,” she says. Open, honest debate between donors and NGOs on failures would go some way to achieving this, she adds. The tension between short- and long-term priorities should come as no surprise in the Middle East. On the one hand, vast humanitarian need is fuelled by conflicts roiling Syria, Iraq and Yemen, among others. On the other, the region faces deep-seated development challenges, including sky-high youth unemployment rates. The causes to which respondents direct their money reflect these twin concerns. Charities tackling poverty alleviation or addressing the

Refugees 42%


Disabled people 36% -

Hospitals 34%

2015 Report 2016 Report

third world, shared first place with giving directly to an individual in need as most popular cause. Addressing poverty and refugees were top of the agenda for wealthy donors, while educationrelated causes also scored highly. Happily, the Gulf ’s generosity remains undimmed. Among everyday givers, the average value of their last gift to charity was $234, contributing to a typical annual pot of around $650. Among our sample of high-value donors, 76 per cent donated up to $500,000 to philanthropic causes in the year; 12 per cent gave between $1m and $2m. The evident spirit of charity among GCC donors is cause for cheer, as is an emerging desire to do the most good with each donation. The next step is matching action with aspiration.

Main drivers to donating more to charity

Base 1,008 24%

Clearer reporting from charities on how and where funds are spent


Clearer reporting from charities on the results they achieve


Ability to track the direct impact of my giving on the cause, or individuals concerned


Wider variety of easy ways to donate


A higher disposable income


Main donation obstacles 2016 Report

2015 Report 32% +13%

26% -4%

22% +8%

18% +3%

17% +4%



clear: donors want more openness from charitable organisations before opening their wallets. Transparency in how a charity spends donations was the second most influential factor (26 per cent) for Gulf donors when choosing who to support, the AGS found. It also has an impact on how much they give. Some 24 per cent said more clarity on how money is used by charities would prompt them to give more. A further 24 per cent said understanding the impact of their donation would encourage then to give more cash. Together, these findings overshadow 2015’s top finding, which named a higher disposable income as the strongest driver to increased donations.

I don't know how the money will be spent I prefer to give directly, rather than involving an organisation

The charity is associated with a political party or religion I am not sympathetic to I am worried the money will be spent on salaries and administration charges I don’t think my money will be used effectively

More tellingly, 32 per cent said not knowing how the money would be spent was the main obstacle to donating – a 13 per cent increase on the previous year’s findings. Openness is a concern for high-net-worth donors, too. Easy access to data on a charity’s spending and the personal relevance of the cause weighed equally on their choice of charity (59 per cent). One high-net-worth respondent requests regular reports as a condition for gifts of more than $50,000, but admits “these are not always received”. Trust and transparency go hand in hand. The 2016 survey discovered a small, but significant, trust deficit among some donors. Fifteen per cent of everyday givers had very little confidence in charitable organisations, with a further 34 per cent sitting on the fence. The issue divided genders: more men (54 per cent) than women (47 per cent) trust charities. With budgets stretched to cope with spiralling aid costs, NGOs need to act fast to plug the trust gap – and raise more cash.

Khalid Alkhudair CEO, Glowork

Calling all capitalists

Social enterprise, the act of marrying business with social impact, is growing in scale across the Gulf. Thirteen per cent of AGS respondents gave money through a social business in 2016, an increase of five per cent on the previous year. For the vast majority of GCC donors, however, it remains a niche concern. “People don’t quite know yet how to treat social enterprises in the GCC,” says Khalid Alkhudair, CEO of Riyadh-based social enterprise Glowork, which seeks to increase the number of Saudi women in the workplace. “The majority give to charities. If the receiving organisation is registered as private entity, like ours, donors will not look at it. From a legal perspective, there is no incentive to give.” Gulf governments can play a critical role publicising the value of social enterprise, he says: “People in the GCC listen to the government. If governments allocate a percentage of their own projects to social enterprises we can get the public talking about it.” Alkhudair is optimistic about social enterprise’s outlook in the region, in part because of its youthful population and initiatives, such as the King Khalid Foundation’s responsible competitiveness index, which measures the social returns and outcomes on investment. “Over the next couple of years, I think people will think more about the money they are allocating and take a gamble on social enterprise,” he predicts.

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donors is crucial. For a second year running, everyday givers bank primarily on family, friends and colleagues for information about charity, the AGS found, with street fundraising campaigns a distant second. But the biggest fillip was for social media campaigns, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are now the fourth most popular source for philanthropic information, a six per cent bump on the previous year. Traditional methods – adverts placed on TV, radio and in newspapers and magazines – saw a significant decline of 10 per cent.

Base 1,008

2016 Report

Top inspirations to donate

For high-net-wor th donors, personalised communication from charities they know is the dominant source of philanthropic information (82 per cent). And it is bad news for wealth advisors, who got zero responses. But when it comes to inspiration, donors’ nearest and dearest wield the most influence: both high-value donors (65 per cent) and everyday givers (37 per cent) say their philanthropy is primarily inspired by friends and family. Charities looking to to spur greater giving should also take note of the power of match f unding. In a new finding, 78 per cent of respondents said they would give more if they knew their donation was being matched. This suggests an opportunity for organisations with commercial partners to drive a greater level of funding from their donor bases. With generosity still high among Arab donors, charitable organisations need to find a way to get personal.

