Monday, December 29, 2003

Update on money transfer to Ays

In the following two emails Ays has requested I send the money to a friend's father's bank account in the "Emirates" which I assume is the U.A.E.
Dec 24, 2003
Dear Tom,
I have a friend here in Baghdad, his father is in Emirates, he has a bank account there, so if you can send the money to him then I can take the money from his son here in Baghdad.
...

Dec 29, 2003
Dear Tom,

I have all the informations about his name, phone number, account number and the name of the bank, but I am just waiting for the 'SWIFT code', so I will send all of the informations as I get them soon. and do not worry, as the money reaches my friend's father, I will be able to get them easily.
...

Once Ays has the SWIFT code I'll post on Ays' blog that we will be ready to send the first money transfer. I'll give people a few days to make any last minute donations before sending the wire. As international wire transfers typically run $40 USD, I want to minimize the number of times this fee is paid so anyone wanting to donate money to Ays is encouraged to do so now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Setting expectations

I have read a couple of comments for suggestions on how to use the money that while well meaning are well outside any expectations I have for this site. While Ays and the other Iraqi bloggers may have thousands or tens of thousands of people reading their blogs, only a small percentage will ever donate money. It is important we set realistic goals so those we are trying to support don't start making plans for something that is never going to materialize.

Realistically I'm thinking we'll raise between $25 and $50 each month per blogger. That should be enough to pay for their Internet access fees but not much else. Of course we'll raise much more during this initial kick off period but we shouldn't count on this rate continuing as the novelty wears off.

One thing that could bring in a large sum of money is a grant from a charitable foundation. If anyone knows how to gain funding from such an organization, please let us know.

How an Iraqi Blogger can apply for financial assistances

Update: No longer accepting request from Iraqi bloggers.

To qualify an Iraqi blogger must meet the following criteria:
  • must be an Iraqi

  • must be living in Iraq

  • must not be a paid journalist

  • must have already started a blog

  • if the blogger is underage, they must have their parent's consent

Assuming the blogger can meet this criteria, the next step is to send an email to tvillars@gmail.com asking for support. The html for adding a PayPal donation button to their site will be then be sent. Any money collected directly from their site will be used 100% to support their blogging.

I don't intended to go around looking for Iraqi bloggers to support. I am counting on the people reading this blog to handle this. If you have a favorite Iraqi blogger then start up an email conversation letting them know what is possible.

There is also a PayPal button on this site. Any money collected here will be split among the various bloggers currently being supported. Since AYS is the only one who has given permission to begin collecting donations, he gets 100% of the donations from this site until the next blogger is added. Of course AYS (and any other blogger) will get 100% of the money donated directly from their site.

Donor's List Is Up

The first batch of donor's have been listed on Iraq At A Glance.

Monday, December 22, 2003

How we plan to send the money to Iraq

This government website gives details on business conditions in Iraq. The document that best details options for transfer money can be found here.

The critical passages from the document are:

Can I wire money into Iraq?
Yes. Citibank in Amman offers a service that delivers cash to the doorstep of the beneficiary in Iraq (tel. 962 6 567 5100). Some U.S. Army personnel and foreign officials use the Export & Finance Bank in Amman, Jordan, which provides money transfer services in cooperation with Baghdad Bank (tel. 962 6 569 4250).

Visa International recently entered into an agreement with Rafidain Bank that will allow the bank to make electronic fund transfers among its branches throughout the country.

We are attempting to contact Mr. Arabiat @ Citicorp through his email and telephone numbers.

Another avenue we are pursuing is to find an Iraqi ISPs and arrange to directly pay for the bloggers Internet fees. We currently have emails out to journalist trying to find out how to contact Mr. Ahmed Abdul Karim who owns and operates an ISP in Baghdad. If anyon can assist in contacting this person or other IPS operators please leave a comment.

We are confident that one of these approaches will allow funds to be transferred into Iraq, but I can certainly understand if people want to wait until we have a proven method. On the other hand, having some money to transfer will certainly help get things started.

Permission Granted

Received the following email from Ays today.
Dear Tom

Zeyad and Omar told me that they will make paypal done by Mr. Jeff Jarvis. So, my friend, I will be very thankful if you make a button in my blog and collect the money with you until I could open an account in Al-Rafidain Bank. thank you dear friend.. thank you very much yours,
Ays
With this confirmation we are ready to begin accepting donations for Ays blog.

Kick Off

I have been working with Ays by handling some of the administrative task involved with his blog. While AYS and the other Iraqi bloggers have been paying for Internet access out of their own pocket, the expense limits the time they can blog.

This site will concentrate on three things:

  • raising money to help pay for fees the Iraqi bloggers incur while blogging

  • handling the transfer and public discloser of all money donated

  • provide a clearing house for handling technical support issue that the Iraqi bloggers may have
This site will NOT be used for political discussions. As the moderator, I will actively delete post and/or comments that are political in nature and not related to the topics under discussion.