Who supports the South Sinai Foundation?

Grant support

SSF receives grant support from British and international funders. Early on, the UK-based Funding Network and generous individuals provided a small grant that made possible the mo'assessa's Mount Sinai Bedouin Wool project.

We are especially grateful to the Global Fund for Community Foundations, which has provided two invaluable grants for organizational capacity-building which have enabled us to fund the mo'assessa's Co-ordinator. Their support has been critical in establishing the mo'assessa as a trusted local presence. A further grant helped us promote social participation by women and girls. Further support has enabled us to train four young people in traditional Bedouin metalwork skills, and to establish a small social enterprise producing olive oil.

With help from the Tunis-based Middle East Partnership Initiative, we ran a series of community meetings in 75 communities across South Sinai, designed to engage local people with community priorities in the run-up to Egypt's first democratic elections. The meetings were attended by over 3000 people, with a further 300 deaf people attending signed meetings run especially for them. Among other results of the meetings, we established a unique network of 30 community volunteers who keep us aware of local issues, and cases that need support.

A grant from a small Foundation, Seeds of Justice, enabled us to establish a project run by Bedouin women, giving advice and support to Bedouin women. 60 women per month from across South Sinai use this service, which amongst other things has helped women avoid imprisonment, obtain employment and secure maintenance for their children.


We are immensely grateful to everyone who has supported us to date: the Leverhulme Trust supports our current work into the impacts of traditional livelihoods on Bedouin wellbeing on the one hand, and biodiversity on the other. Other recent research areas include a study of the genetics of deafness which is highly prevalent in the Mzeina community. Our research is facilitated and made possible by our mo'assessa team supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

Following our deafness research, a group of mothers of deaf children asked us to help them provide a place where deaf and hearing children can socialize, play and learn together. A University of Nottingham Impact Campaign Cascade Grant has enabled us to set up a small and popular facility in a desert community (see here).

Our partnership with the mo'assessa may look complicated, but its practical value is already proven. So many people care about Sinai and want to help, but previously lacked a reliable mechanism for applying support where it counts. The joint work of the SSF in Britain and the mo'assessa on the ground in Sinai provides the answer. To support our innovative work please select the 'Help us' tab.

Individual donors
Creating a named fund is an effective and lasting way to reflect your own concern for South Sinai's people, or to pay tribute to a loved one.

The Jim Bird Fund

At the beginning, SSF was set up by Francis and Hilary Gilbert with a fund to commemorate Hilary's late father, Jim Bird. Jim loved Egypt. As a young man, he spent many years there, including in Sinai, and spoke fluent Arabic: long after his passing, we are delighted to honour his memory by helping the people he spoke of with admiration and affection. Amongst other grants, the Jim Bird Fund has already winterproofed tents and provided water pipes in a remote settlement, built a community olive press, provided medical care to many individuals, and most recently restored two important wells. These projects would have given him such pleasure. We hope others may also choose this positive way to commemorate a loved one after their death, or to honour a loved one during their lifetime. Jim Bird (1920-1974) is pictured here as a young man in Egypt (left), and in the Lake District of England (1974).

The Richard Willson Fund

The late Richard Willson (1939 - 2011) was a political cartoonist of note. In parallel with regular work for the Times group and other publications, Richard was at the forefront of the movement to bring issues of ecology and sustainability to public attention. He worked with Edward Goldsmith for The Ecologist as part of its founding group, and among other environmental concerns covered the 1992 Earth summit in Rio. Richard's talent for challenging the status quo with his subversive sense of humour made him a wonderfully endearing and un-pompous public intellectual; but his humour did not detract from his commitment to changing the world. His obituary recorded his conviction that 'the way forward was towards a community-based, ecologically sensitive, much more self-sufficient and decentralized society' (The Ecologist 30/11/11).

A bequest from Richard has enabled us to establish a fund in his name to support causes he would have believed in. We use his gift to make best use of South Sinai's natural resources, promote sustainability and invest in small-scale alternative technologies (see here). We don't know whether Richard ever visited Sinai himself; but we like to think he would approve of what we're doing. In a small way we are adding to the legacy of this modest, charming and effective environmental advocate.

Regular or one-off donations

We now regularly receive donations from people who have visited, lived or worked in South Sinai, including our own trustees, students and academic visitors. A regular commitment from one trustee has enabled us to make annual educational bursaries; while staff and students of Nottingham University, Marlborough College and other institutions have made gifts to celebrate their stay in Sinai and leave something good behind to help the Bedu (in this case, our sheep and goat bank - read more here).) One generous British expatriate has left her flat in Sharm to us, to benefit local people far (we hope) into the future. Other donors may never have visited, but are intrigued by the Bedu and share global concerns for the future of indigenous peoples. In communities blighted by chronic poverty, every gift - including in-kind help - can make a difference to someone's life.