37% -13%

Friends/family/ colleagues

22% -2%

None of the above – people do not inspire me to donate

14% +2%

Religious leaders

2015 Report

12% +10%

Charity’s leadership

7% +2%

Royalty or country leaders

4% +2%

Celebrities endorsing charity

3% +1%

Business leaders

Would you give more in a matching scheme?


Philanthropy Age

Base 1,008 46%

Somewhat likely


Extremely likely


Don't know


Not likely


Not likely at all


Maysa Jalbout CEO Al Ghurair Foundation for Education

Questions and answers

“A greater number of people are demanding more transparency from charities, but it is also clear the vast majority still give locally and are drawn by causes close to them. “This is all connected. Wanting to give locally is a second indication donors want to make sure their funding goes to causes they understand and where they can see the direct benefit. Young people in the Arab region in particular are more aware, more sophisticated and they have more options for where to give. That drives donors to request more information, more transparency and more reporting. “Charitable organisations in the Middle East increasingly understand this requirement. But it’s going to take a few more years yet for those organisations to apply the tools and expertise – and invest resources – in monitoring and evaluation to see what impact is accomplished. “All donors need to ask very clear questions, not to make life hard for charities, but to help all of us reach our targets more effectively. It’s about investing more and changing our attitude towards the kind of impact we expect from philanthropy. “On the question of whether giving should be more widely publicised, the results show 55 per cent agreed with the statement. There seems to be a trend and willingness to be more transparent about giving, not just about receiving – and that is an important message.”

Most influential factors when selecting a charity 76%

Access to a charity’s results showing effectiveness in helping its cause


A cause that is important to me and my family


Personal connection and belief in a cause/charity





Strategic giving (High-net-worth)



value donors. The effectiveness of charities emerged as the single biggest influence among high-end donors when choosing a cause to support, with 94 per cent reporting they would stop contributing to a charity that performed poorly. But ‘impact’ means different things to different donors. Wealthy donors responded in myriad ways to the question of how they measure success. Some favour personal fulfilment, with one respondent saying “seeing people happy and having a better life” was their measure of impact.

Base 17

The charity’s transparency in how it distributes its funds An immediate and overwhelming need (e.g. disaster relief)

Seeing a child, adult, or animal which will directly benefit from my gift


None of the above I do not plan or formalise giving


Other * (please specify)


I measure the results of my giving


I have a strategy that informs my giving


I have set up a foundation or trust


I pay staff to support my philanthropy

Base 17

• Our family has set up a foundation unit to manage the family’s social contribution • I have corporate resources allocated to managing and helping me run my philanthropy across all aspects • I give monthly to the [World Food Programme’s] ‘Share the Meal’ app, via direct debit

On the other end of the spectrum, one cited “intelligent metrics” to gauge the effects of their philanthropy. “Success is very narrowly defined to mean the effective disruption of a problem and ability for the funding to eventually no longer be necessary,” the donor wrote. Differing definitions explain the low levels of monitoring in our sample. Just 12 per cent of high-value donors measure the results of their giving and only 24 per cent cite regular progress reports from charities as an influential factor in their donations. Donors’ inconsistency on impact filters through to how they give, too. Just 6 per cent of those polled said they have a strategy in place to guide their philanthropy, while fully 65 per cent said they do not plan or formalise their giving. The findings suggest while the will to make a difference is present, there is a long road ahead towards more impactful philanthropy. —

The report

The Arab Giving Survey is brought to you by Philanthropy Age, in conjunction with the UK’s Department for International Development, and market research company YouGov. Results are based on a sample of 1,008 Arab nationals residing in the GCC, aged 18 and above, which is consistent with that used in the 2015 Arab Giving Survey. Responses were gathered online using YouGov’s proprietary research panel, with fieldwork conducted between 22 September and 3 October 2016. For the first time, the survey also includes a poll of high-net-worth Arab nationals residing in the GCC. Results are based on an exclusive sample of 17 respondents each with a net worth of $30m or above, with fieldwork taking place between 25 August and 12 September 2016.

Philanthropy Age


Against a $15bn global shortfall in aid, Islamic finance and giving is gaining currency for humanitarian actors seeking to bridge the funding gap


Writer: Adrienne Cernigoi


Philanthropy Age


Illustration: Mike McQuade


Bank and you can be part of a 1,430year-old giving tradition. The Saudi bank hosts an account in the name of Saidina Uthman Ibn Affan, a companion of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), into which you can still donate money. The endowment fund holds his centuries-old store of wealth; a charitable trove that continues to benefit the needy today to the tune of $13m a year. Aid agencies are taking note. All eyes are on humanitarian funding in 2017, amid a $15bn global shortfall in aid. The UN in December asked for $22.2bn to help almost 93 million people hit by conflicts and natural disasters over the next year. In 2016, its appeal for $22.1bn was only half met. In the face of a global agenda that calls for the eradication of poverty, among other goals, there is an urgent need for nonprofits to look beyond the confines of their usual donors for fresh funding. Islamic finance – funds and services that cater to Muslim investors – and Islamic giving are two potential answers to the rising aid bill. From making existing sharia-compliant charitable investments work harder, to better use of zakat (Islamic alms giving) to alleviate poverty, the development sector is looking to Islamic finance as a vehicle for change. “The very real potential is there for Islamic finance to provide solutions to the global humanitarian financing problem,” a UN panel on aid funding noted last year. “Just 1 per cent of zakat would make an enormous difference to the scale of the global funding deficit.” Gauging the size of the funding pot is tricky. Global estimates of zakat vary wildly, ranging from $232bn in 2015, to more than $1 trillion. Awqaf, or Sharia-compliant endowment funds, are also thought to control billions of dollars worth of assets, including vast portfolios of real estate, commercial enterprises, cash and equities, donated by Muslims around the globe. Historically, poor management of these asset pools has limited their returns and impact. The challenge, says Tayeb Al Rais, president of the Awqaf International Organisation (AIO), which represents 12 awqaf agencies stretching from Canada to New Zealand, is to persuade the industry to use modern financial tools to reverse the low yields seen from these funds. “We are in the 21st century, so we must look beyond initiatives that were fine in the 17th or 18th centuries,” he says. “If you want to be transparent and gain people’s trust, you need norms and a clear strategy for awqaf funds.” Some industry players are taking action. In 2013, Dubai’s Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF) paired with a local bank to launch Noor Awqaf, an advisory arm that provides asset management expertise to awqaf

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bodies. The partnership seeks to help smaller endowment funds gain more more return on their investments, says Al Rais, and claims a 7 per cent yield on its portfolio. The AIO is also poised to launch a tool called Smart Awqaf, a form of temporary endowment. Donors can gift funds to an awqaf organisation for a limited time, say 10 years, after which the capital is returned and yields go to charitable causes. “It means you can put money you don’t need at that particular time to use by doing good for people in need,” explains Al Rais, who is also head of AMAF, a founding member of AIO. State-backed projects are also gaining a foothold. In Dubai, which is bidding to become a global hub for Islamic finance, the emirate’s ruler last year unveiled an endowment consultancy to offer free advice to philanthropists on awqaf, and steer investments within the Arab world. Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, meanwhile, has plans for a finance incubator slated to open in 2017, to spur fresh thinking on sharia-compliant social investing. The Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which represents 56 member states, has crafted a model awqaf law, which countries can use to manage less flexible assets – such as land or real estate – in a more commercial way. Malaysia alone has $272m-worth of land in endowment that could generate better returns for charitable use, says Azmi Omar, director general of the IDB’s Islamic research and training institute. “We want to professionalise the management of awqaf and take it beyond the tangible asset of real estate,” says Omar. “For the past few years, we’ve been promoting awqaf as an important component of Islamic social finance. More and more IDB member countries are buying into the idea.” The industry has been slow to put these ideas into practice, however, says Kavi Chawla, partner at US-based consultancy Bâton Global. “While there is nothing that prohibits using modern financial theory on an awqaf portfolio, it’s modern finance and [awqaf institutions] have to be comfortable with that.” Progress on financial innovation hasn’t moved much beyond a “vanilla approach” of managing properties, he adds. There is reticence, too, when it comes to developing new vehicles to use sharia-compliant investing (which forbids unethical investments, such as tobacco or arms), to fund projects offering both returns and a social impact. As a result, Islamic social finance lags five to 10 years behind mainstream impact investing. What the sector needs, says Chawla, is a founding father, “the way the Rockefeller Foundation was a catalyst for bringing together traditional investment banks with impact investment and social impact-oriented nonprofits”.


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“Just 1 per cent of zakat would make an enormous difference to the global funding deficit”

Half of OIC states could wipe out extreme poverty through better use of domestic zakat and remittances according to the IDB

The IDB is one actor that could perform such a catalytic role, although it has taken only tentative steps so far. In 2014 the IDB announced a tie-up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to set up a $2.5bn sharia-compliant fund to tackle poverty and disease in poor Muslim states. Launched in 2016, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund uses a mix of loans and grant funding to unlock cheap financing. Over the next five years, the IDB will lend up to $2bn for projects in health, agriculture and infrastructure, using $500m in grant funding from the Gates Foundation and others to offer loans on generous terms. By end-December, the five-year fund had raised $400m of the targeted $500m in grant funding. The IDB is also in talks with the UN, World Bank and others to launch a humanitarian sukuk,

