J-PAL boosts refugee education

Hassan Jameel, third from right, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia, says the new scheme expands learning opportunities for refugees.
Updated 20 May 2018
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J-PAL boosts refugee education

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is launching a new scheme to help refugees access higher education in development economics. 

The goal of this new collaboration is to empower refugees through training that will enable them to leverage their local knowledge, build their technical skills, and become experts in the fields of development economics and public policy. 

Starting in the summer of 2018, J-PAL is teaming up with MIT’s Refugee Action (ReACT) initiative to provide access for selected refugees to the online MicroMasters program in Data, Economics and Development Policy (DEDP) offered by J-PAL and MIT’s Department of Economics. ReACT, which aims to connect refugees with higher education, will sponsor selected learners and provide access to five online MicroMasters DEDP courses on development economics; in-person workshops on business skills, and paid internships to put their skills into practice. 

Hassan Jameel, president of Community Jameel Saudi Arabia, said: “Education and learning are fundamental to a strong society, and providing access to MIT’s MicroMasters is a foundation upon which to rebuild the disrupted education and careers of refugees worldwide. 

“Building on computer science and entrepreneurship support for refugees in Jordan, this collaborative effort between J-PAL, MIT and ReACT creates another bespoke learning opportunity for refugees, opening doors and knocking down barriers to higher education for learners.” 

A MicroMasters is a professional and academic credential, accredited by MITx, MIT’s online learning platform, and offers individuals a route to applying for a full master’s degree program at MIT or other universities. 

The new initiative uses a carefully crafted model of blended learning — with financial support for online courses and in-person workshops, as well as strong emphasis on community building — to specifically target and overcome the educational challenges facing refugees. This track within ReACT aims to provide refugees with the tools they need to engage as technical experts with the problems facing their communities.


360-degree mentoring to boost Saudi social enterprise sector

Updated 23 May 2019
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360-degree mentoring to boost Saudi social enterprise sector

The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) and Mowgli Mentoring have collaborated to strengthen the growing social enterprise sector in the Kingdom through the provision of 360-degree mentoring, which will support the personal and professional development of social entrepreneurs. The EMCC-accredited mentoring organization is working to built the capacity of Saudi mentors by instilling best mentoring practices and sharing experiences from its 10-year work around the world.

Globally, the concept of social entrepreneurship is increasingly gaining momentum and positive attention as it combines commerce with social good, allowing entrepreneurs to go beyond profit to positively impact communities and societies. Supporting these entrepreneurs, therefore, is in line with the KKF’s vision, which is to have a Saudi society with equal opportunities.

The KKF’s collaboration with Mowgli resulted in the creation of the Athar (Impact) Mentoring Program.

This program aims to build and increase the capacity of Saudi mentors, and equip them with the necessary tools to be able to provide mentorship, support and guidance to social entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. Matching mentors with social entrepreneurs and managing their mentorship relationships is a key benefit of the program.

To commence the mentoring program, Mowgli recently delivered a four-day workshop in the KKF premises in Riyadh. Fourteen professionals and business leaders received training to be 360-degree mentors before being matched with 14 social entrepreneurs. Both groups were provided with the guidelines to build solid foundations for their 1-2-1 mentoring relationships. In addition, the matched pairs will be supported over a duration of six months, during which structured on-going support will be provided to ensure that trust-based and impactful mentoring relationships are developed.

Mowgli Mentoring’s CEO Kathleen Bury said: “We see this program supporting the three themes on which the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was built upon: Developing a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. By supporting social entrepreneurs, we’re working toward achieving the Kingdom’s economic aspirations of increasing SME GDP contribution by 20–30 percent by 2030. We are, therefore, excited to be back in Saudi Arabia and are honored to be working with the King Khalid Foundation in delivering this program, and building Saudi Arabia’s mentoring capacity to sustainably support change-makers and their surrounding ecosystems for years to come.”

The key to developing entrepreneurship and fostering economic development lies in having a well-balanced ecosystem with equal investment in four key pillars: Environment (schooling, parenting), finance (working capital, debt and equity financing), infrastructure (incubators, accelerators, utilities and sound legal frameworks) and human capital development (mentoring, skills and knowledge development). Mowgli supports the latter and has successfully delivered more than 110 mentoring programs across the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.