TV star Muna Abusulyam to launch app to capture ad revenues for “good intentions”

Updated 10 April 2018
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TV star Muna Abusulyam to launch app to capture ad revenues for “good intentions”

  • Arab television star to launch new app that will send money to non-profit organizations
  • 13 organizations including orphan support groups have already signed up
KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia: Muna Abusulyman, the media personality and entrepreneur, is to launch a new app designed to lure away some of the billions of dollars in advertising spent each year in Saudi Arabia with the the big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads.

Revenue raised from the initiative will be spent instead on Saudi non-profit organizations (NPOs) as a way of enabling them to capture more financial resources. It will be called Niya - the Arabic phrase for “good intentions” - and she plans to launch it during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Arab Women Forum in King Abdullah Economic City near Jeddah, Abusulyman told Arab News: “All that money spent online on social media is going out to the Kingdom, so I would like to divert that back to Saudi Arabia. That way we can use the goodwill of the Saudi population and their social media use to create social revenue streams for NPOs.”

Some 13 organizations have already signed up, like charities and support groups for orphans, female employment and autism. There are around 1400 such NOPs in the Kingdom. 

She said the initiative was being launched in support of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency and the public sector. “The idea behind Vision 2030 is to encourage businesses that will create value for the country. Niya would keep money, that at the moment goes outside, inside the Kingdom. I’m tired of giving other people our money.”

She said full details would be revealed on the company website and social media at time of launch.
She is believed to have secured financing for the project from a Saudi investor.

Abusulyman was speaking after appearing on a panel devoted to the role of women entrepreneurs in the Saudi economic transformation. She said that the Kingdom’s female workforce was adept at running small start ups, often based in their own homes, but that was often the limit.

“It’s very difficult for women to take the next step. There are a lot of constraints on them - social, cultural and financial - towards going further. And they have the responsibility of the family and home too.”

She continued: ‘The number of Saudi women who apply for and get government funding is low. The banks, a lot of the time, don’t provide entrepreneurial funds anyway. But men who want to raise capital have an easier time because of their circle of friends and contacts, which women do not have.

“In Saudi, we’re creating a lot more opportunities for women who want income, a job outside the home, and all the other opportunities of a more modern economy,” she added.

She said that her TV show Kalam Nawaem on MBC channel  was “all about the energy of social change and innovation,” and that she was aiming to air more content concerning the digital and hi-tech sectors. “It is all about giving the right information to the right people at the right time,” she added.


Calling all cat lovers: Dubai art gallery spotlights strays

Artist Angel-O takes to the streets of Dubai to photograph stray cats. Angel-O/FN Designs
Updated 23 March 2019
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Calling all cat lovers: Dubai art gallery spotlights strays

DUBAI: FN Designs, a gallery in Dubai’s artsy Alserkal Avenue, is spotlighting street cats in a new exhibition by artist-photographer Angel-O until April 30.

The multidisciplinary art and design studio chose to highlight the Filipino photographer’s work in a bid to raise awareness about the situation of strays in the UAE.

The exhibition opened in March with a panel discussion titled “Catnip.” The artist was joined by Nour Fakher, a vet at Blue Oasis Clinic, and Sara Abdelal, a cat rescuer in Dubai.

The artist started his journey when his landlord enforced a strict no-pet policy. Angel-O took to the streets to photograph stray cats in order to remain close to the animals.

Artist Angel-O takes to the streets of Dubai to photograph stray cats. Angel-O/FN Designs

“Most of these photos are taken in different parts of Dubai, in the nooks and crannies of streets,” he said, referring to his collection of photographs, which were taken in 2014 but shown for the first time in this show.

 “I am so glad my artwork is able to help these cats. I’ve had people come up and enquire about the location of the photograph so they could go back and help the cat in the picture,” he said.

 “I’m really relieved that people find this collection… of mine moving.”

Cat rescuer Abdelal stressed the importance of the TNR method of treating strays — trapping, neutering and releasing them.

“While we are trying to help find a safe home or habitat for the existing cats on our streets, let’s prevent their number from increasing. These animals can’t speak to us, we need to find a way to understand and help them,” she said.  

The UAE government has made moves to reduce the number of street cats through newly mandated animal welfare regulations that were handed down by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in December.

A failure to properly care for animals, including dumping pets, is now punishable by law in the country.