Social media has the power to unite people, raise awareness and inspire change and development within a country and community. Egypt has a variety of innovative initiatives to achieve such goals, however many citizens are not familiar with those. Due to lack of awareness and visibility, such initiatives tend to lack funding and support from society.
Towards a Solution
In 2014, an Egyptian startup company Bassita (which translates to “simple” in Arabic) was launched to help raise funds and awareness on social and environmental issues. Bassita recognized the lack of interaction between internet users and development issues and decided to tackle this gap by creating a short-cut to the traditional funding processes. Bassita introduced an innovative concept called “Clickfunding” which aims to transform everyday web-users into web philanthropists through the click of a mouse.
The “Clickfunding” model works through the culture of social media, in which people constantly share and like articles, videos or images. Bassita does this by creating a short video highlighting a social campaign or promoting a cause jointly with an NGO or a development partner. The aim is to reach a certain number of shares during the campaign and consequently find a sponsor who provide funding. With this mechanism, people can directly help pushing a project towards being funded, simply by clicking “like” on Facebook or by sharing the video online.
What makes the “Clickfunding” model unique from other funding models is that the internet user is not asked to fund a cause, but to watch and interact with a video on the internet. This provides people with the opportunity to create a connection to the campaigns they care about and provide them with agency for change.
Bassita works in collaboration with four main stakeholders:
- The cause itself- a civil society organization, non-profit organization, or entrepreneurs with specific needs.
- The sponsor: who funds the cause when the video reaches the targeted visibility.
- Bassita’s team of community partners: they support the dissemination of the video on their platforms, internal newsletters, as well as their social media outlets.
- The internet user: who shares, comments and likes a cause.
This concept provides a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved: the sponsor gets more visibility, the more social media users share the campaign ; social media users indirectly finance positive initiatives by simply liking or sharing a campaign; and the initiatives and causes receive funding, visibility and become impactful awareness-raising campaigns.
The first social campaign launched by Bassita was for Baraka Optics (a private sector partner) which aimed to provide 1,000 impoverished workers in Egypt with eyeglasses. Baraka Optics agreed to fund the cause if Bassita was able to get over 10,000 views on the campaign video and the target was quickly met.
Bassita partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on a project to promote and enhance social cohesion among Syrians and their host communities in Egypt. The objective of the campaign is to gather 1 million points. For every point earned, 1 EGP will be given to Safarni – an initiative designed to take children on an imaginary journey to a new country, through simulated travel experiences and intercultural workshops, where they meet children from other cultural backgrounds and are introduced to the local language, food, games, dances and songs – to further promote cultural diversity and contribute to enhancing community cohesion. The campaign went viral within the first three days following its launch making it among the top organically viral campaigns ever released by IOM in any country. Bassita also teamed up with UNICEF to help provide 1,000 new clean water connections to homes in Upper Egypt. The UNICEF video was viewed 2 million times on Facebook within 3 days of being uploaded which managed to finance 1,000 water connections in Egypt.
Bassita won the Young Innovators Award which is under the umbrella of the innovation program Nahdet El Mahrousa. In January 2015, Thinkers and Doers, an international forum at the Arab World Institute in Paris, recognized Bassita as one of the most impactful projects in the Middle East.
With minimal overhead cost, Bassita’s “Clickfunding” model can be easily replicated and is currently exploring the possibility to do so in Saudi Arabia.