Our Impact Week in Torino focused on the power of building impact together. This central theme refers to the everlasting need for collaboration and meaningful partnerships in the impact space. At the same time, it puts the spotlight on one of our new proud projects, aptly titled Impact Together!.
Over the last few years, Impact Europe (formerly EVPA) has been developing its market building efforts in a variety of regions. Impact Together! slots in to that philosophy as our new and dedicated project in the MENA-region, and is entirely made possible by funding from the European Commission. It is a joint effort with local partners from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon to help promote social economy in these geographies, with a focus on (youth) employment. Impact Europe - the investing for impact network - has been working with them behind the scenes for a while now, but with this formal launch, we are turning our faces towards the outside world, and more importantly, towards the impact investing community.
Ideally, meeting new people involves dialogue - you learn as much about the other as the other learns about you. The launch of Impact Together! offered ample exchange opportunities to our local partners. The audience at the main stage on Thursday will have heard contributions from Adbellah Malek (Sylabs in Algeria), Eric Asmar (Happy Smala in Morocco), Lama Amr (BuildPalestine in Palestine), Suha Adbul Rahim (Alfanar in Jordan/Lebanon) and Rana Eltanbadawy (Enroot in Egypt). They shared their insights on a variety of topics including innovating cities, mental health projects, sustainability and much more, bringing their own unique perspectives to the table.
In short, more than enough to start a conversation. We hope you had the opportunity to talk to them during the event - if not, we encourage you to contact them directly, and to help put the ‘together’ in Impact Together!
Market building efforts like Impact Together! are, of course, not new to Impact Europe. Over the last few years, we have been doing the same work with Collaborate For Impact, a similar EU-funded project focusing on the Eastern Neighbourhood. This includes working with valued partners in Armenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Georgia. In the end, Impact Week in Torino welcomed just shy of 100 participants from the Collaborate For Impact and Impact Together! projects, including many stakeholders, policy makers and possible investors. Impact Europe will be continue to leverage any synergies between the two projects moving forward. Undoubtedly, there is a lot to be learned by interacting across national borders.
As a conclusion, we leave you with the poem that was central to the launch of Impact Together! in Torino. These words by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish embody the desire to be the difference for others, to be impactful where impact is needed most, and to be one of many candles in the dark. We hope Impact Together! can be a sizeable step in that direction:
As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
(do not forget the pigeon’s food).
As you conduct your wars, think of others
(do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
(those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
(do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you liberate yourself in metaphor, think of others
(those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
(say: “If only I were a candle in the dark”).