Dubai entrepreneur Arif Naqvi wins philanthropy award

The co-founders of the Aman Foundation were named winners of the Grand Prix prize at BNP Paribas’ annual philanthropic awards

Dubai-based businessman Arif Naqvi and his wife Fayeeza on Friday received a philanthropy award in recognition of their efforts to drive social change in Pakistan.

The co-founders of Aman Foundation, which aims to deliver scalable change in the areas of health, nutrition, education and skills in the South Asian country, were named winners of the Grand Prix prize at French bank BNP Paribas’ annual philanthropic awards.

The prize recognised the couple’s financial investment and long-term commitment, as well as the impact of the foundation’s initiatives in Pakistan.

Accepting the award at a ceremony in Paris, Fayeeza paid tribute to her family and the foundation’s 2,000 staff members for their efforts in creating “scalable and sustainable change in the philanthropic sector”.

“Our journey over the past seven years has been one of challenge, hope and motivation as we sought to build an eco-system that put healthcare, education and food security at its core,” she said.

Aman foundation was established in 2008, seeded by a $100m donation from Naqvi. The Karachi-born entrepreneur is the founder of Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group.

The awards also honoured was Molly Melching, the founder of Senegal-based NGO Tostan, which supports community-led social change in six African countries. According to its website, Tostan’s educational campaigns – taught in local languages - have resulted in more than 42,000 people improving their reading skills, nearly 2,000 villages creating community funds to support investment and saving, and more than 7,200 African communities pledging to abandon female genital mutilation and child, or forced marriage.

In addition to her award, Melching received a €50,000 cash prize to help further Tostan’s work.

The awards were chosen by a jury, chaired by Suzanne Berger, professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Commenting on the awards, Berger said: “[Our role] is to identify and honour philanthropists who have figured out how to change the world with their gifts. We honour them because we want to inspire others – and ourselves, as well.”

Now in their eighth year, the BNP Paribas Prize for Individual Philanthropy seeks to reward initiatives that raise awareness and increase dialogue around giving.

Photo credit: Abraaj Group