Ashoka Arab World 2013 Annual Report


Welcome to the Ashoka Arab World (AAW) 2013 Annual Report. This Annual Report celebrates our 10th Anniversary working as the platform for exceptional social entrepreneurs in the Arab World. Read more, here.

Also, get to read below our Fellow Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi words to AAW Regional Director, Iman Bibars, after reading AAW 2013 Annual Report.

“Dear Iman,

I enjoyed reading the  Ashoka Arab World Annual Report 2013.

Congratulations for the Ashoka Arab World Achievements under your leadership. Thanks a million for your precious  support.

As for me, the Ashoka Arab World opened for me a world of opportunities. I am convinced that being Ashoka fellow helped me to develop my network of 76  national and international partners.

I seize this occasion to inform you that my work is evolving very well. I have opened branches in 8 Moroccan cities and I am planing to open 8 more other  offices in the 3 coming years. I trained since 2008, 30 000 students on Entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. I have the ambition to reach 72 000 students by 2016. I signed, on March 5th, 2014 an agreement the Moroccan Minister of Education considering the program I am implementing as official activities of his Minister.

I won the 2013 Entrepreneurship Award from Metlife Foundation and my work is featured by the organization called Arab Excellence. President Clinton cited my work in the article he published in the Time Magazine on September 30th, 2013 under the title « How the world’s most influential change agents mobilize for action »

Looking forward meeting you.

Best regards

Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi
Ashoka fellow”


Searching for the Hidden Gems Across the Arab World!

The task of the Search and Selection team in Ashoka is to look, dig and search long, deep and hard for the hidden gems of the social entrepreneurship scene in the Arab region. Ashoka is looking for people who are truly, deeply and madly committed to bringing about positive change regardless of their gender, race, religion, ethnicity or socio-economic status. The entrepreneurship/start-ups scene is currently experiencing a boom and Ashoka is seeking the leading social entrepreneurs; Ashoka reserves the standard of choosing the leading social entrepreneurs that are characterized by their daring approaches in initiating unconventional methods towards solving social problems. Our definition of leading social entrepreneurs are those talented individuals who innovatively tackle social problems from their root causes, rather than deal with their symptoms, hence creating a real system change while tackling all system stakeholders and influencers; in other words, people who change the rules of the game.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive as the Search and Selection team is what are the criteria we use to evaluate the endeavors of social entrepreneurs who want to join the Ashoka Fellowship? The first thing our eyes are drawn to is whether or not the idea is ‘new’. Is the idea tackling the social issue in a way that has never been done before in the Arab region, is it tackling it from a different angle, or is it just a repetition of previous efforts that aimed to solve the same issue in the region? We keep in mind that solving problems in the same way humanity has been using for decades and centuries will only produce the same undesirable results. When Marwa El Daly was elected as an Ashoka Fellow, her new idea was evident in her new approach to sustainable development through reviving and modernizing the traditional model of giving and local resource mobilization known as the Waqf Model.

ImageOur critical evaluation of the idea, after ensuring that it is in fact new, is that it is reaching out to solve a problem from its roots, tapping into existing systems to make them work. Looking to Ashoka Fellow Hisham Kharma, one can really see how his approach to the blood donation problem in Egypt is completely revolutionizing the system by addressing the very root causes of the problem. Rather than joining the numerous efforts aiming to encourage blood donation, or spending all of his effort in finding existing blood shortages, he pioneered the first effort to unify previously scattered and distrusted actors under one umbrella, connecting blood donors with recipients, aggregating all blood donation initiatives in one place, and mapping out areas of the country where there is availability or shortage of blood. He finally founded a centralized matching system that before him was non-existent and was limited only to scattered initiatives.

Fairouz Omar demonstrates the significant social impact achieved, which is another criterion necessary for the Ashoka Fellowship that ensures that the idea has been implemented on the ground and is proven to work with real results. At the time of her election in 2009, Fairouz’s model of the professional psychological counseling system for teenagers in Egyptian government schools covered Helwan governorate’s 60 government schools, and rehabilitated and trained all 95 counselors recruited by the Ministry of Education there. In this way, Fairouz penetrated and changed systems rather than establishing parallel ones.

