PITAPOLICY Proud to Co-Sponsor Al Mubadarah’s #MENASocialGood Summit

Washington, DC~PITAPOLICY Consulting & Blog is PROUD to co-sponsor Al Mubadarah’s #MENASocialGood Summit.  Al Mubadarah stands for the Arab Empowerment Initiative.  AND, as you may know, PITAPOLICY has supported Al Mubadarah as its Creative Partner since June 2012.   So we are excited to support the Thursday, November 7th all-day conversation organized by Al Mubadarah on the role of Technology for Social Good in the Arab World!  The conversation will connect the dots between technology, knowledge transfer, and philanthropy to advance social and economic development in the Arab World, specifically, and relate to the larger MENA region’s experience.

On November 7th, Al Mubadarah will live-stream event from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC from 10 am – 4 pm.  As we approach November 7th, join in on the online conversation using #ArabDev or #MENASocialGood.

Registration details here.

In partnership with the +SocialGood initiative headed by the UN Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Case Foundation & Mashable, we proudly announce the inaugural MENA+SocialGood Summit: An interactive global exploration on nexus between technology, Diasporas and social good in the Arab World.

Often when we hear about the Middle East and North Africa (‘MENA’), news is dominated by talk of political and social turbulence which may push corporations, institutions and individuals away from considering investment and engagement.

The Arab world is home to more than 350 million people with a diaspora 14 million of which 5.8 million reside in Arab countries. According to World Bank, in 2009 Arab countries received a total of 35.1 billion USD in remittance in-flows. According to Christopher Schroeder in “Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East”: “While the Middle East lags other regions in Internet penetration, the number of Internet users in Arab countries has been growing faster (23% annually versus a global 14%), and the total is expected to exceed 140 million next year. Those who are online tell a remarkable story of change over the past five years, with clear ramifications for the future. Eighty-three percent use the Internet daily, and half of those for at least five hours a day. Notably, 78% said they prefer the Internet to television, and 44% say they spend less time meeting friends face-to-face than online or on their mobile devices.”

Innovation and entrepreneurship has opened doors to partnerships and positive engagement in MENA in the past years. Social media is playing a large role in mobilizing people to aid in development in MENA in areas of crowd funding, volunteerism and social engagement.

MENA+SocialGood is dedicated to exploring this nexus and identifying how technology can enable engagement to catalyze positive impact in MENA. The inaugural Summit will be a gathering of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, technology developers, NGOs, Governments, thought leaders, and others vested in this space. This global conversation aims to spark collaborations, foster innovation, and promote partnerships and constructive conversations that develop far beyond the Summit itself.

+SocialGood unites a global community of innovators around a shared vision: The power of technology and new media to make the world a better place. This is a community of connectors, bringing together ideas and action in our social media era. The +SocialGood engagement platform provides a space for a truly global conversation to take shape—a place where connectors can collaborate, share best practices, influence local and global agendas, and find new ways to translate their vision into action. As such, Al-Mubadarah will be hosting an event in Washington, DC that integrates diverse partners and global communities using web based technologies for conversations about social and economic development in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).

Expanding #MENASOCIALGOOD Conversation NEEDS More Bloggers

A few weeks ago, Mashable partnered with the United Nations to hold a conversation on what defines social good and how more can get involved.  Al Mubadarah launched its conference website because the global conversation was a great start…but the Arab world participation was not as high as one might expect given that there are 22 Arab countries.  Also, as PITAPOLICY followed the conversation over social media, there were many responses from Pakistan (perhaps because Malala Yusufzai was a keynote speaker) and Turkey, but very little from Iran.

Why Less Participation by MENA at #SocialGood Summit? “Freedom on the Net 2013” 

Why was there less participation by MENA bloggers at the #SocialGood Summit in New York, which was from September 22-24?  Many reasons may explain this less than expected online participation from the MENA region.  One reason, for example, relates to online participation from MENA based bloggers.  MENA-based bloggers positively influence which messages resonate from the New York summit and echo back into countries like Egypt, Morocco, and Lebanon.  So how do certain MENA countries fare in allowing their citizens, bloggers, and NGOs to access the internet, view live-streamed events, respond to online content, and  share information from conferences that are super plugged into social networks?

On Wednesday, October 2nd, the Washington, DC-based Freedom House released its “Freedom on the Net 2013” report at Google’s office. Regarding ‘Net Freedom’ Freedom House included the following MENA countries within its 60 country rankings this year:

  • ‘Partly Free’: (27) (29) (31) (32) (33) (38) (45)
  • ‘Not Free’: Sudan (48) (49) (51) (52) (53) (57) (60)
  • Overall, not a single MENA country scored in the ‘Free’ category of “Net Freedom”, or internet freedom.  This negatively impacts not only the media sector within MENA countries, but how much information is viewed and shared amongst regular internet users: businesses, citizens, and civil society organizations.

Analysis

Here were some observations we noted:

  • ranked “Not Free” — How can Bahraini activists gain access to how other activists push back on government policies when their country limits their access to live-streamed events?
  • was the most dangerous place for online reporters: about 20 killed over the past year.
  • ‘s internet, in terms of infrastructure, is one of the best in region & affordable. The problem is an oppressive regime, according to Dalia Haj-Omar, a Sudanese activist.
  • intensified efforts over past yr: 111 licensed websites blocked. They scored 46 out of 100 points.
  • Governments have diverse toolbox to – “blocking content, paid trolls, arrests, intimidation, and surveillance” which one of the panelists explained using Pakistan as an example. (We have noted the irony of an American panelist highlighting government online surveillance programs that other countries use on its own citizens.)
  •   was among the 16 countries on experiencing a POSITIVE trajectory, according to the the report.
  • Although the Ennahda Party stepped down due to economic & political problems, score increased because of government efforts to open up Tunisia’s online sphere.

Expanding #MENASOCIALGOOD Conversation NEEDS More Bloggers.  So tweet @arabempowerment if you are interested in registering, live-blogging or tweeting to share with your Arab Development community, or holding a meet-up in your city.  These are the reasons PITAPOLICY has chosen to sponsor.  So let’s start conversing about how we can learn from other models of technology and communication converging to maximize the social good in your communities!

 

Technology:

Growth of Technology for Social Good

  • How technology can mobilize people for social good?
  • How to utilize technology to mobilize social mobility?
  • How can MENA more effectively incubate technology and inspire innovation?
  • How online platforms can facilitate Harnessing Global Talents & develop mentorship relationships
  • How to use technology for education?
  • How to use technology to grow your business?
  • How social media is engaging youth? How can it be more constructive?

 

Knowledge Transfer & Capacity Building

  • How to build successful public-private partnerships?
  • How to use technology for capacity building and knowledge transfer
  • How technology can expand education initiatives – virtual classrooms

Innovative Philanthropy: Redefining the Donor & Online Giving

  • How to unleash philanthropy in the Arab World?
  • The importance of philanthropy to development
  • How is crowd funding growing in MENA?
  • How to cultivate and boost diaspora giving?
  • How to use social media to build strategic partnerships
  • How to fundraise online for your NGO?

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