Number of life coaches growing in Saudi Arabia

Saudi transformation life coach Waleed Arab. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 14 January 2019

Number of life coaches growing in Saudi Arabia

  • “Your body listens to your thoughts,” said Arab, adding that life coaching is very different from counseling

JEDDAH: Sometimes in life people need a helping hand, some physically, others financially, but increasingly emotionally.
YouPositive, a Jeddah-based online life coaching platform, offers that help. Pioneers in online life coaching, they are seeking to bridge the gap between counseling, self-help and technology.
On Saturday, they hosted the first of a series of January events at the City Hub in Al-Nahda district.
Founder and CEO Zahra Al-Mohanna said: “YouPositive is pioneering a marketplace for life coaching, with technological solutions for service providers and clients alike.
“We have created a solution that suits Saudi and Middle Eastern culture, where you can find a coach wherever you are and at your leisure. We pick the right service providers via background checks and interviews, as well as referrals from their clients.”
She added: “YouPositive serves individuals and companies equally, with coaching programs tailored to their needs.”
Saudi life coach Waleed Arab was at the City Hub event to give a lecture, called My Emotions. In it, he tried to shed light on how to understand emotions.

Body and emotions
During his lecture, Arab explained the limbic system and its function, to explain the link between the body and emotions.
“Your body listens to your thoughts,” said Arab, adding that life coaching is very different from counseling.
“A life coach is not a certified person, who can give you medication or anything that may effect your health. Coaching is a psychological tool. The coach paves the way for you to reach your goals.”
He also highlighted the growing popularity of life coaching in the Kingdom. “We are getting there. We have just started, but we have a good number of certified life coaches in Saudi Arabia.”

Specific area of mind
Life coaching is important, explained Arab, because: “We are tapping into a very specific area of the mind, looking to enlighten the person about what is missing in their current mindset. You can examine areas you had not discovered before.
“Just imagine yourself living in a dark room. A coach will help enlighten you and your senses, and show you that there is much more outside for you to explore.”
The reaction to YouPositive, and their January program, has been largely upbeat.
“Life coaches help us improve by changing the way we think,” said Radhya Bahamdoun, an attendee at Arab’s lecture.


Experimental cocoa bean harvest: A sweet opportunity for Saudi Arabia

Gebran Al-Maliki, owner of a cocoa plantation, says introducing cocoa will help reshape the agriculture sector. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 01 December 2020

Experimental cocoa bean harvest: A sweet opportunity for Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia provides an environment conducive to the shrub’s growth, says expert

MAKKAH: In an unprecedented experience for the Kingdom, a harvest season of more than 200 cocoa shrubs began this year in Jazan following several years of planting the Filipino seedlings.

The foreign plant is a new experiment for the Kingdom as it plans on testing out the long-term success of planting the favored sweet treat.

Specialists in the region pointed out that the cocoa shrub resembles the famous coffee shrub found in the south region of the Kingdom, where a number of farmers have already begun to evaluate the experience and continue cultivating land to make room for more, while others were not so successful.

The supervisor of the Mountain Areas Development and Reconstruction Authority in Jazan, Eng. Bandar Al-Fifi, said: “The cocoa shrub is a tropical or subtropical shrub and is native to South America and East Asia. It was presented to the Mountain Regions Development and Reconstruction Authority a few years back, specifically to the agricultural research station.”

FASTFACTS

• The Jazan region is known for its lush, green lands and fertile soil that possesses the necessary ingredients to ensure the development of other crops.

• Rainfall is abundant, seasonal fluctuations in rainfall are scarce and humidity is high, ensuring that soil continues to retain the moisture it requires for harvests.

He added: “The cultivation process was carried out six years ago by bringing seeds and seedlings from the Philippines. The seeds were cultivated and seedlings were distributed to some interested farmers in the region.

“We in the station’s field have cocoa, banana, mango and guava trees, as well as many tropical and subtropical trees. The field is being used as a guarantor of seeds, in addition to conducting tests and real experiments in an area of 200 meters, in particular on 15 cocoa plants and the first cocoa shrub in Saudi Arabia.”

He told Arab News that it was difficult at first to encourage farmers to invest in the plant, as many were hesitant to introduce a plant not indigenous to the region in order to facilitate the establishment of manufacturing factories and grow a local market.

Al-Fifi said that in Ethiopia, companies buy crops from farmers and then start an integrated industrial process of sorting, cleaning, drying and roasting, because to complete the whole process is not economically viable for farmers alone.

“If every farmer owns 30 cocoa shrubs, this will be an additional source of income for their future,” he added.

The Jazan region is known for its lush, green lands and fertile soil that possesses the necessary ingredients to ensure the development of other crops that guarantee continuity and different harvest times for each type of plant harvested in the area. Rainfall is abundant, seasonal fluctuations in rainfall are scarce and humidity is high, ensuring that soil continues to retain the moisture it requires for harvests.

“In addition to the fact that the temperature gap between small and mature shrubs is not big, due to our proximity to the equator, Saudi Arabia is located below the tropical line, which creates environmental conditions that help the shrub grow,” said Al-Fifi.

Gebran Al-Maliki, one of the owners of a cocoa plantation in Jazan, told Arab News: “Adding cocoa to the Kingdom’s agricultural field is one of the innovative things in Saudi Arabia and it began to give good results that would broadly stimulate the development process, provide an agricultural model that can be trusted and improve experience in a country that supports its farmers and provides them with all the required capabilities.”

He received seeds and seedlings by the end of 2016 as an experiment in which everyone was granted support. “Some wanted to give this new experience a try, because it is similar to the coffee plant. It is an ordinary shrub, just like fruit and citrus trees, but it is a drought-tolerant shrub that is watered once a week.”

To successfully cultivate the fruit, Al-Maliki said that shrubs need shade when first planted in the ground as they are “quite finicky,” but that with the proper care and attention, a tree will flower at about three to four years of age and can grow up to two meters in height.

With up to 400 seeds, the product testing began on his farm after just four years.

“You can find 30 to 50 seeds inside a pod, which are later dried under the sun and ground to become a ready-to-use powder. Cocoa powder can be found in chocolate, oils and cosmetics, in addition to several other uses,” Al-Maliki said.

He said that the seed is very bitter and explained that the more bitter, the better the quality. He added that he has four shrubs, and what hindered the spreading process was waiting for the product quality test results, indicating that the fruit was tried and was found very successful.

The agricultural research station for the Development and Reconstruction of Agricultural Areas aim to reach 50 shrubs in the region to provide enough fruit to produce seeds and seedlings for farmers. Al-Fifi said that they aim to reach 400 seedlings per year that will be distributed, on top of seedlings grown by the region’s farmers themselves.