Individual Saudi Arabia

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Individual Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Saayda initiates community-owned development in Saudi Arabias slums. For years, the country's wealthy elite used charity to hide poverty. Saadya saw that sustained development required much more: the participation of slum inhabitants. Saayda creates "civil district councils," structures allowing marginalized communities to define and meet their own needs through the involvement of community leaders, local government officials, donors such as sheikhs, and volunteers. Saayda, the first Saudi woman to found a community-based civil society organization in the country, is also pioneering a new level of community mobilization towards development and a heightened awareness throughout the country of a problem kept largely out of sight.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Saadya has developed a comprehensive and sustainable model for poverty alleviation in Saudi Arabia that empowers the poor and has a special focus on women. Working directly with communities, Saadya, gains their trust and assesses their needs so she can advocate on their behalf. Using a multifold strategy, she trains local facilitators and leaders to implement projects and, at the same time, mobilizes local officials and other stakeholders to participate in "civil district councils" a structure she developed. Rather than depending on charitable donations or unsustainable development interventions, civil district councils ensure comprehensive sustainable development in squatter areas. Because they represent the perspective of the people, community leaders are the most important members on the council. They set the development priorities, express cultural distinctions, and relay how social contexts differ among communities. Donors (sheikhs and agencies) are invited to join and provide the resources for development interventions, while government officials facilitate the implementation of projects and act as indirect advocates, allowing civil society activities to expand. Volunteers, who are also members of the civil district council, often play key roles in completing the projects. Since citizen organizations (COs), with the exception of charitable organizations, are not permitted to work in this arena, this level of community mobilization has never before existed in the KSA.