In Egypt, 16.7 million children live in poverty. Millions of others are homeless, struggle to receive adequate health care and education and are faced with numerous other social and economic problems. While many people feel the urge to offer a helping hand and reach out, one social initiative has made the ability to make a difference in the lives of those in need as easy clicking a button.
Nafez.org now allows you to support various local causes with a few clicks on your mouse and keyboard. The social initiative was formed with the aim to support development and social initiatives in Egypt by ensuring the public, private and civil society sectors work together.
“We saw that there was a lack of visibility and transparency for three of what we consider our stake-holders. Firstly some NGOs were actually doing a good work in certain unprivileged communities, but not getting recognition and they were also facing funding problems,” said Kareem Abouelsoud, one of the founders of Nafez. “The issue mostly was that a number of NGOs were getting foreign funding and local sources were quite limited, or they simply did not know how to get them.”
The process is very simple, NGOs send in applications for funding grants and all of these bids are placed on Nafez’s website. Members of the public can register on the site and then vote for the NGOs they think should get the funding grants for that round, once the round has finished, those charities with the most votes get awarded the grants, with the money provided by sponsors from the private sectors.
The NGOs that get funded will also post updates on Nafez.org so that the public can see where the contributions are spent and how they have helped. There is also a section on the website for members of the public to either suggest causes or ideas for the NGO’s.
At the latest round on Thursday the 15th of May, a small ceremony was held in the office of Cairo Runners, in Nasr City, Cairo. The ceremony was to present cheques to Egyptian non-governmental organizations that had been voted for by the public on the website Nafez.org.
Ahl Masr, which works within the health sector with an emphasis on children who have suffered burns, was one of the organisations awarded with a grant from the first round;.
“When we heard that Cairo Runners were donating money to Nafez, we quickly approached Nafez through Cairo Runners and asked how we could participate and actually get this money. Nafez explained that it was through a competition in which the NGO that gets the most votes on their website will win this sum of money which was 50,000,” Nahla Salem from Ahl Masr explained.
“Nafez is the first of its kind in Egypt which emphasizes on the importance of their work, not only is it a good thing but it is extremely helpful and motivating for people fighting to advocate a cause and take action in development and social work.”
Another organisation that applied for the grants was Educate Me, a non-profit that aims to redefine the Egyptian education system and was directly approached by Nafez to take part in the bidding process.
“We were approached by Nafez around two weeks before the competition started, we did not know about them then, and they explained to us the concept of their website and that they want to give NGOs a chance to acquire funding from corporations which normally they might not have access to,” Aya Nasser told Egyptian Streets.
“The work Nafez is doing is very important, they are the first Egyptian online platform through which NGOs can build public awareness about their work and various projects and get support and credibility from the public while also giving them a chance especially small or new NGOs which might not have access to some sources of funding such as CSR to acquire funding to implement their projects and grow,” said Nasser.
“Also, their focus on having strict timelines and milestones for the projects to hold the NGOs who get the funding accountable for implementing their pledged projects adds to their credibility and gives people more stack in following up on the NGOs work.”
While there are other ways for NGO’s to raise money, Kareem explained that it would largely rely on who you know within the corporate sector, so Nafez has created a middle ground platform for both corporate sponsors who wish to fund charitable causes, and the charities who may not otherwise have the connections.
“Within the general public there was a lack of recognition of the work that these NGOs were doing,” said Karim. “People are interested in development work, but the message of some the incredible work that some people are doing just was not reaching the public.”
To participate in Nafez.org’s initiative, click here to visit their website.
Edited by Marina Kilada