2,909 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Part of the reason why the Arab uprisings were (and continue to be) so vividly fixated in our minds is the work of activists and citizen journalists who braved tear gas, bullets, and worse to ensure the whole world would be watching the revolutions.
Those who have followed the Egyptian political transition particularly closely have surely come across the name Mosireen, a media collective based in downtown Cairo. Founded after the fall of ex-president Hosni Mubarak, the collective has helped citizen journalists and conducted a number of campaigns to raise awareness of unaddressed issues in post-Mubarak Egypt, both within and outside the country.
Among other things, Mosireen trains budding journalists and activists on how to best use new media tools to document events, puts on movie screenings in public spaces, and keeps open a workspace for everyone who needs to use a computer with an internet connection.
All of this, of course, costs money. To keep its operations running, Mosireen decided to reach out to its followers and fans across the world through a fundraising initiative on Indiegogo. The campaign ended on Sunday, having just barely passed its $40,000 goal (though the collective would have kept all the money it raised as it chose the flexible funding option).
The capital gathered will go toward hiring employees, purchasing equipment, renting space, and running classes, which operate on a pay-what-you-can basis. Since Mosireen wants to stay as independent as possible, it is refusing money from the Egyptian government and NGOs. For a similar reason, it curbed the largest donations through Indiegogo to $1,000.
The collective’s campaign page claims the group needs around $60,000 to operate for a year, so the $40,000 the initiative raised should go a long way toward meeting that goal. Mosireen plans to raise the rest of the funds through membership fees and private donations.
The fact that the campaign was successful in raising money for such a prominent group is hardly surprising – especially when one considers last-minute endorsements by New York Times Lede blog’s Robert Mackey, as well as widely-read bloggers and activists Issandr El Amrani, Sandmonkey, Mona Seif, and many others. Given the innovative uses of new media in the region before, during, and after the Arab uprisings, it is more surprising that only a few crowdfunding platforms have emerged in the region.
One such platform is Aflamnah (despite its name, “Our Films” in Arabic, it takes any project ideas); another coming soon is Mawwell. We also recently spoke with the creator of Yomken, a crowdfunding platform that also incorporates open innovation elements – our write-up of the interview is here.