Innovation for a Better Future
Focus: Trust and Peace-building, Social Innovation, Community Solutions.
In a Glimpse
In a world where interactive technology provides irreplaceable and often missed opportunities, “Tech Social” came to provide an alternative space to build trust, foster dialogue and encourage Innovation for Social Change. Tech Tribes and International Alert together helped young people in Jordan (pilot) and Lebanon (scale-up) find innovative solutions to issues they were facing as a result of the ongoing socio-economic and refugee crisis. While participants formed an understanding of why everyday challenges were on the rise in their own communities, Tech Tribes connected them to research and community mapping skills and digital engagement tactics that could help mitigate their impact.
Jordan now hosts more than 1.3 million refugees who have fled the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011.Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita. There are, an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and some 16,000 refugees of Ethiopian, Iraqi, Sudanese and other origins, in addition to over 200,000 Palestinian refugees under UNRWA's mandate. The influx of refugees has placed a huge strain on public services. Schools are overcrowded, housing costs have risen by 300%, and the availability of cheap labour is now mounting pressures on the labour market. This creates social tension and hinders any social and economic development. Building social cohesion and reinforcing trust are two areas of priorities for any intervention. Youth, especially in host-refugee communities are to realize that they have no option but to work together to face such rising challenges.
WHAT WE DID
“Can Peace Education & Social Innovation come together to solve issues that youth in host-communities face?”
The approach was both innovative and fun! While participants formed an understanding of why everyday challenges were on the rise in their own communities, the Social Innovation component came to expose them to possible innovative solutions that could help mitigate their impact. In this process, participants were given the chance to meet and get mentored by like-minded professionals and social innovators. International Alert & Tech Tribes then left it to them to make sense of this exposure and to get their creativity unleashed.
The results were promising; participants were successful in creating three tech-based community solutions. The first is a basic structure for a mobile application that caters to students with learning difficulties, especially those who have been out of school due to conflict. The second is an e-commerce platform that helps supports women-led house-based businesses connect and access the local market. The third is a women-run IT center in Bekaa that targets young women with limited access to the Internet and supports Girls in Tech. Ideas matured over a period of six months while Tech Tribes helped secure angel funding and solid partnerships for some.
Peace can be achieved if we allow ourselves to understand the other and to realize that we all face the same challenges and needs. It is the way that we express those needs that make them look different.
Listening to the stories of the guest speakers inspired me! Saddam Sayyaleh (guest speaker) and I share the same background. We both come from a refugee camp. We both adopt the same cause (Education). While he did not allow anything to stop him from giving back to his community, I, like many others, complain from the lack of resources. Maybe I was mistaken to throw a judgement. It is where all conflict starts.
Tech Social was full of learning! I learnt that great things come as a result of one of two things: either a certain need or a desire to shake the status quo for the better. As a young man living at al Zaatri Refugee Camp, I know that resources are scarce but today I realized that we might be suffering from a real resource-management issue. Personal interests dominate over community ones. It is only about time that we learn to work with one another.”
Tech Social: Innovating for a Better Future
In a world where interactive technology provides irreplaceable and often missed opportunities, Tech- Social comes to provide an alternative space to build trust, foster dialogue and encourage innovation for Social Change. It primarily focuses on exploring ways through which concepts of peace education, conflict analysis and coexistence can come together to form the building blocks of innovative solutions offered to their refugee host communities.
With support from:
International Alert UK, Chabibeh Club, Trablos Ahla, Tripoli Youth Council, Ministry of Youth (Jordan)