Meow Tours

Organizing animal shelter visits, feeding of strays and other initiatives to spread awareness for animal treatment, connection and empathy.

Photo of Mostafa Abdel-Aty
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible
  • Yes, I’m 18 years old or older

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Mostafa Abdel Aty

Initiative's representative date of birth

23101988

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Egypt

Headquarters location: city

Cairo

Where are you making a difference?

All over Egypt but We are focused now on Cairo and Alexandria.

Website or social media url(s)

Facebook Page / Meow Tours https://www.facebook.com/Meow-Tours-299319090685976/?modal=admin_todo_tour Instagram / Meowtours https://www.instagram.com/meowtours/ Youtube Channel / Meow Tours TV https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNnq5fVttMnjVG8W4ED33FQ?view_as=subscriber

Date Started

March / 2019

Focus Areas

  • Fostering emotional intelligence and behavioural competences
  • Promote inclusivity
  • Re-imagining the role of pets in society

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €1k - €10k

Organisation Type

  • hybrid: a combination of different types of organisations, such as a social enterprise (an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being)
  • civil society: a community of citizens linked by common interests

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I learned in 2016 that we have animal shelters here in Egypt, and on my first visit was hooked on the happiness it gave me to play with hundreds of cats and dogs. I initially went there to make the animals happy and keep them company, thinking of how lonely they get, but discovered it was them who made me happier when I was feeling depressed. After that I found it challenging to go a lot because all the shelters are out of the city making it difficult and expensive to reach solo. It was then that I thought about creating an initiative to make it happen more often, helping others go there, and increasing benefits which go both ways. I didn’t think a lot. I just started and I saw the potential of organizing those events after the first visit

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Stray dogs and cats in Cairo face a lot of abuse due to people’s fears and lack of understanding of how to deal with them. The government’s way was to poison or kill stray dogs when people complain about their increase in number. Meow Tours seeks to ‘Re-Brand’ the image of strays, and neglected animals, while fostering animal-human connection and empathy which helps both species thrive side by side.

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Supporting and mobilizing the community that cares for animals, while expanding this community by spreading awareness and encouraging connection. Activities already running: -Shelter visits : not only help the lonely animals by playing with them, but also makes people happier when they connect with animals and consider them new friends, as such helping heal the whole community. -Group trips around the city for feeding strays Plans to develop: - Articles on the Facebook page and a new website to spread awareness on animal treatment, not limited to cats and dogs. - Youtube Channel : To spread awareness too. - Phone application for saving animals, adopting dogs from shelters. The app will enable people to report on cases of abuse and abandonment of pets, by marking a location and alerting the community of those who can help (vets, individuals, shelters). It will also list the animals available for adoption and encourage people to adopt instead of buying pets. -More activities and partnerships: Dog walking service; Meow Delivery for delivery services involving pets; ‘Meowbnb’ to have a community/network for pet sitting/hosting; Therapy for overcoming fears from animals.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Other approaches included direct donations of money or food to shelters. If someone encounters a hurt/abused/neglected animal, they usually share it on their personal Facebook or try contacting a shelter, which may or may not work in saving the animal on time. Meow Tours is the only initiative in Egypt organizing shelter visits. Attendees have no obligation to donate food or money, but may do so of their own accord. The main purpose is to foster empathy and connection within a community that cares for animals. The innovative solution is developing the phone application, which has also not been done before in Egypt.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

The activities of Meow Tours help people as much as it helps the animals. 1- Shelter visits make people happier when they connect with animals and consider them new friends, as such helping heal the whole community. In some cases people have adopted a particular animal they connected with, instead of buying. Some people find solace in befriending animals who are going through a tough time. 2- It’s an opportunity for all animal lovers (who have asthma like me and they can’t adopt a pet or for the people who can’t take a pet responsibility) to spend a lot of time with lots of dogs and cats without any responsibility or asthmas. 3- We encourage the ones who have a phobia to come with us aiming to overcome their fear. And after 18 event we met not less than 30 person, and After they come with us they changed completely, Some of them are sending us messages all the time if he saw any stray in need and some of them are thinking in adopting from a shelter and the rest of them keeps coming in our events. 4- We offer these events so people can get more experience before adopting any pet, so they don’t adopt then throw it away when they can’t adapt to them.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Progress is measured by the number of attendees on the shelter visits. The first Tour had just 5 people, and over the course of 9 months grew to having an average of 50 people in each tour. People are booking in advance so as to ensure their spots. Having a regular and sustained interest in the activities of Meow Tours is a major indicator of progress and success of the project. Business growth can be measured by the number of bookings and tickets. The project has also garnered a lot of media coverage, in the local news outlets as well as internationally by Associated Press (AP), Deustscheville, OZY Magazine in USA and more. This validated the social impact, and spread more awareness to people who learn about the activities we do. Facebook likes and shares are a means of measuring the project’s visibility.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

-Expanding in other cities beyond Cairo: Meow Tours has held an event in Alex, but plans on expanding its community and services to other cities. It will involve going on tours from Cairo to another city, and then later on making new partnerships in those cities to sustain the activity there. -Introducing new activities and partnerships: The phone application for pet saving and adoption; Dog walking service; Meow Delivery for delivery services involving pets; ‘Meowbnb’ to have a community/network for pet sitting/hosting; Therapy for overcoming fears from animals.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

For the animals: It decreases their chances of experiencing abuse, thus less likely to be violent and go in defensive-attack mode, raises their chances of finding good homes. For those who care for them: It directly and indirectly supports those already active in saving and protecting animals, including vets, shelters, animal rights groups. Gives people an easy channel to enjoy the company of animals in a safe and supported space. For the founder: It's a channel to make a social difference and be proactive to a cause. For the community at large: A better understanding of how to deal with animal encounters, how to help when needed, lessened fear of the unknown and ‘the other,’ better services for them and their pets’ needs.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Currently the project is non-profit and the income from attendees’ tickets funds the expenses for the tour bus. The short term plan is to generate some income from tickets that can help comfortably sustain regular operations of Meow Tours. In the medium term launching the new services mentioned above through collaborations and partnerships will allow for financial profit through commissions or shared profit. The income will also help to launch the website and generate original content related to animals. The phone app is an expensive project and developing it will require external funding. In the long term the project hopes to sustain itself with a wide range of operations, through ticketed events, commissions, and partnerships.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

It is currently a one-man show by the founder, who organize, documents, manages social media and marketing. In the medium-term I am looking to the following positions: PR and Marketing Officer (Full) Photography and videography persons (Part) Fundraiser officer (Part) Volunteers. Over time the positions could expand to having more team members under the aforementioned managers: Chief Financial Officer Marketing & Social Media Team. Mobile App Team (Part). Organizers and Facilitators.

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

The prize will allow me to expand the project in many ways. The first would be to hire key team members to help maintain and develop the current operations. The prize will support the expenses for developing and designing the phone application, integrating an innovative solution to animal issues and social work in Egypt. It will also help with the line-up of activities and cover any initial expenses needed to jumpstart them, relieved from the pressure of being self funded or financed by the founder. Recognition from the Prize will raise the profile and visibility of the project both locally and internationally, attracting more potential collaborators or funding sources. This will help accelerate our growth and allow us to move forward

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

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No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Does this entry have potential to GROW & demonstrate LEADERSHIP?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. Is this entry VIABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. Does this entry have POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

7. FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions or used an old model in a new way - 50%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 50%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 50%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 50%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 100%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 50%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 0%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: Your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

Other option - 0%

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