FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
Google tells us that Arabic content comprises less than 1 percent of Web content. This means we have to create a lot of our own content, especially since Western social media content often addresses issues that, frankly, we don't face, like online fundraising.
So for three years, we've been trying to get a handle on our own original and Arabic materials production. Lots of research, assimilation, writing, and translation, that is if the Arabic terms exist. The content creation process moves so much more slowly than social media changes. But we keep trying and they keep getting downloaded, like during our Ramadan blog series. This year we hired our first dedicated translator, so we were able to produce an Arabic version of our MADskills TOT course almost exactly in parallel with the English. We're very proud, but the pace was affecting our ability to do anything else.
At the same time, we promised to make all our materials available to our trainers but I didn't think about how to do that, until we created a new contact database with Bento, and I realized we could use the software to create a materials database, too. So, we thought, why not create it once, for everyone?
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
In three years, we've given more than a 100 trainings in seven countries to more than 1,000 individuals, in offline and online environments. And many of them have given trainings too. We've also translated and distributed several guides, from Digiactive, Tactical Technology Collective, and Movements.org, all of which have distributions in the thousands.
Still, it can be difficult to quantify our impact, because individual lives don't move at the pace of project evaluations. We keep in touch with many of our alumni, and we see our presence as local campaigns become more digital. Our efforts return to us tenfold in the opportunities we're presented with, such as hosting Arab Techies women's gathering in 2010.
But it's the individual stories that we remember. Like a well-known young activist from Iraq, who had his first blogging experience with us in 2008. Or the journalist who wrote for a women's mag while developing his social media presence during our TOT and then was hired by Al Jazeera to work in the new media department.
In our current MADskills training, we admitted 40 instead of 20, thinking we'd have a 50% attrition rate. Halfway through, we're at 37.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
With strong design and equitable partnerships, we believe that our project will grow very fast in terms of number of resources, users, and partners. Our hope is to become a significant source for Arabic content that spurs the creation of more Arabic content.
The model would be replicable, if localized, for other regions and in other languages, especially non-major languages. We believe that what will make it particularly appealing to other communities is that it build on existing resources and provides an incentive for enhancing in-region and in-country relationships. In short, we're not asking people to visit our database, we're bringing the database--or at least the interface to the database--to them.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Have a coherent database structure and beta version partnerships with materials producers & media outlets in development
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Testing of the beta version of the database is under way with three media outlets