How We Work

The issues the Asfari Foundation deals with – the conflict in Syria, quality of and access to education and employment opportunities, strengthening a beleaguered civil society – are complicated and change quickly. The most knowledgeable sources of information on these subjects are often local organisations that work on these issues, and we try to identify the organisations that have effective and innovative approaches. We ask our partners to make very clear at the outset of the partnership how they assess needs and what they think is the best way to address them.

From time to time we also commission research, or commission consultants (often from the Arab region) to help us understand the root causes and exact nature of a particular problem and what may be useful ways to address them. When we have done this we do our best to find the most suitable partners so that, together, we can deliver lasting change.

We aim to learn from our experiences, good or bad, to improve our work constantly. We know this will help us leverage our funds and our networks to achieve real and lasting change.

Our Key Operating Principles:


  • Collaboration: we collaborate with all stakeholders in our ecosystem, particularly our funding recipients, to achieve our ambitious vision. We seek to actively build on each other’s success, learning lessons from the experiences of others and sharing our own learning, so that our strategies and successes complement and reinforce those of our partners.

  • Learning: we democratise access to learning and facilitate experience exchange. The Foundation has a wide and diverse network of partners. These range from local-level CSOs – which produce practical solutions to social challenges – to academic institutions, think tanks and policy makers. The Foundation facilitates these stakeholders’ access to high-quality learning content and enables them to exchange knowledge and experience.

  • Impact: we invest in and promote evidence-based research and practical solutions. We gather structured, evidence-based data from our partners to help assess the effectiveness of partner-led solutions, and to quantify the value of investing in entrepreneurship and innovative approaches to social impact.

  • Local Focus, Global View: we take local to global. Our partners’ rich experience could – and should – be a substantive contribution to global research and learning, typically the remit of the global North. We participate and facilitate for our partners to participate in international arenas, so that their challenges, successes and lessons learned influence policy and practice at the regional and global level.

  • Development: we invest in the capacities of local organisations to govern themselves effectively and serve their communities well. Diverse, competent, accountable CSOs with engaged stakeholder communities are critical to our vision for the region; supporting their development safeguards their sustainability and strengthens their relevance and impact.