Why are we doing the Asfari Challenge for Social Innovation?

60% of the population of the Middle East is under the age of 30.

This youth population bulge represents an opportunity for developing the social and economic prosperity of the region.

What are we doing about it?

ACSI supports scalable youth led education and life long learning initiatives. We will do it by building a community of social entrepreneurs in Lebanon and MENA to bring about economic development and social change.

We are more committed than ever to invest in supporting youth in creating high quality, innovative, learning, and economic opportunities in the region.

The Asfari Foundation

Challenge focus areas 

In 2018 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Middle East Programme, and dozens of experts from the region, published a series of reports collectively titled ‘Arab Horizons: Pitfalls and Pathways to Renewal’. This aimed to chart a new course for the Middle East across five critical areas: political economy, education, governance, refugees, and conflict mediation.

The reports on those four areas advocate for a new approach following five building blocks:

NEW INVESTMENTS

In the twenty-first century, success is measured not by resource wealth but by human capital. Citizens are not subjects to be controlled but vital stakeholders in the transformation of their societies.

NEW ACCOUNTABILITY

Prosperous societies require new norms of accountability, both within states and between them. Achieving this requires confronting patronage networks which dominate many Arab societies.

NEW INSTITUTIONS

To be effective, Arab governing institutions need to build capacity, efficiency, and transparency. New arrangements are necessary to allow local governments greater latitude in managing their own affairs.

NEW INCENTIVES

New incentive structures are needed that promote new norms of state behavior. This means rewarding merit, innovation, and initiative over personal connections and nepotism. Constructing a new order requires states to begin to confront the patronage and crony networks that distort economic outcomes and suppress job creation.

ACSI builds on the findings of Arab Horizons.

The challenge will focus on addressing one of the critical areas covered in the reports – education – by supporting innovative solutions across a wide range of areas related to traditional education, learning, and learning innovations categorized as follows:

  1. Education (Early Childhood Education, formal, informal, continuing).
  2. Lifelong learning (on the job, relearning, learning skills that are relevant to life events).
  3. Employability or entrepreneurship education.
  4. Innovation in learning.
  5. Learning about learning.
  6. Capturing different types of innovation and learning from it.

Join us to support education innovation

What previous program participants said

Thank you, my project went a long way. In the beginning, it was an abstract idea. Now it’s grounded in the user’s needs and problems, and it is very tangible now.

Hiba, first-time young entrepreneur

This program has been a big help for me. Something I never told anyone about is my fear of public speaking […] I never thought I could improve that much from an online program.

Alaa, early-stage founder

I didn’t just progress 1% every day, I probably progressed like 50% every day. I got better as a person in different aspects. My business model also improved a lot.

Rida, first-time founder

Bloom is built on excellence.

Our team has worked at, studied at, or partnered with many global innovation leaders, such as: