wins at the Arabia CSR Awards

Unique collaborative approach between the Egyptian government, the not-for-profit and the private sector highlighted as example of what can be done through partnership in the Middle East, the Middle East’s first corporate volunteering website, has been awarded a special recognition prize at the Arabia CSR Awards. The award is a recognition of the efforts made by the founders of Sharek to support corporate volunteering in Egypt and raise awareness of how collaboration between the public and private sectors can benefit the country’s civil society.

Sharek allows civil society organizations (CSOs) or start-ups to post volunteer opportunities on the platform for corporate employees to choose from a wide range of options that match their respective interests and skills, be it teaching and translating to finance and technology-related projects. To facilitate this, CSOs and start-ups specify the skills, time frame and number of the volunteers needed and the employees get to search according to the expertise category, date and time that suits them best.

“Sharek is an example of what can be done to benefit society through partnerships that leverage on the skils and abilities of the private sector,” said Shereen Mady, Project Manager, “Sharek is the first corporate volunteering site in the region, and the response we’ve had from both corporates who wish to partner with Sharek and civil society organizations who are looking to leverage off the skills and experiences of our volunteers has been remarkable. Programs like Sharek can result in a real change in societies across the Middle East region.”

Sharek was spearheaded by three private sector companies known for their pioneering approach to corporate social responsibility, Procter & Gamble, PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, with social platform designers Social Fruits. The project, which was begun over three years back, was launched in May 2014.

Sharek has also been supported by business associations including the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association and the Egyptian Junior Business Association, and both national and international organizations such as United Nations Volunteers, the United Nations Development Program, the Egyptian Corporate Responsibility Center and the Industrial Modernization Center. Sharek is incubated by Nahdet El Mahrousa, a Cairo-based non-governmental organization that is focused on social entrepreneurship.

The Arabia CSR Awards aim to highlight CSR best practices and showcase the achievements of public and private companies in enhancing their sustainability performance to have a larger and more positive impact on society.