or Islamic bond. Like a social impact bond, this would allow the IDB to pool awqaf and private sector funds for programmes to help refugees, for example, says Omar at the IDB. “We’ve tapped awqaf before, but now we want to have a capital market instrument,” he says. “The governance, transparency and regulation of sukuk gives comfort to investors.” Rising demand from cash-strapped nonprofits could also be a driver for change. To date, few have dipped their toes in the water, says Azim Kidwai, founder of the National Zakat Foundation UK. “A lot of NGOs are uncomfortable with religion,” says Kidwai, the newly appointed Islamic philanthropy advisor to UNRWA, the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees. “But Islamic philanthropy is for everybody, not just Muslim beneficiaries. “Nonprofits have wondered if they can separate religion from religious money. But the level of need demands we look at other options to fill the funding gap,” he adds. Among the pioneers has been the finance arm of the Gavi Alliance, the world’s biggest funder of vaccines for developing nations. In 2014, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation raised $500m for vaccines through a sukuk. The first round was so successful that a second sukuk was issued in 2015, this time raising $200m. Financial technology, or fintech, is also helping to catapult sharia-compliant giving into the 21st century. Qatar-based Silatech, which champions youth employment, has a micro-awqaf platform under development. Narwi will use crowdfunding to connect donors in the Middle East and North Africa with individual entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs receive soft loans, to be repaid interest-free, and then invested in another startup. A similar platform, Akhuwat in Pakistan, claims to have lent more than $295m in interest-free loans to some of the country’s poorest residents. Another platform under construction is Human Crescent, a project of Dubai-based startup Finocracy, which has plans to use crowdfunding to steer zakat contributions to aid refugees, trafficking or disaster victims, among others. “In the next 1 2 months we’ ll see more innovation in leveraging technology to mobilise Islamic social enterprises,” says Chawla at Bâton Global. “But you still need some of the 1,000lb gorillas in the room to support some of the nascent organic activities.” When it comes to tapping Islamic finance and giving as a new source of funding, the seeds of change have been sown. The challenge now is helping those efforts bear fruit, notes Chawla. “Given the long-term growth trend of the Muslim population globally, Islamic finance has the potential to be a significant portion of the silver bullet the humanitarian sector needs.”—


Pure purpose

One potential game-changer in the bid to kickstart the Islamic social finance universe could be purification funds. Earning interest is forbidden in Islamic finance, yet the reality of working in different markets means it can’t always be avoided. These funds are ‘purified’ by giving the interest to charity. As the money’s source is impure, the funds cannot go to ‘wholesome’ causes, such as schools or mosques. Currently they are used for infrastructure or sanitation projects. Still, the relatively loose prescription of how to deal with purification funds is an opportunity, says Bâton Global’s Chawla. The money could fund venture philanthropy activities, microfinance, or innovation in Islamic social finance, for example. “Purification funds – which are certainly in the billions globally – are a potentially significant part of the ecosystem,” he says. “But it requires banks investing time and human resources to think more strategically about how best to allocate those funds, rather than taking the easy route and just donating to the nearest charity.”

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In humanitarian crises, the big things grab headlines: how many people are affected, the multimillion-dollar donations. It is not often that aid workers – those who pull survivors from the rubble, or comfort the wounded – step into the limelight. And yet, no response is possible without them. This year, tribute came from an unlikely quarter, Hollywood; when a 40-minute film about Syria’s volunteer rescue workers scooped the Oscar for best documentary short. The film The White Helmets, named after the group, follows volunteers as they provide emergency aid to fellow Syrians. The group says it has saved more than 78,500 lives so far. It’s praise well due AFP/ Sameer Al-Doumy


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N X From volunteering in Saudi Arabia, to energy efficiency, to fintech solutions for low-earning migrant workers, meet the young entrepreneurs with winning ideas for shaking up business in the GCC 72

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Illustrator: Yu-Ming Huang



Into the fold Kat Budd - UAE



in the UAE, a bank account is an unaffordable luxury. As hefty fees, minimum balance rates and charges put traditional banking services out of reach, blue-collar workers rely on a fusion of payroll cards, remittance houses and payday lenders to fill the void. NOW Money, a Dubai financial technology (fintech) startup, has ambitious plans to change that. Using a free app, it is bringing digital money services to the fingertips of low-income workers, turning their smartphones into virtual banks. Users can pay bills, receive cash and – critically for a group that sends the bulk of its wages home – gain access to a web of remittance providers that promise to transfer money abroad at better rates, and at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional players. “We’re a financial inclusion project,” says cofounder Kat Budd. “We’re a commercial organisation, yes, but we want to drive change.” NOW Money works directly with employers to fuse their payroll to the app. Workers receive a link and training before their salary is paid directly into an online account. The account, which is protected by a clutch of biometric security features, comes with an ATM card for use online or for swiping at the cash register, and gives blue-collar migrants round-the-clock access to their money. To date, NOW Money has signed up more than 30,000 users

"We're a financial inclusion project. We're a commercial organisation, but we want to drive change"

