Ideas of collaboration are not new to the Arab World. Throughout history, Arabs have shared and collaborated in their day-to-day lives as part of culture and religious beliefs.
These three examples demonstrate traditional Collaborative/Sharing initiatives from arab countries in which people shared food, land and money among many other things, and which continue to exists today.
Literally translatable as ‘to commit’, Jamee’h is an old model of a interest-free crowdlending. The practice involves pooling together small amounts of savings from several individuals and giving the sum to a chosen member of the group. The beneficiaries are determined through a draw or mutual agreement depending on which individual is most in need. The process is repeated on on a weekly or monthly basis, so that each member of the group can eventually benefit from the collected amount.
This kind of collaboration is still very common in the Arab world today. However, it usually remains contained between family, friends or friends of friends and rarely happens between strangers.
Wakef refers to an old-fashioned type of land sharing. People of the same neighbourhood crowdfund a piece land that they own together and which they use to grow crops. The financial returns are either shared among the group or used for the benefit of the people residing there.
Due to the rural reconstruction movement, this form of collaboration has unfortunately been reduced to very few plots of land.
This form of food sharing is always linked to Islamic practices, and can be found mainly during Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims. Mostly funded by religious associations, charities or individuals, people donate items such as ingredients, money or help cook food, in order to offer free Iftar meals for people fasting during Ramadan.
Iftar Tables are still a commonly organized in Islamic countries, and recently President Obama hosted the Ramadan Iftar dinner for Muslim Americans at the White House.
To read more about the collaborative economy in the Arab countries, you can visit my personal website.
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