03 Feb

Civil Society for the Displaced

To meet the challenges of massive human displacement in the Middle East and North Africa, civil society actors need a common platform where they can advocate. The MENA Civil Society Network for Displacement or CSND sets out to be that.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been experiencing displacement on a massive scale for decades, and is now witnessing the largest amount of humanitarian crises in contemporary regional history. Wave after wave of conflict-induced refugee and internal displacement movements have taken place in many countries across the region. Addressing the complex set of current challenges and planning for post-conflict stabilization are high on the agendas of many stakeholders internationally. Yet, the brunt of the responsibility to provide protection and assistance to those fleeing conflict and violence continues to be borne by the MENA region, with almost 40 percent of total global displacement contained within the Middle East and North Africa.

How has the region dealt with these movements? How have local actors, first line responders, national NGOs, faith-based organizations, academics, media, community-based organizations, and so many others composing what we consolidate together as “civil society” worked together? How can they more coherently work toward building structures and measures which have a sustainable and preventive impact?

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01 Feb

The Arab world’s best weapon against climate change? Its young people

Young people across the Arab world are taking up the climate action mantle

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The IPCC’s recent report on global warming shows how no country is immune to the effects of climate change, including the Arab world. The region’s geological and ecological particularity puts it at a high risk of water scarcity, food insecurity, drought, heat waves, disease and many other significant issues. These problems are already being witnessed. Moreover, there is a huge lack of awareness about this issue, especially among the young people who might be able to speak up for regional and global climate action. Young people, as inheritors of this planet, are crucial stakeholders in humanity’s response to the climate crisis. Climate change cannot be dealt without a high level of youth participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region or anywhere else.

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27 Jan

Should Your Non-Profit Accept Bitcoin for Donations?

Have you heard about Bitcoin? It’s one of the new world (crypto)currencies, and many non-profits have been asking whether or not they should accept Bitcoin for donations. In this article, I am going to present a quick introduction to what Bitcoin is, and help you decide if your non-profit should accept Bitcoin donations.

What is Bitcoin?
The short answer for those who are non-technical is that Bitcoin is a new digital “currency” or “store of value” that exists on computers and on the web. Bitcoins are worth a certain amount of money, can be used in many places to buy and sell things, and can be traded in for US Dollars, Euros or other forms of currency at an ever-changing exchange rate.
Bitcoin is a little like gold. It is worth something, can be used to buy things, or can be sold for dollars, euros, pesos or other currency.

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23 Jan

Impact Investing Into The Forefront

It goes without saying that bringing impact investing to the forefront would provide a new power and push to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become.” Heraclitus, Philosopher (c. 535 B.C. – 475 B.C.)

Impact investing is a term that is being thrown around globally, as a notion that one needs to become responsible through all waves of life. For many years, however, the idea of being philanthropic and the world of investments were seen as two separate disciplines. As noted by Rockefeller Foundation, “one champions social change, the other financial gain.” The very idea that the two approaches could be integrated in the same transaction- in essence, delivering a financial return, whilst also doing good- struck most philanthropists and investors as being far-fetched.
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01 Dec

5 Apps to feel like a global citizen

We use tons of different apps everyday to connect with friends, share personal stories, find a new date, exercise, manage time, get inspired or entertain. However, some apps can be used to help other people and solve socially pressing issues. Here are examples of five apps you can have on your phone to make social impact worldwide and actually feel like a true global citizen on a daily basis.

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28 Nov

Water, food, and energy in the Arab World: A collective challenge

A new study called “The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Middle East and North Africa” was launched at the EcoPeace Annual Conference at Dead Sea, Jordan, 13 November, 2018.

Groundwater is fast disappearing in the Middle East and North Africa region. Under a business-as-usual approach to the use of these scarce resources, it is estimated that they will be gone in about 30 years. This will have a devastating impact on the communities and livelihoods that rely on this water. Agricultural production would drop by as much as 60% in some countries. The good news is that it does not have to be business-as-usual. Actions can be taken, but water is not an isolated problem. The challenge of water scarcity is closely tied to energy and agriculture, and a broader view is needed to develop policies that address this relationship.

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19 Nov

Why we should open up to the business of philanthropy

We must be open about humanitarian challenges – and the ways in which organizations solve them

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair has an emphatic message to share in this week’s cover story: “Our culture has always kept philanthropy as a private matter. We always say that whatever your right hand gives, your left hand should not know about,” he explains. “But to scale up and have a larger impact, we need to open up.”

While personal charity can and should be a private matter, his point is that when we talk about solving really big problems then business principles – accountability, measurability, ROI – must all come in to play.

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26 Oct

How social entrepreneurship might very well save Lebanon

The garbage crisis, the water crisis, the energy crisis… What if all these problems hid formidable economic opportunities? This is how “social entrepreneurs” see the world: they create companies with the aim to solve the many challenges that society faces. That’s how Lebanese social enterprise Compost Baladi, which provides waste management products and services, was born in 2017 to tackle the garbage crisis. That’s also how Clean2O’s team came up in 2018 with the idea of an easy-to-use chemical and physical filter which gives anyone access to clean drinking water. And that’s how Sunray Energy makes solar energy affordable since 2017 by combining solar energy with an innovative financing system. And the list goes on.

According to Makesense Organisation, which helps entrepreneurs solve environmental and social topics, in 2017 there were at least 200 social enterprises in Lebanon.

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