– from delivery drivers, to hotel staff, and retail workers – capitalising on soaring smartphone use and a population already up to speed with mobile money models. “This is a population that is very tech-savvy, and these solutions have existed for years in their home countries,” explains Budd. “As the price point on smartphones falls, it makes sense that we will see mobile money take off in the GCC as it has in other regions.” The payoff could be significant. Of the $581.6bn that crossed national borders in 2015, the World Bank estimates banks and courier services netted around 8 per cent, taken in fees. NOW Money charges 2 per cent, says Budd, and its providers charge between 0.5 and 2 per cent per transfer. “We only make money if people use our service,” she says. “We’re incentivised to make it engaging, and to serve the customer well.” The idea for the app came in 2014. Budd and cofounder Ian Dillion had worked with onlineonly startup banks in the UK, and saw a gap in the market for a digital model in the UAE – but one targeting the bottom of the pyramid. They spent $150,000 “if not more”, says Budd, to map out the business and the app, before raising $500,000 in a funding round. Another break came in 2015, when the pair joined Dubai-based startup accelerator Astrolabs. “It really upped our game in terms of moving the business forward,” explains Budd. More challenging was navigating the maze of red tape around licensing and regulation, in a region where digital banking is in its infancy. “Fintech is only now catching on here, so we were really breaking new ground,” she says. “It’s persistence that got us through.” The focus now is on growth. The startup hopes to move into Saudi Arabia this year – the world’s second largest remittance source country – and is in the throes of a fresh funding round, which aims to raise $5m. It has also begun working with Melltoo, the Gulf’s answer to ecommerce platform Ebay, offering its services to the site’s unbanked sellers. With 100,000 active users, “it is an opportunity to become the region’s Paypal,” says Budd. In January, NOW Money pitched against three other Gulf social enterprises to scoop first place in the GCC finals of The Venture, a global contest to find social enterprises with the ability to scale. The win gives the company a shot at the global prize later this year, which is backed by a $1m funding pot, and the chance to be a positive voice for the region, she adds. “People thought we were absolutely crazy to leave our jobs to pursue this,” recalls Budd. “But we see massive opportunity in this market.”

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Consult for a cause Muhammad Al-Bakri - Saudi Arabia



people got together via the social media site to distribute goods such as fridges, food and medicine to poor neighbourhoods in Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah. Unlike other initiatives that disbanded after a while, this group of volunteers carried on. Still, although the group kept returning to the same neighbourhoods nothing was changing. It was then that Muhammad Al-Bakri and his cofounders realised that, despite deep wells of generosity in the kingdom, a large gap exists between doing good and doing well. “It was always the same people still waiting for food,” he explains. “That’s when we decided there must be a better way.” And so, Young Initiative Group (YIG) Consult was born. YIG Consult aims to professionalise the nonprofit sector in Saudi Arabia by promoting the tools to plan, implement and measure the impact of charitable projects. “People in nonprofits work from the standpoint of sustainability, whereas [people in Saudi Arabia] tend to work on an emotional platform – God will provide and impact is something others will worry "There is so much abuse of the nonprofit sector in Saudi Arabia because no one expects reports on the outcomes"


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about,” explains Al-Bakri. “There is so much abuse of the nonprofit sector because no one expects reports on the outcomes.” In 2014, the social enterprise started working with firms to design and carry out corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, including training for corporate volunteers. YIG has worked with clients such as global consumer goods giant Unilever, and advised Rabea Tea employees on how to encourage young people to take on environmental projects, for example. It is also working with a wealthy client to develop a crowdfunding platform for medical charities. The money from the advisory arm has helped kickstart YIG’s own projects. Part funded by the King Khalid Foundation, YIG is developing an Arabic web platform that aims to help NGOs plan and measure their performance. While such tools are freely available already, few are in Arabic, according to Al-Bakri. There will be a free version of the platform and a paid version to unlock more advice and tools, he explains. Another of YIG’s projects is an initiative to boost volunteering in the kingdom. The social business is working with children from all income levels between the ages of three to five, and seven to 11, to instil a sense of civic duty early on. YIG works with richer children on the responsibility that comes with privilege, while teaching students from lower-income households they are just as able as others to make a difference, says Al-Bakri. Social enterprise is a relatively new sector in the kingdom, but it has already gained ground among young Saudis thanks to a growing awareness of successful social businesses abroad. “Youth see social enterprise as a better way to do charity,” says Al-Bakri. At the same time, the rise of social ventures can help tackle youth unemployment, one of Saudi Arabia’s most pernicious problems. “Once you realise you can operate a nonprofit like a business, it will generate jobs automatically,” he notes. It can also help fill the gap in services as government coffers feel the squeeze of the oil price rout that has hit the Gulf kingdom: “Energy conservation, water conservation, housing – these are all big challenges. We need to start realising as a community that we must address these issues in an entrepreneurial way.” Al-Bakri hopes young Saudis will start to see the blend of business and philanthropy as an attractive career option, although he acknowledges the social sector is not yet seen as “a serious sector” in terms of talent, and many are wary of the lower salaries on offer. But being a social entrepreneur has its own rewards. “Now young people can dedicate their life to something more gratifying than creating money for a company,” he says.

