AMMAN — Winners were announced on Tuesday in the “Innovate for Refugees” competition, honouring entrepreneurs with inventive ideas to address challenges facing refugees.
A team from the US, “Change: Water Labs” and Moroccan team Evaptainers each won a $20,000 prize in the category for best technological solution, organisers announced at a ceremony held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Walid Masri deputised for Her Majesty at the ceremony.
The Evaptainers designed “mobile and modular evaporative coolers that are ideal for low-income, off-grid areas and that can triple or quadruple the shelf-life of most produce”, according to the competition’s website.
The “Change: Water Labs” project consists of a “revolutionary evaporative toilet that is low-cost, compact, stand-alone solution for off-grid and informal dwellings and which rapidly ‘flushes’ away 85-90 per cent of daily household sewage volumes”.
The NaTakallam project from the US, a platform connecting Syrian refugees with Arabic learners around the world to make money while teaching Arabic, also won a $20,000 prize.
The LEDlife team from Switzerland won a $20,000 prize for their project to teach refugees how to use renewable energy technologies.
The Open Embassy project from the Netherlands won a $30,000 prize, while Recycle Beirut and Boloro and BanQ projects won $20,000 each.
Open Embassy is “an online helpdesk that enables… refugees with a permit to ask questions about their integration process”. From their answers, the project “develops an FAQ and a smart wiki and shares the lessons learnt with the key stakeholders”.
Boloro and BanQ “brings financial inclusion and economic opportunity solutions for refugees”, according to the contest’s organisers.