Ramadan Calendar 2023
Check this page every day of the holy month to learn more about the wonderful philanthropy, activities, and initiatives our network and other organizations are doing around the Arab region.
This Ramadan, Taawon – Palestine’s largest non-profit organization – has launched a campaign to spread the spirit of giving “from small farmers to vulnerable families”. The aim is to strengthen the resilience of needy families suffering through the blockade in the Gaza Strip by providing them with weekly supplies of fresh produce for five weeks over Ramadan and Eid. The food is bought from small farmers in the region, giving them a much-needed source of income. Learn more and donate here.
As one of the leaders of the #PhilanthropyForClimate movement, WINGS works with foundations and philanthropic organizations around the world to help them find ways to do their part in tackling the climate crisis. To show how even groups without a climate focus can take impactful climate action, WINGS has launched a series of case studies that share the stories of 20 foundations and the institutional changes they are making to join the fight against climate change. Find out more about WINGS here and read the case studies here.
Arab philanthropy is a vibrant and growing sector, but a lack of in-depth and comprehensive data on philanthropy in the region means it is difficult to know who or what the funding is going to, the impact that money is making, and, crucially, where financing is still needed.
To close that data gap, we launched the Arab Philanthropy Survey in 2021, which we developed with Dalberg Advisors. Now, in collaboration with Philanthropy Age and the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, we have released an updated, more streamlined survey. The aim is to produce a powerful snapshot of the good work that Arab foundations do, how they operate, and the challenges they face. We hope the survey findings will allow us to learn from one another and work together to grow our impact on the lives of people in the Arab region and beyond. To take part and make sure your voice is heard, fill out the survey here.
The Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School aims to engage diverse voices to discuss strategic philanthropy and key development initiatives in global growth markets – specifically Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Their latest projects in the MENA region include a landmark report on “Giving in the Gulf Co-operation Council”, released in October 2022 in partnership with LGT Private Banking. With the goal of helping address the knowledge gap in Arab philanthropy, this report provides valuable insights into fundamental trends, opportunities, and challenges that can help inform future research and capacity-building agendas on philanthropy in the region.
A new project from Greenpeace brings together local, regional, and international organizations to implement various initiatives to promote sustainable living practices among Muslim communities. Ummah for Earth (U4E) taps into online story mapping to reach out to Muslim youth who are passionate about the environment, and also organizes educational training and workshops on sustainable development projects such as renewable energy and sustainable water management. Umma for Earth launched The Green Hajj and Umrah Guide, as well as a mobile application that allows pilgrims to perform Hajj and Umrah in an environmentally-friendly manner, available in Arabic, English, Indonesian Bahasa, and Malay Languages.
This Ramadan, AFF member SOS Children’s Villages, which supports vulnerable children in 137 countries and territories, is fundraising for its SOS Syrian Emergency Relief Program to provide vital help to children and families affected by the recent devastating earthquakes in and around Aleppo, Syria for three years. The appeal aims to reach 25,000 people and focuses on emergency aid (food, medicine, clothing, and hygiene supplies), evacuation and emergency relocation, psychosocial support, and long-term support to help families recover and rebuild. Follow this link to donate.
In the wake of the news that Senegal has managed to interrupt the transmission of river blindness within its borders, the END Fund recently launched a stunning photo series to celebrate the progress being made in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “Reframing Neglect” brings together fine art and documentary photography to remind us that NTDs especially afflict people who are neglected by international systems. Check out this link to see a selection of the photos and to donate.
In partnership with UNICEF, the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) — a non-profit, non-governmental organization focusing on child safety — has launched the #Mush_Sah campaign with the aim of raising awareness about the potential dangers facing children and adolescents on the internet. The campaign is designed to help children, adolescents, and their families recognize and address situations that could expose them to online abuse using coloring books, a training guide for child protection service providers, and 12 child-friendly films, which have been translated into sign language in cooperation with the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Follow this link to donate.
Founded to champion the values and beliefs of King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the King Khalid Foundation is a leading civil society organization in Saudi Arabia dedicated to the development of an equal and inclusive society. The organization focuses on social investment — providing financial support to innovative non-profit projects and groups that support skills development, employment, and job creation — capacity building, and the economic empowerment of Saudi citizens, using an evidence-led approach to design policy solutions that help build an effective social protection system.
In the lead-up to International Fact-Checking Day on April 2, be sure to check out the Arab Fact Checkers Network (AFCN), a project led by AFF member Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), the first and leading media organization in the MENA region dedicated to promoting investigative journalism across the Arab world.