Powering up Charles Blaschke - UAE



energy consumption by a fifth, by simplifying energy bills. The Dubai-based founder of Taka Solutions believes engaging consumers could shrink usage and pollution faster – and at a fraction of the cost – of more complex fixes such as wind farms and solar power stations. “The way to solve climate change is to put the tools for energy efficiency in everybody’s hands,” he says. “It’s the most effective way to reduce energy and carbon emissions.” Launched in 2013 with $150,000 in seed funding, Taka uses a pay-asyou-save model to retrofit buildings and deliver energy savings. Working with clients including Standard Chartered Bank, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Fairmont Hotels, the firm uses building information modeling, cloud-based analytics, engineering and smart technology to spot and capitalise on energy-saving opportunities. Taka foots the upfront bill for making buildings more energy-efficient, in exchange for a cut of the savings generated. “We make an average saving of about 28 per cent [in energy bills],” says Blaschke. “If we don’t save, we don’t get paid.” Client contracts are typically between five and eight years in length, and Taka broke even after just 12 months of operation, Blaschke says. With

"Our goal is not to save a little bit of energy by turning off a few lights. Our goal is to make big savings and generate big impact. The more business we do, the more good we can do"

buildings estimated to account for more than one-third of global energy use, however, the profit is outweighed by the potential social return. “Our goal isn’t to save a little bit of energy by turning off a few lights,” explains Blaschke. “Our goal is to make deep retrofits, big savings and generate big impact. The more business we do, the more good we can do in tackling this huge problem.” Globally, energy efficiency is on the rise, blunting demand for fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide they generate. Investment in the market rose 6 per cent to $221bn in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency. The Paris-based agency believes efficiency could cut the bills of energy consumers by $86bn by 2030, making tens of power plants around the world redundant. Now, Taka’s focus is these consumers. In 2016, the company’s pay-to-save model caught the eye of The Venture, a global competition that seeks out social enterprises with the potential to deliver wide-scale impact. Though Taka missed out on a place at the global final, the contest helped the firm to sharpen a plan to expand its reach, and bring energy-saving expertise to individuals. “After years of upgrading buildings to save money and energy, we realised we needed a way to get down to the tenant,” says Blaschke. “We could save a building $1m a year, but that would go to the owner’s pocket. To an individual, saving AED100 ($30) from their monthly energy bill is a lot.” Taka’s answer is a free app that tracks an individual’s energy usage, gamifying their monthly bill. Tenants receive tips on cutting their consumption and comparisons to neighbours, encouraging smarter use of electricity. This is particularly critical for the power-hungry GCC states. According to the Arab Petroleum Investments Corp, the trade bloc will need to add 69GW of electricity production over the next five years to meet soaring domestic demand. “It’s customised and all at their fingertips,” says Blaschke. “We want tenants to see how they can cut their bills and the products and solutions that could help. And from an energy efficiency perspective, a high-performing building depends on the people within it.” In October, Taka launched a joint venture with Corys Environment, the investment arm of UAE-based Green Coast Enterprises. Taka Energy Services will “remove funding barriers” to Taka’s goal of cutting global energy consumption and carbon output by a fifth, says Blaschke. “This will allow us to offer larger financing and deeper retrofits, and will eventually save more energy, carbon and money for our clients. [This partnership] is going to change the energy and investment landscape of the UAE in the years to come.” —

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In a newly digital world, nonprofit organisations in the Arab world are facing fresh demands for transparency and accountability. They should respond, or risk losing support and, worse, fostering public distrust writes Heba Abou Shnief

Transparency in a digital era



evolving. Capitalising on the digital window of opportunity, nonprofits and aid agencies are increasingly engaging with donors and supporters through websites, social platforms, apps, videos, photos and more. In a 2014 survey on Arab social media trends, co-published by Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, 79 per cent of the 3,373 respondents felt the internet had made them more responsive to the community. Giving through mobile apps is also on the rise. MegaKheir, among the first Egyptian apps for charitable giving, defied the country’s economic slump to raise EGP25.5m ($1.41m) in 2016, up from EGP24.3m the previous year. According to Maissera Allaithy, product manager at MegaKheir, charitable agencies of all sizes and subsectors have embraced the platform. Regional unrest has led to the emergence of numerous online, Arab-centered initiatives focused on humanitarian aid and volunteering. Molham, a youth-led volunteering hub that focuses on Syrian refugees, Attahub in Kuwait and the Algeria-based Ness Khir, are all examples of digital platforms mobilising ordinary citizens, activists and agencies around a cause. The primary driver behind this shift to digital philanthropy is rising mobile and internet penetration in the Arab world. While internet penetration in the region lags the world average, it boasts one of the fastest annual growth rates at 20 per cent.


