One year ago, we embarked on this adventure to connect 12 million supporters of the Palestinian cause from around the world. We were told that 12 million was too many. That crowdfunding in Palestine was too difficult. And reforming aid was too ambitious.
They were right. We still have a long way to go. But over the past year we have seen that with dedication and determination, we will figure it out as we go. Motivated by the disappointments around us, and empowered by every mistake along the way, with each day, we find ourselves closer to our vision.
And today we are taking a moment to celebrate how far we have come in just one year!
So what does BuildPalestine do exactly?
We have pivoted from a “crowdfunding platform for social impact projects” to a “platform to connect supporters around the world with trusted projects in Palestine.” After all, it was never about building another crowdfunding platform, and we were never trying to compete with Indiegogo or LaunchGood; it was about supporting grassroots projects, that come directly from the community, with the resources needed to succeed.
Over the next few months, we will launch an “online directory” that displays innovative, grassroots ideas/projects/organizations that are working to tackle various social issues. Our goal is to shine the spotlight on less known, but often times more impactful projects. We believe that aid can be more local and more impactful.
What is this about crowdsolving?
Our role is to empower the “crowd” to take charge and stop waiting for permission, to “build” the future they want to see. In addition to crowdfunding, we have begun “crowdsolving” with the aim of encouraging open-innovation and bringing the stakeholders that are affected by the problem to find a solution. We use design thinking to help the community work through a problem. Most recently, we worked with the Palestine Techno Park to co-create the newest co-working space (learn more here).
What about crowdfunding?
We will continue to support grassroots projects to run crowdfunding campaigns, as we believe it is a powerful tool to democratize funding sources. Crowdfunding is about helping a project tell its story and connect with the “crowd” that wants to be a part that story.
BuildPalestine will no longer be managing the payments, as the financial regulations (anti-money laundering and counter terrorism laws) of operating in Palestine have proven too risky. However, we will continue to source, vet, coach, and monitor crowdfunding projects, without directly transferring the money. Once PayPal or Stripe begin operating in Palestine, this obstacle will be removed.
What will it take to BuildPalestine?
We do not have the answer, so we are turning to social entrepreneurs in our community. In 2018, BuildPalestine will evolve into a “one-stop shop” for social entrepreneurs. Our aim is to build a community of changemakers who are naive enough to believe that they can build Palestine. We will continue running crowdsolving challenges, facilitating design thinking workshops, and coaching crowdfunding campaigns.
In 5 years, our goal is to have 12 million supporters of Palestine on our platform. And a strong community of social entrepreneurs who are building a better tomorrow for Palestine.
Today, we come to you with our latest campaign, a scholarship for changemakers. This is the first scholarship in Palestine to recognize and reward youth who are active in community service and determined to make a change. For our birthday, we are asking for your support. Whether its $20 or $2000 (sponsor one of our scholars for a full year!) every contribution counts. And best of all, funds are eligible for US tax-deductible donations.
Thank you for your support and encouragement along the way. It is the only reason we have gotten as far as we have.