Deadline Approaching for “WOMEN POWERING WORK” Competition!!

Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality Online Competition!

Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality Online Competition!

The online competition Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality, launched by General Electric and Ashoka Changemakers, that seeks innovative solutions that will advance economic opportunities for women in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, is approaching its entry deadline of November 6, 2013.

The competition is calling for initiatives that enable women to achieve economic equality, strengthen their families and communities, and benefit equitably from economic growth. The judges will pick three winning entries which will be awarded US $25,000 in unrestricted funding each.

As the competition is focused on the MENA region, Ashoka Arab World is happy to spread the word and we call on any individuals, organizations or partnerships that aim to improve economic equality for women in the MENA region to enter the competition or for people to nominate any relevant initiatives. Entries will be assessed on the following criteria: Innovation; Social Impact; Sustainability.

Please hurry though, as the deadline for entries is approaching fast; the entry form must be completed in its entirety and submitted by 6 p.m. EST on Wednesday November 6, 2013.

To enter an idea or nominate an individual, organization or partnership you think may be eligible, visit Ashoka Changemakers website, which you can do here:

You will also find all information regarding the competition at this webpage, including more information on eligibility and criteria and how to present your entry in a way that gives it the best possible chance of succeeding.

Good Luck to all you Changemakers out there!


Street-dancing Tofulty kids appear in Daily News.

Egypt’s only independent newspaper in English, the Daily News, was present to report on our ‘Sports for Gender Empowerment’  iniative.

From the streets of black communities in the United States in the 1970s, hip hop has found its way to the streets of Helwan. Tofulty Foundation for Improving and Developing of the Family and Society has used the art of hip hop dance to empower street children.

For the full article, click here.

Sports for Gender Empowerment

Ashoka Arab World and Nike celebrated International Women’s Day this year by organizing a ‘ Sportsday for Gender Empowerment’.  The celebration seeked to showcase an exemplary collaboration between the Citizen Sector and the Business Sector using an innovative approach yet simple tools.

The venue where the event took place, El Gezira Youth Center, traditionally designated for young men, was selected with purpose. It is one of the many youth centers in Egypt where girls seldom play sports without restrictions, which was why we held our event here, in order to reclaim women’s right to Youth Centers. We also invited renowned athletes to act as role models for the girls and women, and a number of Ashoka friends to celebrate the success of the program. Boys and men were there to share the same field with female players, trainers and athletes. The event brought together 250 guests.

Ashoka fellows who have benefited from the Sports for Gender Empowerment Initiative in Egypt participated in the Sports Day. Among them were Magdy Aziz, Maha Helali, Reda Shoukry, Magda Iskandar and Seham Ibrahim. Ashoka Fellowship candidates Azza Kamel and Balsam & Lulwa Al-Ayoub also attended the Sports Day to get acquainted with the Initiative .

In addition to Nike, Samia Allouba, icon of health and fitness in Egypt and owner of the leading Egyptian chain of Gym, Dance and Fitness Centers was one of the Sports’ Day’s key contributors. Samia first introduced the fitness culture to many Egyptian women through television in the late 80s, and later to young girls through her Gym classes.

The day was a smashing succes, with kids having come by bus from far outside the city to take part in the activities. All attendees, kids and adults, girls and boys, Ashoka staff members and guests, thoroughly enjoyed the various sports activities that were organized on this sunny Saturday. Activities included yoga, aerobics,  girls’  soccer, and some sizzling breakdancing moves, as you can see for yourself in the following video-clip.

We’d like to thank all our sponsors, contributors, and attendees for helping us realize this event to promote girls’ participation in sports. In Samia Allouba’s words: Girls, ” You can do it!”

Celebrating the Power of Sports


Ashoka Arab World & Nike
Cordially invite you to
a Sports Day
on the 28th of March 2009
Women’s Day
& our Sports for Gender Empowerment initiatve

At the Gezira Youth Center
(near Gezira Club, Zamalek)

On Saturday 28th of March
from 10 am to 2:30 pm

A sports attire is encouraged

(+202) 25328586 – 23655336 – 25314775 – 25314779


Program of the Day
10:00 – 10:30 am Welcome address
10:30 – 11:00am Run
11:00 – 1:00pm Sports Competition and Games
1:00 – 2:00pm Presentation of program outcomes
02:00- 2:30pm Distribution of Sports Day prizes

What Ashoka Fellows said about the Program:

“After Sailing on their own, the girls became more self-reliant than ever”

“Through sports education, our social workers have been able to deliver messages to children on the most pressing issues they face on the street”

Yoga helped the women feel more grounded and get a sense of stability in their everyday life”

“Learning karate instilled a new found sense of security in street girls”

“Watching their daughters compete in a classically male sport, football, and win, parents started believing more in their girls”

“Thanks to aerobics our nurses love their jobs more as they no longer suffer backaches”

Hip Hop gave my girls and boys lots of self-confidence as everyone clapped to their show”


About the Ashoka – Nike Partnership

For the last two year Ashoka and Nike embarked on an experimental partnership with Ashoka Arab World Office to implement projects with Ashoka fellows under the theme “Sports as a tool for gender Empowerment” in the Arab World region.

