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UAE-based Reading Dogs Third in 2020 Purina BetterwithPets Prize

More than 150 applications from 23 countries were submitted for the prize, which rewards initiatives harnessing the power of the pet-human bond to benefit communities across EMENA.
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Reading Dogs, an initiative offering children in the United Arab Emirates the opportunity to interact meaningfully with pet dogs by reading to them, took home CHF 10,000 (UAE Dirhams 38,000). The winner came third in the highly coveted piloted project category of the 2020 Purina BetterwithPets Prize, which was announced in a virtual forum streamed live on YouTube.

reading dogs

Organized in collaboration with Ashoka, a pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship, this year’s second edition of the prize drew more than 150 applicants from across 23 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, reaping eight finalists stemming from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Entrants were welcomed across two streams: Early-stage ideas for innovations, and Fully piloted/implemented innovations.

“We are excited to support these social entrepreneurs as they grow their impact and we congratulate the Reading Dogs team on their creativity and ingenuity in promoting the mutual power of the pet-human bond and the importance of working towards a future where solutions override problems,” said Sergej Pracevic, Business Executive Officer, Nestlé Purina for the Middle East and North Africa region.

“We're very proud to have ranked so highly among a group of so many innovators from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa,” said Karalynn Thomson of Reading Dogs.The prize will allow us to expand our services across the UAE, delivering more sessions in mainstream and special educational needs schools, building children's confidence in their reading ability and allowing them to experience first-hand the special bond animals can bring.”

Both the prize winners and finalists will be eligible to access additional programs designed to support further development of their ventures. Select piloted innovators will also be invited to participate in Purina and Ashoka’s Scaling Social Impact Program, while select idea-stage young changemakers will be eligible for a mentoring program.

For more detail, read the full Purina press release

About Nestlé Purina PetCare

Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness. For more information, visit the Purina Middle East and North Africa website:


ASHOKA is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs — individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, we have supported more than 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone is a Changemaker — a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem.

For more information, please contact:

Layal Dalal
Media Relations Manager
Nestlé Middle East and North Africa
Email: [email protected]