Eight weeks after the start of the prototyping phase, what did we learn from the implementation and the design process? How did the team members benefit from the training and implementation, and what are the next steps for all three projects?
As the Schools District Project were wrapping up the carnival event, people were coming up to one of the team members, Kawthar, to say that they wanted the team to continue with the initiative. One person even asked her to collaborate and aim for a zero-waste Bar Elias. Najwa and Tharaa, the leaders of the two other teams, heard similar sentiments from their teams and volunteers. Seeing their prototypes tested on the ground was a major reward for all three teams. In just over two months, they had learned to manage a project with a given budget, create systems for their teams and learn how to overcome barriers and challenges that arise along the way.
Team learnings and Soft Skills
Apart from being a great chance for them to get in touch with local communities to network, the teams learned soft skills that will help them sustain their projects and complement new opportunities in the future.
When recruiting for a project, how do we make sure to include everyone equally? How do we make sure we provide people with a fair chance to apply and be selected as part of the project?
Money and Budgeting:
When planning a project, how do we predict the right budget from the start and take into account all expenses? How do we keep track of all the expenses in receipts and make sure we keep transparency and accuracy?
Once we have our team together, how do we make sure everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration? How do we manage time with the teams to meet up, discuss the progress of the projects and debrief?
Learning How to Approach Stakeholders:
How do we approach local entities to present ideas? How do we get in touch with municipalities and pitch proposals for collaboration?
Individual Team Learning:
What was successful: Engaging a group of women with activities and giving them the opportunity to think about waste differently. What they would have done differently: The team would have picked another location for their sales event in order to exhibit and sell to people from diverse backgrounds and to have a larger audience learn about the work they’re doing.
Next Steps: For Project Hamida, they would like to take time and expertise to improve the prototype, learn to master the tools better, and collaborate with local organizations to find better opportunities to sell the products.
Scalability: Collaborating with other camps and implementing this prototype.
Schools District Project:
What was successful: This team measured their success by making pre-assessment and post-assessment surveys with the same groups. This gave them the chance to see the impact that their intervention had on households, and how they managed to change a few mindsets and how these people view waste. The team also learned how to manage a project from start to finish, and involve different stakeholders in the final event. This gave them an opportunity to network, and to provide a very fruitful learning experience to the children who were present. What they would have done differently: They would have preferred to dedicate more time to training with experts to see real long-lasting results with the people involved in the carnival. The lack of proper infrastructure in Bar Elias prevented them from having real continuity for recycling after the awareness-raising event was over.
Next steps: After branding the project and giving it a presence on social media, the team will present the results to the municipality. They will share their learnings from the prototype on sorting and they will be looking for chances to collaborate with the municipality to find a continuity for their project and aim for a zero-waste Bar Elias.
Scalability: Looking for donors to collaborate with the municipality of Bar Elias and other municipalities as well.
What was successful: Negotiating with three entities and having them agree to be part of the prototyping phase was this team’s biggest forté (Going to talk with the municipality, the recycling plant NTCC and the restaurants and agreeing on terms for collaboration)
What they would have done differently: Involving more restaurants in the prototyping phase would have ensured more sustainability in the prototyping phase. Since their negotiations were successful to get restaurants to participate in the campaign, they could have gathered a bigger volume of waste, and ensure a higher financial return to the workers who were sorting for recycling.
Next Steps: Project Ziad would like to keep working with the NTCC and the municipality to ensure that more restaurants are involved in their campaign and that they can convince a higher number of restaurants in Saida to recycle.
Scalability: Adding to the number of restaurants will ensure a higher financial return to the campaign by collecting a higher volume of waste.
Perhaps one of the biggest learning outcomes for all three teams is understanding that changing behaviors takes time, especially when it involves adopting new habits like sorting and recycling. How might we ensure continuity of the work? After successfully testing their ideas on a local level, how can they collaborate with different entities, share their learnings, and make their projects go to a national level? How might we as a cohort of UNDP and MENA DRC provide the connection to local municipalities to continue the projects and collaborate to keep them going? How can other municipalities and entities benefit from applying a design approach?