Samara Zaza

NGO specialist and social worker

I have devoted my career at the Ministry of Social Affairs to developing infrastructure for not-for-profit programs focused on enhancing the quality of life for underprivileged communities, disadvantaged families, vulnerable orphans and individuals with disabilities. 

I am the daughter of Mustafa Zaza, a communications officer from Makkah who was assigned to the late King Abdul Aziz’s private office in Riyadh. 

Samara Zaza Faces of Saudi by Arab News
Samara Zaza Faces of Saudi by Arab News
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My mother, an avid advocate of education, instilled in me the love for learning, leading me to earn a BA in social work from King Saud University and an MA in psychology from Boston University in the US. I keep up with new trends through continuing education and also maintain my social work and counseling license. 

Women’s associations were limited in number in the early days of my career, which paved the way for many female board members to reach their goals within these respected entities.

I focused my work on encouraging members of the community to establish associations in various fields, such as health and social development, to enable their communities to lean toward modernization. 

There is a noticeable increase in the number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). 

As a field researcher at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, I have participated in many committees that help associations develop and progress. 

In my current role with the Labor Ministry, I continue to support social goodwill programs, addressing multiple needs in varied capacities.

I was also privileged to have worked on a Ministry of Interior social research program related to women and children and have participated in UN-sponsored events representing the Ministry of Social Affairs.

NGOs were a rare phenomenon, and so I was motivated to enhance the role of these organizations within Saudi communities. 

After attending several global training and professional exchange programs, I developed know-how of how NGOs operate within different cultures.

The methodologies adopted by several NGOs in the US and UK helped me develop, assist and support several newly founded organizations across the country. I believe this was how I was able to pioneer the development of nonprofit programs. 

My efforts paid off. Today, Vision 2030 has a dedicated goal to enhancing NGOs in conformity with the infrastructure and policies I initiated years ago.

I attribute my accomplishments to the support of my three boys and my husband, Abdul-Mohsen Al-Shoaibi, who had the foresight to became one of the first Saudi alternative energy solar engineers. 

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