I interviewed Amira Salah, co-founder of Kherna, which is a social networking platform for organizations devoted to good causes. In a nutshell, Kherna provides an online platform, where civil society organizations can post their updates for online users to see their activities and services in real-time. Kherna is winner in WSYA 2011 category "Fight Poverty, Hunger and Disease".
How did you get the idea behind Kherna?
The idea was sparked during the holy month of Ramadan when NGOs in the MENA region normally start using traditional marketing to raise the awareness of their activities. We have come to realize that the traditional marketing is so expensive for most of the NGOs and also not that effective especially after the rise of social media. We tried to think of other ways to get those NGOs the marketing they need with some affordable channels. Back then, we were working in social media and new technologies that we thought can be the answer to the traditional marketing alternative dilemma.
How long have you been working with Kherna, and how did the project start?
We have started planning for the idea in June 2010 when we found a business plan competition held by Yahoo and Nahdet Elmahrousa that is a famous NGO here in Egypt. We started to work on Kherna business plan to apply in the competition and we won among others in the competition later in 2010. Then we resigned from our jobs in Jan 15, ten days before the Egyptian revolution to work on Kherna. We started the technical work a day after Mubarak stepped down and got a beta version live at Feb 22.
Currently how many people are there actively working with the project?
We are three co-founders "Ahmed Yahia - Mohamed Salem - Amira Salah" and we have another three team members who have joined the team weeks ago.
How do you advertise Kherna?
We mainly use the social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Lately also we were covered in many national magazines and TV shows.
Do you get support from any organizations/companies?
We had fund from the competition we won back in 2010 that helped us start the project and we are currently working on many partnerships to support the growth and sustainability of Kherna.
What is the most memorable experience you've got from working with Kherna?
Being among the winners in the WSYA international competition was a memorable experience for us. We applied early in 2011 and found that we are among some amazing pool of winners later in 2011. We traveled to Austria for the reward ceremony and we can truly say that this 4 days trip has been so fruitful for us. Through the event we were exposed to global media, mentors from different areas of the world and daily networking with world wide winners.
What are your future plans? Are you going to spread the project to other countries?
Yes, we are aiming at expanding in other markets for sure ad I think we will work on that by the the end of this year. We are also working on a mobile version that will have lots of valuable features such finding the charitable activities happening near your place and the ability to check-in and participate.
Thank you Amira for your time, and I wish you and Kherna the best of luck in the future!