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‘We Innovate Together’ programme awards youth solutions to local social issues

By JT - Oct 08,2022 - Last updated at Oct 08,2022

AMMAN — The "We Innovate Together" Youth Social Innovation Challenge, implemented by Expertise France with the support of IBTECAR Consulting, held an awards ceremony on Thursday. 

The challenge is part of the EU funded "Support to Social Protection in Jordan" Programme.

The Social Innovation Challenge brought together young people aged between 18 and 25 from Amman, Karak and Jerash for a journey that lasted over 10 months, according to a statement from organisers. 

Out of the 500 applicants, 110 were chosen to form teams in the local stage of the Challenge, and to submit ideas for innovations that would benefit social protection and cohesion in their communities. 

The 27 teams received advice, training and guidance on developing and implementing workable, sustainable innovations.

Fifteen teams, comprising 50 innovators, were selected to compete in the national stage to develop prototypes with the support of coaches and mentors, ready to make their pitch to the jury. 

Over 250 people attended the closing awards ceremony, most notably Minister of Social Development Ayman Al Mufleh, and Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Jordan, Patrick Lambrechts. 

The ceremony included awards for five winning teams. The Turkuaz team ranked first in Amman, whose project focuses on persons with physical disabilities and on youth by training them in digital and micro-skills to open employment opportunities. 

The Mantojna team ranked first in Jerash, whose project promotes eco-tourism in Jerash and creates economic opportunities for women. The Aphanius team ranked first in Karak, whose project targets the youth of the southern Jordan Valley by providing part-time job opportunities and supporting small business owners, read the statement.

The winning teams of the second and third places of the National Challenge were also awarded: Clips team from Amman, an e-business incubator for individual economic empowerment, and the Hemmah team from Karak to economically and socially  empower women with hearing disabilities through an e-platform. 

Mufleh expressed his happiness and pride in the youth’s social projects and stressed the need to support them and provide them with financial support.

Lambrechts said: “The objective of today’s event is to reward and give recognition to new solutions to local social issues, and invest in budding talents along with the Ministry of Social Development. Rest assured that the EU will remain committed to advancing social protection in Jordan over the next five years. And we very much look forward to seeing the solutions and ideas presented today sustainably transform Jordan for many years to come.”

Marie Keirle, project leader at Expertise France, was very pleased with the response to the Challenge. 

She said: “At the start, we were not quite sure how well the idea of a social innovation challenge would work, given all the other activity around innovation for growth. We were delighted to find that the initiative struck a chord, and Jordan clearly has many talented young people who are strongly motivated to make a positive difference in their communities and wider society, and who have great ideas for how to do that.”

One of the coaches of the Challenge, Sawsan Zayed, said that the Social Innovation Challenge was a unique opportunity for young people to experience the innovation journey that enables them to transform their ideas into projects with a sustainable community impact. 

One of the participants in the challenge, Ghaith Al Shamayleh, emphasised how he learned to solve challenges and transform innovative ideas into practical projects. 

"The project helped me meet peers with the same interests, and coaches who helped me develop my idea," he added.

The event also saw the participation of Wahj Al Shams Team for Theatre and Folk Arts, a non-profit organisation, who performed a play on the role of youth in social protection. The team has so far presented 255 theatre performances inside and outside Amman, and trained 696 vulnerable youth and introduced them with directors, artists and academic institutions. 



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