It's the simplest ideas that are often the most revolutionary, and Bassita seems to be the embodiment of that. Entering the scene of online philanthropy, Bassita promises to change the world, starting in Egypt, with just one click of your mouse.
In the digital age of instant pixellated information and knowledge, I ponder how many times a day I click my mouse. Until now, a click of a mouse is all it takes to send a command, or a ridiculous demand, like "Bring me more adorable cats in shark outfits." We all have guilty pleasures, but nothing feels better than the feeling of giving back to those in need. Enter Bassita into the virtual sphere, giving a single click the power of positive change in the real world. Looking to learn more, we contacted Bassita’s co-founder (with Salem Massalha), Alban de Ménonville about the newest movement in Egyptian society.
Bassita is a concept as simple as its name and is preparing to enter the world of web-philanthropy. By establishing a target for video views and deciding on a charity, Bassita reaches out to sponsors to contribute back to society if the amount of views set are achieved. If the goal is reached then the sponsor fulfills their promise and Egyptians in need benefit. Winners of the Young Innovative Award in December, Bassita is a click-funding community inspired by a similar idea that began in California. “We decided to see if it was feasible to adapt it to Egypt. Eventually we ended up with something completely new that had nothing to do with the initial idea,” explains de Ménonville.
Since winning the award and being wished simply good luck by the Minister of Innovation and Technology, Bassita has been hard at work, knowing that “nobody can survive solely on luck.” With a determined attitude to create change, Bassita has been developing an air-tight strategy, overcoming one obstacle at a time. “We had to develop specific web technology while at the same time working on short movies and legal paperwork. Starting a company in less than six months is almost impossible in Egypt. Some start-ups took two years, we’ve done it in nine months,” proudly remarks de Ménonville, adding “With a solid support network and a clear vision in mind, almost all hurdles can be overcome.”
Although their energy is focused on helping Egypt, their primary directive is to tackle issues that affect specific communities in need that can be found all over the world. Bassita wants to tackle issues like “kids suffering from cancer with no toys to play with, providing much needed distraction from their situation, or artisans doing amazing work but lack resources, like access to good quality eyeglasses, or a children’s after-school club in Manshiyet Nasser that has no decent tables for the kids to work on. To solve these problems is easy, 7aga bassita,” de Ménonville continues.
Helping to fund the project, Bassita looks mainly towards private sector investors, hoping to market themselves as social do-gooders, which is the best kind of exposure a company could ask for. “Every time a company works with Bassita for a marketing campaign, there is a real concrete impact on the ground. We offer visibility to the companies doing good actions. However it is the web user who is the key partner in fulfilling the cause.”
Launching their very first campaign on September 1st, Bassita’s goal is to get 10,000 views on YouTube. If successful, then Baraka Optics, one of the first sponsors to get on board, are committed to donating 1,000 eyeglasses to the needy artisans of Egypt. “10 views for 1 high-quality pair of eyeglasses; the ratio is more than acceptable,” de Ménonville says about the campaign's simplicity and effectiveness. “If you want to watch the video 20 times, you will give the cause 20 points! The only word here is transparency, if someone watches the video 100 times, we won’t hide it.”
It is no secret that many start ups fail in their first year, but with the strategy in place, and emphasis falling on users willingness to help, Bassita offers a win-win situation for users and companies that care. If the first campaign is successful, then the positive implications are endless. Bassita truly believes that, “If 10,000 persons can click one time to provide artisans with 1,000 free pairs of eyeglasses, why wouldn't one million persons unite to give Egypt 100,000 solar panels? It is all about finding the balance between dreaming big, working hard and staying focused and real about our goals.”
Often there are many Egyptians who want to help, but don’t know how. Bassita cannot succeed without the community getting involved. When help is as simple as a click of a mouse, there is really no excuse. We here at CairoScene are looking to do our part, and will be joining their efforts as a community partner. As such, we promise that with every passing Bassita led campaign, we will make sure that you are aware of how you can help make Egypt a better place one click at a time.
[Update] The video has finally been released for their first campaign, so if you want to start helping them raise the funds click on the video and share it with friends.
To learn more or to join their community check out their Facebook page here.