Networks Synergize Mission Impact:

Affordable Housing in Egypt

“The basket with two handles is meant to be carried by two.” Egyptian Proverb

Case Summary

Network leaders recognize that wicked problems confound any single organization. An Egyptian visionary cultivated trust among 25 community organizations that collaborated to build over 15,000 homes in under 10 years. Fully 99.7% of participating families repaid revolving loans on time, most from $2 per day incomes. Harvard Business School researchers concluded that because “most social issues dwarf even the most well-resourced, well-managed nonprofit… it is wrongheaded for nonprofit leaders simply to build their organizations. Instead, they must focus on their mission, not their organization; on trust, not control; and on being a node, not a hub.”

Presentation Video

Values-aligned networks deliver transformational outcomes. David Haskell, Dreams InDeed President and CEO, illustrates four network synergy principles: shared dreams, aligned values, participatory weave, and servant leaders. Haskell presented this case at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Duke, American University of Beirut, and to Social Venture Partners, Social Enterprise Alliance, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

Additional Case Assets

This presentation outlines four network synergy principles: shared dreams, aligned values, participatory weave, and servant leaders.  David Haskell presented this case at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Duke, American University of Beirut, and to Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Monitor Institute, Social Venture Partners, Social Enterprise Alliance, and Mennonite Economic Development Associates.

Read the remarkable story of an unlikely Egyptian visionary with a dream who wove a network with 25 aligned organizations to build 15,000 decent homes in under 10 years with two-dollar-a-day families.

Business professors Wei-Skillern and Marciano argue that small networked nonprofits can achieve far more mission impact by collaborating with aligned partners than by growing their organizations.

Harvard researchers Wei-Skillern and Herman documented a field case in Egypt that illustrates how network leadership harnessed trust to deliver synergistic mission impact against the odds.

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