Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

Category Archives: البيئة

The question of profit..

I start a conversation with a business man I recently co-presented with on a panel on Entrepreneurship “Pioneering or moving boundaries”.  In my presentation, I explicitly stated that social entrepreneurship is not a non-profit model.. and yet, he begins our dialogue by making a distinction between his “For-profit” and my “Non-profit” business.

I am perplexed. What is the root of the assumption that many in the MENA region seem to have? A business can either exist to make profit, or offer social value! Not both.

If a business doesn’t offer social value; then what value does it offer? And if a business is offering social value, then shouldn’t it deserve to be rewarded for it?

By definition; social entrepreneurship is applying entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage ventures to achieve social change.  We operate in a society that has its fair share of social challenges. It seems to me social entrepreneurship can serve to address these challenges.  Shouldn’t we attempt to understand it? teach it? encourage it? and rewarded those who engage in it and bring social value, whilst making a reasonable profit?

Presented with two Ad agencies which would you choose and why?

One offers creative services in return for high profit margins; creativity is arrived at through brand building based on emotions such as desire to live luxuriously, to emulate  aspirational figures; it replicates models successfully employed in other countries. It pays little attention to localizing the message, or investigating brand and messaging conflicts with local social values, norms and environmental challenges.

The other offers creative services, rooted in local culture aligned with social values for modest profits since the creative work here requires digging deeper to build a values-based brand. The later seeks to understand social norms, values, issues, and creates an association of a brand with a value, a social challenge, and identifies the way this brand is addressing the social challenge.

To be continued… pending a response to the questions above…

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Open Diversity – Environment Stream Kick-off

Monday Feb 8th,  marked the beginning of the Open Diversity Environment Stream.  The meet-ups, in Dubai’s Shelter, are open to the public; anyone with an interest, passion, concern about the environment can join. The meet-ups are a platform to discuss issues, raise awareness and collaborate on solutions for environmental issues impacting the community.

Reflecting on Nature..

“Our earth is wounded. Her oceans and lakes are sick; her rivers are like running sores; The air is filled with subtle posions. And the oily smoke of countless hellish fires blackens the sun. Men and women, scattered from homeland, family, friends, wander desolate and uncertain, scorched by a toxic sun…
In this desert of frightened, blind uncertainty, some take refuge in the pursuit of power. Some become manipulators of illusion and deceit.

If wisdom and harmony still dwell in this world, as other than a dream lost in an unopened book, they are hidden in our heartbeat.
And it is from our hearts that we cry out. We cry out and our voices are the single voice of this wounded earth. Our cries are a great wind across the earth.”

The Warrior Song of King Gezar

أرضنا جريحة. محيطاتها و بحيراتها كالقروح الجارية. الهواء مليء بالسموم الخفيه. والدخان الزيتي الذي لا يحصى من الحرائق الجهنمية يلطخ الشمس

رجال و نساء بعيدون عن أوطانهم ، وأسرهم ، و أصدقائهم، يهيمون على وجوههم مشردين ، محروقة وجوههم من آشعة الشمس السامة
في هذه الصحراء من الخوف وعدم اليقين الأعمى ، البعض يحتمي في السعي وراء السلطة. البعض يصبح بارعاً بالوهم والخداع

إذا الحكمة والوفاق لا يزالا يسكنان في هذا العالم ، عدى عن أن يكونان مجرد حلم ضاع في كتاب مغلق ، فإنهما مخفيان في نبضات قلوبنا

وأنه من قلوبنا سنصرخ. نصرخ وأصواتنا هي صوت واحد لهذه الأرض الجرحى. صرخاتنا ريح عظيمة تصدي في جميع أنحاء الأرض

dcgreenmuslims.blogspot.com

A whale shark – Up-close and Personal

To encounter a whale shark on a dive, is rare and special. To see two on the same day in two different dive sites is absolutely remarkable. It happened yesterday, on a trip with the students from JESS (Jumeirah English Speaking School – Dubai). Most members of the group of 15 middle and high schoolers were on their first dive after receiving their open water certification. They were bubbling with enthusiasm. The swam with the largest fish in the sea, and did it twice in one day.

The trip to the dive site was on an older, slower and air-condition free dhow. A few people felt sea sick, most were feeling the heat mixed with anxiety. Shortly after we ascended from our first, rather uneventful dive, a group from a distance lets out screams of joy. It was Dawn, the group organizer. She had been swimming since 1991 and never encountered a whale shark.

Immediately, everyone on board, jumped into the water with masks and snorkels and headed in her direction. There it was, what a sight!!! a huge fish, gliding gracefully in large circular patterns a few meters underneath the surface. We swam with it for a few minutes before it took a corner away from Lima Rock.

The second sight was Um-elnatt, a few miles away from the first location. Shortly after descending, Connel, our dive leader points overhead, there it was, accompanied by a dozen Remora fish. It took a turn and came towards me, the view of its mouth open for filter feeding on plankton was brilliant.

The largest fish in the sea does not pose any threat to humans. It is gentle and can be playful with divers. swimming along side it gave me a sense of serenity and peace and a great appreciation for nature and its creator. Yet millions of sharks, whale sharks among them, are being slaughtered by humans annually, some to be consumed, others out of unfounded fear generated from by the media and Hollywood.

It would be sad if the boys and girls from JESS grow up to find they can no longer swim with whale sharks because they are all gone!

To join.. visit http://www.mytawasul.com