The AFCN Twitter feed is a great place to learn more about the project’s efforts to combat the spread of misinformation and the collaboration between Arab and international fact-checking organizations to spread awareness about fighting fake news.
The ARIJ is also hosting “AFCN Ramadan Nights”, a webinar held over two days (April 1 & 2) to talk about the importance of fact checking, and how media and journalism students and practitioners can use it in their daily work. The webinar is available in Arabic. Register here.
Enroot, an AFF member based in Cairo, recently launched its employment project 100 Forsa after research revealed that young Egyptians had limited knowledge about labor market demands and opportunities and were generally unaware of the laws and regulations around alternative work situations such as freelancing or working for a foreign employer.
Offering training in sectors including digital work, ICT, data, and analytics, the project aims to boost the employability skills of youth and women in Upper and Lower Egypt while also contributing to job creation and the growth of the private sector. Follow this link to find out more.
The UK-based Asfari Foundation is a grant-making charity that uses education and research to empower young people to make a valuable contribution to their communities and build a sustainable civil society. Its programs include the Youth Learning, Entrepreneurship and InnovAtion Programme (YLEAP), which offers funding to organizations that support young entrepreneurs, from ideation to impact investment.
To learn more about this AFF member’s programs aimed at giving youth the power to make positive change, or to apply for a grant, follow this link.
In December, we launched our milestone report “An Enabling Arab Civic Space for Resilience, Growth and Sustainability”. The report, which was funded by a grant from WINGS with support from the European Union, takes a data-led look at the challenges facing the philanthropy sector in four of the most restrictive countries in the Arab region: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Now, we’ve launched the report in Arabic, to ensure the insights and inspiration can reach even more people in the region. Check out the Arabic verion here, and read the English version, too.
Alongside the more than 130 programs the American University of Beirut runs for its student body, this returning AFF member believes community outreach is a vital part of a full education, with projects such as University for Seniors giving older adults (50 and above) opportunities to both learn something new and share their wisdom and experience with others.
In this popular program, members participate in lectures, study groups, field trips, and social events. By putting some of those classes and activities online, AUB can also reach senior Lebanese living in places such as the UK, Dubai, and Nigeria, allowing even more people to benefit from lifelong learning. Learn more about what AUB has to offer here.
They say laughter is the best medicine and AFF member Red Noses International believes that’s true for the body, mind, and soul. The charity’s clown doctors devote their time to bringing an extra dose of fun, music, and color to people who need it most, including children in hospitals, children with disabilities, elderly people, and people in crisis. Last year, their international team worked with the International Organisation for Migration to bring joy to refugees in shelters in Greece and Red Noses Jordan signed a deal with the International Medical Corps to put smiles on the faces of children in the region. You can donate here.
Through its four main programs — Child Development, Adolescent Development, Youth Organizing, and Community Support — AFF member Ruwwad works with disenfranchised communities to generate opportunities and help tackle inequality. Reaching people in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine, the non-profit development organization uses education, volunteerism, and grassroots organizing to nurture civic engagement and encourage ground-up solutions. If you want to get involved or donate, you can find out more here.
Since it was founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested 180 billion euros in more than 6,500 projects across three continents aimed at making the economies in its regions competitive, well governed, green, inclusive, resilient, and integrated.
Currently, this AFF member is focusing on four key topics: small businesses; infrastructure to spur economic growth and create jobs; funding and coordinating efforts to improve the site of the Chernobyl nuclear accident; and refugee crisis response in Jordan and Turkey, along with its commitment to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow this link to find out more.
In many parts of the world, widowhood can lead to poverty, social exclusion, and loss of basic rights. With the Give Hope appeal, running through Ramadan and the spring, AFF member Alfanar aims to raise £50,000 to help 2,000 widows in the Arab region establish microenterprises so they can provide for their families on their own. Empowering widows through vocational training, micro-loans, widow’s savings and loans associations, and other initiatives also means their children can stay in school and their families can rise out of poverty. Follow this link to donate.
With a focus on helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 — ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all — Dubai Cares has reached more than 21 million people in 60 developing countries with its support for programs in early childhood development, access to quality primary and secondary school, and technical and vocational training for youth. To learn more about the programs the organization supports and to donate, follow this link.
Culture Funding Watch is on a mission to promote the cultural and creative industries (CCI) in the MENA and Africa regions and connect artists and entrepreneurs to the resources they need by giving them access to information, data, and opportunities. This AFF member’s dream is to establish “inclusive, responsible, and sustainable resources mobilization practices for the Arts and Culture sector.” Follow this link to find out more about CFW’s work, from calls to apply for arts prizes and job openings to valuable workshops and internships for those working in the cultural sector.