Nike’s strong commitment to social responsibility and expertise in athletic endeavors make a partner in perfect alignment with Ashoka’s objectives in promoting sports for social change. Both Nike and Ashoka share a focus on
innovation and improving lives—a strong basis for continued work. The collaboration between Nike and Ashoka taps into the power of sports to create a significant positive impact on violence and discrimination against women.

Ashoka Candidates appear on Kuwaiti television

Balsam and Lulwa Al Ayoub, Kuwait’s only two female fencers, and two of the three professional female athletes in the country, recently appeared on Kuwaiti television where they discussed Ashoka Arab world. Balsam and Lulwa are candidates for the Fellowship, and have been raising their swords for women’s empowerment in the Gulf region. The Al-Ayoub sisters have had to overcome many obstacles to achieve their succes in the sporting field, including challenging gender-stereotypes, and are intent on using their experiences to mentor other girls to go after their dreams. 

If you understand Kuwaiti Arabic, watch the video clip below to listen to the sisters, or just watch it to catch a glimpse of these fashionable fighters for women’s rights in the Gulf region. Go girls!

How to achieve sustainable donations in Egypt?

Marwa El-Daly

Marwa El-Daly

Marwa El-Daly, chair of the Maadi Community Foundation offers a new perspective for achieving sustainable donation in Egypt. She believes donations can be more sustainable if it works within time-honored Middle Eastern charitable traditions. The first area is directing the Muslim obligation of zakat- giving alms to the needy, one of the five pillars of Islam- to business development rather than supporting basic needs, a practice El-Daly terms ‘venture capital philanthropy’. The second is revitalizing the centuries-old instutition of waqfs, which are historical revenue-generating institutions that channels its profits to a specific worthy cause.

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Ashoka Fellow Wins 2008 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Egypt and Jordan Announced at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008

The winners for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award for Egypt and Jordan for 2008 were announced at a plenary session of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East on 18th May 2008. Ashoka Fellow Sherif El Ghamrawy, the Founder of both Basata Ecolodge, a social business, and the complementary CBO, Hemaya, was recognised as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Egypt. For Jordan Zeinab Al Momani, the Founder and Chairwoman of the Sakrah Women’s Cooperative was awarded as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Jordan.

Ashoka Arab World Regional Director Dr. Iman Bibars and Ashoka Fellow Magda Iskander were finalists in the competition.


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Fellow Sameh Seif to Be Featured in Egypt’s 2007 Human Development Report

Sameh SeifThe work of Ashoka Arab World Fellow Sameh Seif will be featured in the upcoming United Nations Development Programme’s Egypt Human Development Report (2007) in the section entitled “Sanitation at the Crossroads: What Can Civil Society Offer?” Sameh’s CSO Together for Environment and Development builds and maintains environmentally and economically sustainable sewage systems in Middle and Upper Egypt’s villages and rural areas. Sameh’s work is unique, however, for it doesn’t build the sanitation systems from textbook designs, but rather takes into consideration the context of the particular village as well as the household size and income level of the family for which the system is built. The sanitation system also accommodates Upper Egypt’s unique water table levels, which prevent the successful operation of more traditional, mainstream systems. According to the Report, Sameh’s technique is classified as “best practice” not just for its innovative design and accommodation of its primary stakeholders, but also because the project attempts to involve and engage unemployed youth as well as women, who are traditionally minimally involved in community and infrastructure planning and construction. The report has yet to be released, but the most recent Human Development Reports can be read here.

سوف يتم نشر أعمال زميل “أشوكا العالم العربي” سامح سيف في العدد المقبل من تقرير التنمية البشرية لمصر (2007)التابع لبرنامج الأمم المتحدة الإنمائي في القسم المعنون “الصرف الصحي في مفترق الطرق: ماذا يمكن أن يقدم المجتمع المدني؟”. منظمة سامح المعروفة بإسم “معاً من أجل البيئة والتنمية” تبني وتصون شبكات ونظم الصرف المستدامة بيئياً واقتصادياً في مصر العليا والوسطى في القرى والمناطق الريفية. يعد عمل سامح عمل فريد من نوعه نظراً لأنه لا يقوم ببناء شبكات الصرف الصحي من كتاب تصميمات، وإنما يأخذ في الإعتبار السياق العام والخاص لكل موقع وقرية فضلاً عن حجم الأسرة ومستوى دخل الأسرة الذي يتم بناء النظام لها. يستوعب هذا النظام مستويات المياه الفريدة لصعيد مصر، التي تحول دون انجاح النظم الأكثر تقليدية. ووفقا للتقرير، تم تصنيف تقنية سامح على أنها “افضل الممارسات” ليس فقط لمجرد كون التصميم مبتكر، ولكن أيضا لأن المشروع يعمل على ضم وإشراك الشباب العاطلين فضلا عن النساء اللائي يعتبرن تقليديا أقل الفئات مشاركة في تخطيط المجتمع والبنية الأساسية والتشييد. التقرير لم يصدر بعد، ولكن يمكنك الإطلاع على أحدث تقارير التنمية البشرية هنا.