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GOODWILLCALENDAR.ORG 
Doing good made easy

By bazaar staff, March (2012) edition of bazaar
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Fajer Qasem, founder of goodwillcalendar.org 
Fajer Qasem, founder of goodwillcalendar.org 
 

If, like me, you’ve been thinking how it would feel good to volunteer some time and effort towards a good cause but don’t really know where to look, then Good Will Calendar is for you. From beach clean-ups and conservation dives to charity marathons and bake sales, goodwillcalendar.org is the place that brings worthwhile causes and people together.

The Good Will Calendar is the brainchild of Fajer Qasem, who noticed a lot of people doing great things around Kuwait but no real coordination. “There’s such a feeling of good will, people really want to do something, they just don’t know where to direct their energies, they don’t know what they can do,” she tells me. So the main purpose of the calendar is to expose these things to people, but it works both ways, and so is a great way for causes to raise awareness and gain volunteers. The calendar should also allow the various organizations to coordinate their efforts and collaborate, Fajer lays this out simply; “Oh this guy’s planting trees, and there’s another group over there planting trees, so by combining their efforts and working together they would produce a lot more, and be a lot more effective.” She sees it as a way we can all pull together in the same direction, making it easier for everyone.

No such hub currently exists in Kuwait to bring together all this kind of information, so the website will also serve as a directory that lists all the NGOs in Kuwait. It will also highlight for profit companies that have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.

The idea came to Fajer about a year ago and she first approached a web design company to build a website to get the calendar up and running. Unfortunately six months later she was out of pocket and far from being online, so she decided to go it alone. Armed with a single laptop and an internet connection she learned how to do it herself and within six months was online. This means she now has full aesthetic and functional control of the site, can work on it anytime, anywhere and keep costs to a minimum. That’s how to manage resources and reduce wasted effort and time!

When the calendar went live Fajer started noticing patterns of activity. There were bursts of events around November and December, and surrounding Earth Day in April – events clustered around typical “good will” times of year. So she started to explore ways to keep people informed and interested all year round; this is how the Green Habits Campaign was born. Released through the website, “it’s a tip, a method of execution and shocking statistic that helps to wake people up,” Fajer tells me. She wants to raise awareness of environmental issues in Kuwait such as water wastage. Did you know that if you leave the tap running when you brush your teeth you waste between eight and ten liters of water? February’s Green Habit addresses this; entitled ‘1Cuppa’, it encourages instead, filling a cup with water before you brush and then using only the water in the cup to brush your teeth with. The Green Habits are delivered via email as a newsletter and all the information is available on the website.

At the moment the goodwillcalendar.org is a part-time project for Fajer but her day job keeps her in the loop anyway - she works as a consultant for CSR strategies. She says, “I help companies create an infrastructure where they can do something good for their surroundings, their environment, their community, in a sustainable way.” This apparently is easy to do as most large companies have an allocated budget specifically for CSR projects. To Fajer, the motivation behind these programs – some say they are merely PR stunts – is not as important as the outcome. She believes corporate image and environmental improvement can go hand in hand and young people expect it: according to her website, sixty-four per cent of youths believe corporations cannot just give money; they must integrate good causes into business practices.

At the moment Fajer is doing most of the leg work, going out and actively finding the programs, but she hopes to become the first person people contact when looking for volunteers. She sees a hunger in people, especially the youth, here in Kuwait and doesn’t want to see this desire to do good go to waste.

So if you’re looking to help, keep informed or are looking for volunteers for a good cause then goodwillcalendar.org is your one-stop shop for all things environmental and humanitarian. 

 

Log on to www.goodwillcalendar.org  to view the calendar, sign up for the Green Habits Campaign newsletter, or if you have an event you’d like included. 

 
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