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Mobile penetration rates are at 110 per cent. An equally important force for digital philanthropic engagement is demographics: more than 60 per cent of the Arab region’s population are youth, of which the majority are frustrated by the lack of participatory political processes and institutions. Digital channels offer far more freedoms and space for voicing the concerns and aspirations of Arab youth. This growing online civic engagement is one manifestation of this movement. Yet while this new, digital pathway for giving is gaining momentum in the region, it also brings to the fore important questions on how – indeed if at all – it is influencing the practices of philanthropic organisations themselves. One issue that nonprofits must respond to is the growing demand for transparency, which is visibly becoming a determinant of philanthropic giving both in the region and globally. Digital philanthropic engagement places more pressure on nonprofits to be proactive in publicising data about their work and impact. This is an even more pressing issue for those that rely on crowdsourcing and public donations. The 2015 Arab Giving Survey, published by Philanthropy Age and market research company YouGov, polled 1,008 respondents (64 per cent were aged 25 to 39) in the six GCC countries. This study found that the overwhelming majority of those surveyed believe that a charity’s transparency and the visibility of its

Fast-growing internet connectivity and youthful demographics are propelling the Arab region's digital giving

effectiveness are both key determinants that influence their donation decisions. Responding to shifting donor expectations on transparency has regulatory dimensions. To date, there are no government-imposed regulations or mandatory codes in the region that require ph i l a nt h ropic or g a n i s at ion s t o sh a re d at a . According to Dima Jweihan, executive director of the International Center for Nonprofit Law’s MENA office: “While regulatory frameworks in the region include provisions for basic transparency of civil society organisations [CSOs], it is mainly linked to requirements by government supervisory authorities. The concept of transparency of CSOs to the public is missing at large in the region.” The recent CSO law in Egypt that requires philanthropic organisations and nonprofits to publish their financial accounts online is one step in this direction, but it is not enough to catalyse widespread change. Equally important is a shift within the industry towards transparency. Publishing annual reports, financial statements and information about operations, grantmaking processes and investment policies online is still the purview of only a few foundations and nonprofits, and mainly those that fall under the umbrella of corporate philanthropy. Nothing short of a culture shift towards transparency – where transparency permeates behaviour and operations,


with digital accessibility at its heart – is needed by philanthropic organisations to operate and thrive in a digital era. Simply sharing basic details about roles, programmes and targets will no longer cut it with donors. In an expanding digital landscape, the discussion around transparency in the Arab philanthropic sector is critical. Those organisations that retain a ‘business as usual’ approach risk losing donor support or, in the worst scenario, fostering public distrust. A broader conversation, which takes in philanthropic actors, governments and stakeholders on the best means of sharing data for social change, is warranted. —


Heba Abou Shnief is a 2014 senior international fellow of the City University of New York’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. In addition to authoring and co-authoring publications on philanthropy and development policy, she has advised academic institutions, intergovernmental bodies, international organisations, grantmaking foundations and the private sector

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Class struggle Around the world, 263 million children and young people are out of school. By 2030, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) wants to reverse that. Former Australian prime minister and GPE chair Julia Gillard explains why – despite the barriers – creating quality, inclusive education for all is within the world’s grasp

Education for all requires thinking beyond the traditional model of a classroom

E D U C AT I O N T O D AY H A S a n a c c e s s

problem. Globally, more than 260 million children and young people are out of school, and making education available to them will require a huge shift. For many, given their circumstances, it’s not going to be the traditional model of a school at the end of the road, with classrooms a nd teachers. To meet the needs of very poor families, of refugee families, we’ll need to be more flexible than that.


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This is not a John F Kennedy moon shot. We are not saying to the world: ‘Let’s do something humanity has never done before.’ If every country was improving its education at the rate of the top 25 per cent of nations in their income band, then we could solve this. We could create a learning generation. FOR A LONG time, education has been less visible than issues such as global health. When the world came together

for the millennium development goals (MDGs), much of the buzz afterwards was in health. It created the big levers we’re seeing now – Gavi, the global vaccine alliance and others – that have made a profound difference. But in the wake of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), that buzz is around education. And that’s because the evidence is so clear that it is a building block. The health agenda can’t be achieved without education. The

anti-poverty agenda can’t be met without it. The currents of change are, for the first time, focused on education. FUNDING REMAINS A key issue. In recent

years, we have seen overseas development assistance go up by 8 per cent, but education’s share has fallen by 12 per cent. In humanitarian appeals, education typically only runs at 2 per cent. If we did a stock take today, and asked: ‘Are we doing enough to finance education?’ I think the answer would be an unambiguous no.


change in private philanthropy. That means at-scale philanthropy engaged in education, as well as catalytic private engagement around the new knowledge we need to create. The field is wide open, and I think philanthropists entering the field now will not only get the sense that they’re doing good, but that they’re at the forefront of innovation. In terms of being reassured and engaged about where your dollars are going, education offers a great deal. THE MDGS SHOWED us that it’s not just

about getting kids into school. Many countries have made great strides in building schools, in enrollment, but the quality of teaching within those classrooms isn’t good enough for children to learn. We see classrooms of 100 kids, with one teacher, no or very few books, and learning is done by rote. A few children keep up, and the others are left behind. Fixing this requires patient work. GPE supports countries both in helping to properly plan their schools and their schooling systems, and in increasing access and quality.

