Winter/Spring 2023


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It's a new year! I hope 2023 has been treating you well so far. As winter melts into spring, this time of year is always filled with a sense of hope and renewal, and we at AFF have a lot to look forward to – from our Ramadan campaign to our plans for the COP 28 summit to our upcoming annual meeting. 

First, I encourage you to fill in our latest Arab Philanthropy Survey. In September, I wrote about the importance of transparency and data in making the region's philanthropy sector as efficient and impactful as possible. Following on from the first survey we launched in 2021, this version has been updated with the aim of gathering insights and hard numbers on how Arab foundations operate, the challenges they face and how they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking some time to answer our questions, you can help us build this vital resource.

Please access the survey here, and feel free to forward the link to others you know in the sector – the more information we can collect, the more good we can do together. 

Later this month, be sure to check out our Ramadan campaign on Twitter and Facebook. For each day of the holy month, we will highlight a specific project or goal that one of our members is focusing on. The goal is to shine a spotlight on the extraordinary work our members are doing and maybe even spark inspiration and collaboration among the wide range of organisations in our network.

Looking ahead, we're excited for our annual meeting in Cairo on September 11-12. And after that comes the COP 28 climate change conference in the United Arab Emirates. Climate change directly impacts the programmes supported by all philanthropic organisations in the Arab region – from jobs to education to health and more. That's why we at AFF believe the issue needs to be at the top of the agenda for the region's philanthropic sector. Building on our experience at COP 27 last year in Egypt, we will be engaging in and convening a range of events leading up to and during COP 28 to help give voice to the sector in one of the regions hardest hit by the climate crisis. More details are coming soon.

We also want to extend a warm welcome to our newest members who have joined AFF over the past several months. Among our new member organisations are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is working in 36 economies around the world to help make them competitive, well-governed, green, inclusive, resilient and integrated, and Swisscontact, a non-profit organisation using its investments to promote inclusive economic, social and ecological development through projects like Tafawoq, which is training 500 young men and women to help them integrate into the labour market. 

We have a few new individual members, too, including Reem Khouri, co-founder and CEO of the impact analysis software company Whyise as well as the founding partner of Kaamen, an impact design company; Manal Issa, who is based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq; and Leila Hessini, a transnational strategist and philanthropic adviser in the U.S. We're so happy to have you all join us!

While we already have plenty of exciting events to fill the year, we always want to hear your thoughts on what more we can do for you and how we can stay engaged. And if you’re interested in joining our network, please reach out to Walid Nagi, our Network and Relationships Director.

Thank you for your continued support and valuable membership.

Naila Farouky

CEO – Arab Foundations Forum

Events You May Have Missed

Filling the Data Gap in Arab Civic Space

In December, we launched “An Enabling Arab Civic Space for Resilience, Growth and Sustainability” to help fill the data gap that is holding back Arab philanthropy from being as impactful as it could be.

For more insights, check out the full report and watch the launch session here.

Arab Foundations Forum Annual Meeting 2022

Also in December, we held our Annual Meeting, presenting a retrospective of the year and looking ahead to the priority areas and general plan for 2023. You can access the recording here.

AFF's Naila Farouky on the Afikra Podcast

Speaking with afikra, a platform promoting intellectual curiosity and understanding of the Arab world’s cultures and histories, AFF CEO Naila Farouky discussed our work and the state of philanthropy in the Arab region.

You can listen to the podcast here and watch the conversation here.

Partnerships in Philanthropy:

Models for Collaboration in the MENA Region

In partnership with the OECD Centre on Philanthropy, we co-hosted a virtual critical discussion in November looking at the various models of collaboration in philanthropy. Speakers from the Jordan River Foundation, Pearl Initiative and others examined the questions around when philanthropy organisations are best positioned to work together, when they should work individually and what role data-sharing plays in more effective collaboration. You'll find more information here.


How Can Arab Philanthropy Address the Climate Crisis?

In October, we hosted a virtual panel in partnership with WINGS to discuss the important role philanthropy can play in addressing and adapting to climate change. Find out more here and click here to watch the session. Also, take a moment to read an article our CEO, Naila Farouky, wrote for WINGS on this topic.

System Change in Philanthropy for Development:

Lessons from the MENA region

Together with the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) at the Cambridge Judge Business School, we hosted a virtual panel discussion in September to talk about how to ensure that philanthropic research in the MENA region better correlates with the realities of those working on the ground. More information is available here and click here to access the session recording.

News From Our Members

The Asfari Foundation was delighted to support and attend the inauguration of the new Ayman and Sawsan Asfari Building at the American University of Beirut in September 2022. It houses The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, a regional hub for a dynamic community of academics, practitioners and civil society actors. Find out more here.

Under its project CCi Boost and in partnership with the Institut Français de Tunisie, Culture Funding Watch organised the ICC Booster Meet on February 23 and 24. The meetup aimed to create a space to connect cultural and creative (CC) entrepreneurs and innovation actors with their peers, funders and policymakers. 

In the wake of the news that Senegal has managed to interrupt the transmission of river blindness within its borders, The END Fund 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. Watch a video about the series here

In June, Red Noses Jordan signed an agreement with the International Medical Corps to implement social-emotional support that puts smiles on children's faces. The purpose of this collaboration is to empower and enhance the lives of young people around the country. You can read more here about the work Red Noses Jordan does and watch a segment about the organisation on Al Araby TV here

Dates For Your Diary

11-12 September 2023: AFF Annual Meeting. Location and registration information will be announced soon.

30 November - 12 December 2023: AFF will host a range of events and activities leading up to and during COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates. More details to come.

Further Reading

Some of the resources we have been reading that you might find useful!


How to Increase Your Association's Membership Renewal Rate


It's not Survey Fatigue. It's Lack of Action Fatigue


Three Tips to Transform Your Association Event Into a Top Member Experience


Funding the Future:

How the Climate Crisis Intersects with Your Giving


How Arab Philanthropic Organizations Can Catch-up on Climate Change 


Playing Around With AI: ChatGPT and Text to Image

Become a Member

For more information on how to join our growing network of members, please visit our website for a membership application.

The Arab Foundations Forum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN 84-4966210.
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