Only 3% of the web is available in Arabic. However, the MENA region consists of 25 independent states and territories in the Middle East and North African Region that have Arabic as their native language. This includes more than 125 million Arabic speaking internet users with a growth rate close to 30% on average annually (Dubai School of Government, 2013).
Now it is time to provide access to social innovation solutions and actors of change in the region. With the purpose of finding new social innovation solutions globally and promoting knowledge sharing among all the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement; youth, social startups and technological innovations are now invited to explore the digital platform Red Social Innovation in Arabic.
Social Innovation in the Arab Region
The financial economic crisis, followed by the digital transformation consequence of COVID-19, highlighted social challenges in the MENA region. Local and International actors such as the RCRC national societies are committed to achieving a steady transformation toward Resilience and Sustainable Development. Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship appears to be the path towards achieving these goals.
Social innovation seeks to deliver beneficial outcomes that directly address societal challenges like climate change, inequalities, poverty, unemployment, etc. Therefore, international cooperation is essential for sharing resources and transferring good practices, aiming at saving time, effort, and finances. Partnerships with investors in social, economic or environmental areas would alleviate critical challenges that need immediate interventions and could then pave the way for solving other issues consequently (Mohamed A. Wageih, 2017).
Youth Involvement in the Arab Region
According to the UN’s World Youth Report: Youth Social Entrepreneurship and the 2030 Agenda, social entrepreneurship can offer not only employment opportunities, but also support other elements of youth development such as youth participation. Within the MENA Region, promoting youth’s involvement has been a core pillar for humanitarian activities.
As a result, the IFRC MENA Youth Network has been founded with the purpose to amplify the diversified voices of young people from the MENA region, encourage collaborations, and increase climate-change awareness amongst MENA youth and the general public.
On April 5th at 11AM CET, Red Social Innovation and the IFRC MENA joined a 45 minutes webinar on the following subject: Social Innovation Speaks Arabic! Over the course of this discussion, we heard an introduction by MENA’s IFRC Regional Volunteers manager, Dr Amal Emam. Right after, a volunteer from the Egyptian Red Crescent, talked about the project ‘Volunteers in every street, the power of Whatsapp during the pandemic’. Following this, we heard Sadeq Mohammed on the Iraqi Red Crescent’s social innovations involving volunteer and community engagement. Last but not least, we finished with the testimony of Lebanese Red Cross Youth Director & IFRC Asia-Pacific Youth Commissioner, Miriana Bader.