"[removed][removed]" Mideast creatives
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“Made by Many” Challenge

“Us, the Moon, and the Neighbors” is an art and culture festival in Beirut that began when the people in the neighborhood where an art group rehearses got curious about what they hear the group practices, that the group eventually decided to perform for them. The event has grown over the past three years to receive hundreds of visitors every year. Plays, dance performances, and musical concerts take place over 3 days, where people from all ages and backgrounds come together and where business and social opportunities are created for the neighborhood through the event. This project has managed to raise 49% of their target within 10 days of launching their campaign online, and it is events and festivals like this, big and small, old and new, are the ones that are being supported by the “Made by Many” Challenge.

“Made by Many” Challenge is a competition that was launched on June 15th to raise funds for creative and cultural events in the Middle East and North Africa that aim to have an innovative social or economic influence in the Arab World. 17 projects from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have qualified for the final round of the challenge. The projects diversity is truly impressive; from cinematic events for children in Syria to create a safe space for children displaced by war to an art and cultural festival in the old part of the city of Tunis that challenges stereotypes about this part of the city, and from a “smart city hackathon” in Rabat calling to use communication technology in solving city problems and engaging citizens to teaching history through interactive and exploratory tours in the old part of the city of Cairo.

Zoomaal, a crowdfunding organization, has featured all projects on their website where they are available to view and learn more about and support them. All project partners have come together to match any amount raised through the crowd-funding platform up to $60,000, which provides the winners with a real opportunity to successfully launch or continue their projects on a solid financial foundation. Crowd-funding platforms like Zoomaal are a new and important concept in the region that provides alternative and easy ways for independent change makers to finance their projects. It allows more youth looking to implement new ideas to bring their ideas to life and express possible, locally driven realities that aim towards community development and change.

The support and enthusiasm for competing projects like this was clear, not only in reality but online too; over 17,600 visitors visited the Zoomaal page to date. 526 original projects were submitted and reviewed, of which 53 were highlighted to participate and 17 ended up going live for the challenge. All 53 projects received a webinar by Zoomaal on crowd-funding tips and strategies. The information learned in this webinar and following support will be a tool the participating projects will take away (along with any financial rewards) to incorporate into their future projects and operations.

More details on the ‘Made by Many’ challenge and the participating projects can be found on http://www.zoomaal.com/browse/challenge/madebymany.