Guided by its four principles of quality, inclusivity, flexibility, and independence, the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) supports researchers and academic and research institutions with the aim of contributing to the creation, dissemination, validation, and utilization of social science research, while also enriching public debate about the challenges facing Arab societies. The organization is currently gearing up for its sixth conference, entitled “Producing Critical Knowledge in the Arab Region”, being held in Beirut, Lebanon from May 25-28. Discussions will focus on expanding understandings of “knowledge” to go beyond traditional top-down notions and give equal weight to alternative, marginalized, and informal processes of knowledge-making. Find out more here.
Based at the American University in Cairo School of Business, the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy, Civic Engagement, and Responsible Business was established to further the university’s commitment to social responsibility. The center, an AFF member, is dedicated to strengthening the culture and effectiveness of philanthropy in the Arab region and supporting strategic giving and civic innovation through programs that focus on capacity development, youth empowerment and research. Click here to discover more about the center and its work.
Since it was established in 2001 as one of Egypt’s first national donor foundations, the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) has been working with civil society and the private and governmental sectors to address some of the most urgent issues facing marginalized Egyptians, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of health services and limited access to quality education. So far, this AFF member has invested more than EGP 1.3 billion in funding and programs, creating jobs and opening up access to education and basic services to more than 415,000 people. See this link for more information.
A Somalia-based non-governmental organization, the Iftiin Foundation works to empower young people to become peacemakers and drivers of economic growth through entrepreneurial, technical, and leadership skills development programs. The AFF member’s initiatives include supporting women and girls and fighting gender-based violence by challenging harmful gender norms, four-month training similar to a mini-MBA to teach young Somalians how to run a business, and establishing Peace and Reconciliation Committees in selected cities in Southern Somalia to support the reintegration of war-affected youth. Find out more at this link.
With a focus on Sustainable Development Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), the non-profit Saleh Abdullah Kamel Humanitarian Foundation (SAKHF) supports innovative solutions to building a productive and symbiotic society. This AFF member works with projects in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that share its mission of contributing to knowledge that helps strengthen the Islamic economy, reviving and promoting the Arabic language, and improving the quality of life of the elderly and the blind. See here for more.
Training young plumbers and electricians in Kenya. Supporting the building and operation of clean water kiosks in Bangladesh. Helping Jordanians get jobs in hospitality and tourism. These are just a handful of the more than 150 projects that AFF member Swisscontact supports in its quest to tackle the root causes of economic, social, and environmental challenges in the Arab region and other parts of the globe. Working closely with the local private sector and civil society, the independent non-profit aims to improve the framework conditions for sustainable development through the facilitation of access to skills, knowledge, markets, technologies, and financial services. Learn more here and follow this link to donate.
Founded by Her Majesty Queen Noor, the King Hussein Foundation aims to foster equitable access to socioeconomic, educational, health, and cultural opportunities to women, young people and the marginalized across Jordan and beyond. From microfinancing to women’s empowerment, family health to cross-cultural exchange, the programs that this AFF member supports are all about promoting human security, peacebuilding, and giving people the tools and skills to contribute meaningfully to society. Follow this link for more information and you can donate here.
One of our newest members, Hands Along the Nile Development Services (HANDS) is on a mission to increase dialogue and understanding between Americans and Egyptians with the goal of boosting intercultural collaboration and bringing socioeconomic stability to marginalized communities in Egypt. With programs like “Insight Trips” that introduce Americans to the history, art, and people of Egypt and initiatives such as Horus Hospital, which offers affordable, quality eye care to the residents of Minya province, one of Egypt’s poorest areas, HANDS focuses on facilitating cultural exchange and partnership to help Egyptians improve the quality of life for themselves, their communities, and their country. Check out their site to learn more and to donate.
Based in Beirut, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is all about building a flourishing cultural and artistic scene across the Arab region. With three principles at its heart — autonomy, transparency, and dynamism — AFAC works with artists and organizations across the arts, including film, photography, visual and performing arts, writing, and music, helping to raise artistic voices through training, cultural events, research funding, and other support. Follow this link to read more about the foundation and ways you can contribute to its efforts.
On the last day of our Ramadan calendar, we look ahead to some of the exciting events we have coming up. New workshops will offer insights and practical solutions to help advance the impact of philanthropy around the region. Our annual meeting in September will highlight what we and our network have achieved over the past year and our future plans. And for COP 28 in November, we will be engaging in and convening a range of events to help give voice to the sector in one of the regions hardest hit by the climate crisis. Keep checking our website for details on all of this and more!