Yaseen Abdel-Ghaffar had a comfortable life with a successful job, until a carjacking on the road to Cairo caused him to re-evaluate everything. Today he is the founder and managing director of SolarizeEgypt.
Dr. Amel Karboul is a social entrepreneur, businesswoman, author and politician. She is passionate about working with leaders, teams and organizations assisting them in creating breakthroughs in their thinking and transforming themselves.
Belabbes Benkredda is an award-winning social innovator and the founder of the Munathara Initiative, the Arab world’s largest online and television debate forum highlighting voices of youth, women and marginalised communities.
Ahmad Al Hidiq is a passionate tech enthusiast with a bachelor degree in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut. After working several years in consulting and business development, he has co-founded the health app HeyDoc!, the Middle East’s first telemedicine platform.
Mehemed Bougsea has worked as a strategy consultant to GIZ and the German, Tunisian and Libyan governments, specialising in the socio-economic development of youth in regions with elevated unemployment rates across Africa. He is the co-founder of Think.it, a platform preparing North African computer science graduates to succeed on the global labour market.
The assassination of Christian author Nahed Hattar in Amman, in September 2016, sparked intense reactions across Jordanian society, highlighting the growing influence of radical Islam and Jordan's precarious position adjacent war-torn Syria and Iraq.
Watchdog al-Bawsala is a rare example of an NGO operating to bring transparency to political processes and engage ordinary citizens in a region wracked by government crackdowns.
Before the revolution in Tunisia, the notion of an organisation tasked with scrutinising the actions of the country’s politicians and sharing this with the wider public would have seemed laughable. And indeed, as many civil society organisations face crack-downs across the wider Middle East and North Africa region, al-Bawsala (the Compass) stands out as a bright light among the many NGOs in Tunisia that have helped shape the political landscape since 2011.
Many, including Norway’s Nobel committee, have credited Tunisia’s powerful civil society with steering the small North African country past the pitfalls that beset many of its 2011 revolutionary contemporaries. However, the violent ousting of the country’s dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, left behind a public unschooled in and unaware of many of the democratic structures they were now being asked to play a critical role in helping define.
Founded by a small group of mostly student activists in May 2012, al-Bawsala seeks to bridge the gap in knowledge and provide the public with information on the seismic shifts convulsing the political landscape. Using communication media previously alien to the political sphere, al-Bawsala began to monitor the work of the committees drafting the constitution and disseminate it to a public hungry for information. Through its website and social media accounts, al-Bawsala has created a single information point within the political morass capable of connecting both citizen and lawmaker.
The organisation’s website contains a wealth of statistical information on governance in Tunisia. More than 223,000 followers of its Facebook page look to the NGO for up-to-date information on events occurring in the Parliament, while a similar number of people follow the group’s rolling Twitter coverage of events within the ARP chamber as they happen.
As coalition forces in Iraq liberate towns and cities from ISIS, the toll of living under ISIS occupation for ordinary citizens is revealed. In Qayyarah, 60 kilometres south of Mosul, young children at the local schools were taught by ISIS how to load weapons, plant bombs and even carry out beheadings.
Asmaa Fattouh embarked on a high-intensity but rewarding career in the fashion design in Egypt, working as the chief designer for Allaga. She reflects on what motivated her to work long hours to drive Allaga forward.