“We know that if there are large numbers of young people with nothing to do, in the absence of a book, they will pick up a weapon. In our globally connected world, that sort of instability affects us all”

long way from the UN, yet they understand fully the benefits of educating girls. IF WE DON’T act on education, what will

the world look like in 2030? It’s a dark picture. To cite a report from the Education Commission, half of the jobs in the global economy will have disappeared as new technology impacts on the workplace. Of the 1.6 billion children in school, half will be on track to leave secondary school without basic secondary-level skills. It’s clear the crisis that arises from having high-level jobs, and young people unequipped with the skills to do them. It means lower global growth. It means people without hope, which we know leads to conflict, to displacement, to political instability. We’ve watched this movie before. We know that if there are large numbers of young people with nothing to do, in the absence of a book, they will pick up a weapon. In our globally connected world, that sort of instability affects us all.


don’t learn in five minutes; they learn every day. And unless you are getting their education right every day, then they won’t reach their full potential. But we a l l k now f rom ou r ow n experiences that there a re litera lly moments when you can watch a penny drop, or a concept land, and that child knows something they’ve never known before. You have that delightful sense that you’ve changed a life. In asking people to support GPE, and to support global access to education, we’re really asking people to feel that moment of wonder – and not at the scale of 1 to 1, but at a scale of hundreds of millions. —

Creating quality, inclusive education for all is “not a moon shot”, says GPE chair Julia Gillard

THERE IS NO silver bullet in development.

But the thing that comes closest is girls’ education. At GPE, when we work with countries to plan their education systems, we won’t fund against plans that aren’t inclusive for girls. We know that educating girls means fewer children dying of preventable diseases. We know it means less poverty, and more inclusive economic growth. More importantly, countries can see the difference it makes. In Malawi, in early February, I visited a village where a mothers’ group works together to offer informal childcare to young girls with babies, so they can go back to school. A mothers’ group in Malawi is a

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Next step

The stories on these pages are just a start. Many of the organisations we feature are saving and changing lives on a daily basis, but they need support to survive. Get in touch to learn more about the issues – or to get busy solving them – and take the next step on your own philanthropic journey







Founded in 2015, Recycle Beirut aims to tackle two of Lebanon’s toughest challenges: refugees and waste. Staffed entirely by people who fled Syria and Palestine, the social business collects and sorts tonnes of the capital’s rubbish ready for recycling. The business hopes to give more refugees dignity and a wage, and kickstart a recycling revolution.

Launched in 2014, the Culturunners initiative uses artists, filmmakers and journalists to bring the stories and histories of the Arab world to the heartland of America. Culturunners is a project of Art Jameel and UK-based nonprofit Edge of Arabia, founded by British and Saudi artists to promote dialogue between the Middle East and the west.

Mo Ibrahim is as famous for his philanthropy as for his business empire. His eponymous foundation has worked to foster democracy in Africa for more than a decade, and build pressure for better government. The Mo Ibrahim Prize, in particular, singles out leaders who govern well and exit the stage peacefully – an example of a leading light for change.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has one of the world’s toughest jobs. Responsible for the oversight of aid emergencies, the agency reached some 87 million people last year. Just 5 per cent of OCHA’s money comes from the main UN budget. With needs spiralling in 2017, support is critical to help save lives.

CARE International UK was founded in 1945 to send ‘care packages’ to people recovering from war. The nonprofit has been helping some of the world’s poorest fight poverty and inequality ever since. With support, CARE works to save lives in 79 developing countries, and helps people to rebuild homes, lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of war and disaster.

The Riyadh-based King Khalid Foundation aims to nurture Saudi Arabia’s philanthropic sector to meet the country’s problems. Through grant-making and lobbying for legal change, the foundation hopes to guide the kingdom’s young people into jobs, volunteering activities and nonprofit careers, and start to tackle Saudi’s unemployment challenge.

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Twenty million. It is an unfathomably large number; yet, 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria face starvation and famine, the UN warned in March. “Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death,” Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said starkly. Insecurity and war have tipped already fragile populations over the edge. Yemen, in particular, teeters on the brink where 18.8 million people need assistance and 462,000 children are severely malnourished. The humanitarian community appealed for $2.1bn to reach 12 million people in Yemen alone. “We must prevail as so many lives depend on us,” O’Brien said Tony Karumba


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83 empowers women to get safe water by helping them access small, affordable loans to install water connections and toilets. We believe empowering women is critical because though they aren’t trying to change the world, they will.

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Philanthropy Age Issue 12 English Edition  

Philanthropy Age Issue 12 English Edition