Complementing the aforementioned criteria is the creativity of the idea itself, the entrepreneurial quality of the candidate, and their ethical fiber.

Our process is thorough and the criteria are very specific, all to serve our purpose of identifying the real leading changemakers of the Arab World. Upon achieving Fellowship, Ashoka offers our Fellows lifetime support and engagement, empowering them to have deeper social impact and wider scale reach. We always renew our motivation and remember the drive for what we are doing by looking at the map of the Arab World and seeing our gems, social entrepreneurs, spanning it, working around the clock and finding solutions for social challenges in all sectors of health, education, income generation and job creation, disabilities, human rights, environment, information communications and technology among others.

ImageAshoka Fellows in the Arab World range from people working on government  accountability and fighting corruption via civic engagement in Morocco,  and in Egypt our Fellows are empowering local people to establish alternative sewerage systems, building social capital to manage local disputes instead of waiting for court systems, unleashing children’s creativity in education, changing cultural norms and fighting stigmas against the marginalized, disadvantaged and HIV patients and fighting sexual harassment and abuse. In the Levant region within the Arab World you can find our Fellows spreading a culture of volunteerism, engraining tolerance and acceptance for diversity within their communities by gathering people around their commonalities, breeding a new generation of Arab leaders through establishing egalitarian systems. The gulf also contributes Fellows that empower women, both politically and economically, offer a healthier life for people through sports and others finding new systems for dealing with refugees.

At the end of the day, as the search and selection team, we go home with fascination and intrigue knowing that we have succeeded in finding these hidden gems and that Ashoka, along with its search process, will always continue to identify and empower them!


Help us find a hidden gem in your local area, city or region!

Do you know a Social Entrepreneur? Then, join our Nominators Network. Your insight is important for us! Send an e-mail for inquiries or details:



Search and Selection of Ashoka Fellows Team:           

Rana El-meligy

Nariman Moustafa

Searching for the Hidden Gems Across the Arab World!




Ashoka Arab World is calling for social innovators in the UAE in the fields of health, energy efficiency and environment protection and women’s participation in inclusive growth for our upcoming forum on social entrepreneurship and innovation in Dubai.

The event is both a scaling program and a forum that gathers the brightest of Arab social innovators, business, civil service, and the citizen sector.  Our focus for the 2014 forum is the scalability of growing social innovations, bringing local solutions to the global level and importing relevant global innovations to the local arena. 

The scaling 
program begins in advance of the forum with the search and
 selection by Ashoka of high potential social innovators in the 
Arab Gulf. Based on thorough research concerning key challenges and issues in the Arab region, we are focusing on three fields of impact for our selection of social innovators: health, energy efficiency and environment protection, and women’s participation in inclusive growth.

Once selected, each innovator will receive 
the help of management consultants and business experts to develop their scaling models and create strategies for growth.

The shortlisted social innovators of the scaling program will be invited to present their scaling models to a panel of judges at the forum. The forum will also offer a platform for social innovators in the greater Arab region to showcase and launch their initiatives, as well as hold round table discussions with expert panelists that tackle the most pressing issues within our selected focus areas.

We are currently on the look out for social innovators in the above-mentioned focus areas in the UAE who have innovative business ideas that have demonstrated sound social impact. The selection criteria of social innovators focuses on

the innovation of the approach,
its proven track record of success and
the potential of the idea to scale.

These social innovators may be showcased as models of positive change at the forum or may become a part of our scaling program.

We are accepting nominations for social innovators for the scaling program until November 14th.

We would greatly appreciate your support in helping us locate social innovators for the coming forum. This is a wonderful opportunity for the youth to showcase and scale their initiatives.

For more information, or to nominate – email the following information at :

– The name of the social innovator
– A 300-500 word description of  the social innovation
– Links to any material concerning the social innovation (Social media, website, articles, ect.)

We look forward to receiving your nominations!