WISE award winner urges Arab NGOs to be more confident
DOHA THE first person to win a WISE award from an Arab country, Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi from Morocco, feels that nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in the Arab world should be more confident and believe in their abilities. In an interview with Qatar Tribune, Andaloussi said that one of the strengths of the Arab society is the strong presence of NGOs.
Andaloussi’s winning project, ‘Al Jisr School-Business Partnerships’, involves the business sector in schools to improve the quality of education. The aim is to use the means, expertise and tools of the sector to improve the management of schools through a school adoption scheme.
In each adopted school, a support committee is established, involving a business leader, administrators, teachers, students and parents as partners in improving the school. Andaloussi said, “There are 60,000 NGOs in Morocco alone. There are around two million social entrepreneurs in the Arab world. They need more skills to scale up their innovations.” He also said that in as many entrepreneurs from the region deserved such awards, they should be confident to stand up to the challenge and face the situations.
He gave an example of how the former president of the US, Bill Clinton invited him to take part in the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. “He invited me to join on the stage where he was a moderator and spoke about my work. He even suggested that the project could be a model for the Arab world and even for the United Nations,” Andaloussi said. This, according to him, should be an inspiration for Arab NGOs to be confident and forthcoming.
He stressed the need to involve the private sector. “Morocco needs a lot of support from the private sector to meet the challenges in education, which the government alone will not be able to meet.
There is a wide gap between demand and supply. Therefore, out of concern for the country, I developed this initiative to engage the business people in education,” the award winner said.
He said that business houses were reluctant to join hands in the beginning but that things have changed for better lately. “The award, the first major recognition for me, has brought a lot of changes in our perception and people have started acknowledging the initiative in a big way.
I hope that more business firms will come forward to help the initiative,” he also said.