Have you ever had an idea for a new project that you wanted to see in your community? Now, did you ever actually take action to implement that idea? We all have tons of ideas, but unfortunately, very few of these ideas see the light of day.

At BuildPalestine, we believe that there are amazing ideas amongst our community, and we want to see as many of those ideas come to light as possible. That is why we launched our Social Innovation Bootcamp, which takes individuals with early stage ideas through the phases of “inspiration” and “ideation”.

From the 49 applicants, 7 participants joined, and 5 graduated from the program. Here are their ideas for what they want to contribute to their communities. If a project resonates with you and you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to the graduate directly. We are excited to see how these ideas develop into community action!

Dana – Life Theatre

“Life Theatre” is an initiative run by Dana which aims to promote gender equality and social justice by holding a set of interactive plays. The target audience of these plays are children and young adults, a segment impressionable by tools such as theatre as a means of communication. The series of plays aim to change prevailing stereotypes about gender roles in society, the workplace, and family life. Life Theatre hopes to plant the seeds for values different than those prevailing in our society. 

Dana and her team are currently working on a draft for a script to present to relevant organizations to evaluate and bring to life. They’re also planning on writing a graphic story as a prototype for a published children’s story. 

Samed Alhajajla  – ThymePlate

When Samed was a child, he went to 13 different schools. He says that he loved education, but hated schools. He always felt like the curriculum and way of teaching was static and lacked creativity and innovation. When he was little, Samed was told that the right way to Zeit & Za’atar was to dip bread into olive oil, and then into the Za’atar (thyme). Can you guess what he did? The complete opposite. And while the Zeit w Za’atar is a metaphor, it mirrored what he felt towards the education system in Palestine. 

Today, Samed is working on ThymePlate, a Curriculum based on international olympiads (science, math, informatics, philosophy, etc.) to support critical and creative thinking in Palestinians schools. During the demo day, Samed showed results from the past three years working on this curriculum, which showed significant progress in scores. 

Suzan Abu Farha – Solid Waste Management

Suzan is an architect who has a master’s degree in sustainable development. She’s very passionate about issues relating to solid waste management. Suzan is also a mother of four, for whom she hopes to create a better tomorrow.

Suzan intends to tackle the lack of awareness with regards to solid waste management among different segments of the Palestinian society, and with a focus on younger children at schools. Suzan project will include a series of interventions which include the following:

– Competitions and campaigns for school children. One successful example was “Keesi Ahla” which translates to “My bag is nice” – a campaign in which school children designed their own reusable bags.

– A social media awareness campaigns for home-makers on best waste management practices.

Currently, Suzan is working on growing her model, and in raising a small budget for the awareness efforts. 

On her experience at the bootcamp

Malak Ghannam – Retro Ramallah

Malak is a university student, and one of the co-founders of Retro Ramallah, a second-hand online shop. Malak and her friends established the online shop after struggling with the high prices for clothing items, as well as the fact their one-time use of the many items they did end up buying. In her presentation, Malak also addressed the negative environmental effects of the fast fashion industry. 

Their solution? Pretty simple – creating a platform for both buyers and sellers to exchange clothes. They started with an Instagram page, which now has over 2,000 followers. Retro Ramallah will be available as a mobile application and website in July 2021.

Husam Zakarneh – Medical Wate Management

Husam’s story began when he was admitted to the hospital, and overheard a couple of doctors discussing the lack of space for medical waste at the hospital’s facilities. After preliminary research, Husam learned that medical waste disposal is a dire challenge in Palestine, which no entity is addressing properly in Palestine. This makes Husam a “first mover” in the industry. 

Husam and his partners were able to secure a piece to land as well as an investor to build the disposal plant. To complete the plant, they need the necessary equipment. Afterwhich, they’ll be able to contract with hospitals and health facilities across the West Bank. Right now, Husam and his partners are looking for funding opportunities to be able to obtain the needed equipment.

On his experience at the bootcamp

That was our first cohort!

We’re delighted with the results of the first bootcamp, and we thoroughly enjoyed working with the amazing group of innovators. We were also very happy to see connections happen between participants, mentors, and our audience, albeit virtually! 

If you’re interested in participating in our next Social Innovation Bootcamp in August, sign up here by July 25, 2020