With our design thinking approach, we developed a digital platform to address gaps in the UAE’s charity ecosystem.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is the third-largest Islamic bank in the world, with an active Community Support department that has received multiple CSR awards. As part of their ongoing mission to improve efficiencies in the charity space, DIB supported a community-driven initiative to develop a unique and useful service.
Our role was to lead this process and take the project from the kernel of an idea through to the prototype of a platform, product or service that would deliver meaningful change both to those who give charity, and those who receive it.
An open-ended brief gave us the freedom to explore various ideas, all of which were focused on strengthening and enhancing the disconnected charity space of the UAE. What emerged was a socially-driven platform designed to harness humanity's common goodwill and serve as the connection point of the UAE’s charity sector.
Our journey with this project started with extensive research into the charitable landscape of the UAE, as well as a series of workshops and brainstorming sessions with people from across the giving-ecosystem - from public sector players to grass-roots fundraisers.
We listened to people’s experiences, difficulties, insights and aspirations in order to understand the problems and challenges we needed to solve for, giving us a clear picture of the issues that needed to be addressed.
Stakeholders were transparent in their needs. Some wanted to help the UAE improve their ranking on international philanthropy indexes. Others wanted better communication, greater awareness, and more flexible regulations. These varied needs led us to develop a number of concepts that we could explore further.
The final outcome was Dal – a digital platform that empowers donors, volunteers, charities and organisations by providing a connection point for them all; helping them to do good in more efficient, collaborative ways.
Dal draws people and organisations together in a way that can amplify the good work they are doing individually. It matches resources, skills and demand, ensuring charities are receiving donations and volunteers that they actually need, helping to create a humanitarian ecosystem that responds quickly and effectively to a wide range of needs.
The name ’Dal’ references the Hadith that states ‘he who directs or facilitates an act of good or charity, receives blessings equivalent to he who actually does the act of good.’ ‘Dal’ is the one who links those who wish to do good with those who need it.
The prototype is only the first step, with DIB ready to take the project to its next stage and make it a fully-functioning platform.
Ambitions are high for Dal, which could play a leading role in strengthening the UAE’s position as a world leader in the humanitarian field. And if there is success at a domestic level, the concept could be expanded to other countries - not just in the GCC and wider Middle East, but across the globe.
Numerous functions and frameworks could be added over time, including an AI algorithm that could generate predictive data and provide meaningful insight to charities and organisation.
An ‘apply for aid’ feature could be added for people in need, while revenue models could also be established, such as advertising, membership, donations, and Social Impact Bonds.
The Dal prototype has laid the foundations for an exceptional and impactful platform to be built, potentially helping thousands of people in the UAE, and millions of people worldwide through the power of heart-centeredness and connection.