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20 teams from 12 countries qualified for Innovate for Refugees competition

Amman to host final ceremony on January 28

By JT - Dec 30,2017 - Last updated at Dec 30,2017

AMMAN — The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) for the Pan Arab Region announced that 20 teams from 12 countries qualified for the Innovate for Refugees semi-finals to compete during the final ceremony which will take place in the King Hussein Business Park Auditorium in Amman on January 28, 2018. 

The teams were divided as follows: Six from Jordan, four from Lebanon and one each from Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sweden, France, Greece, the US, Germany, Austria and Turkey, MITEF said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The second edition of Innovate for Refugees witnessed wide participation, with 1,809 applications from various Arab and international countries. 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) accounted for 65 per cent of applications, 25 per cent were from Europe and the remaining 10 per cent came from other parts of the world, the statement said. 

Innovate for Refugees, in its second edition, “succeeded in attracting more refugee participants, with their participation rate increasing to 25 per cent compared to the 15 per cent participation in the first edition. The participation of women has also notably increased, reaching 70 per cent”, the statement read.

The qualifying teams are scheduled to undergo several training sessions on January 26-27, 2018 in Amman, before the final ceremony, which will be accompanied by an exhibition to showcase the semi-finalist teams’ projects in the form of a live demo. 

Conferences and discussion sessions will also be held to review investment opportunities, funding and innovation for the benefit of refugees with the participation of specialists and experts in entrepreneurship and the world of startups.

“The size of participation in this year’s competition has been remarkable, especially by the refugees themselves, reaching 25 per cent! We are working towards enabling refugees to express their ideas and helping them transform them into innovative solutions to the challenges they face in their camps,” Hala Fadel, MITEF Pan ArabChair, was quoted in the statement as saying. 

“In this context, MITEF supported the React hub educational programme that aims to attract refugees to enroll in computer training programmes, which will be launched, for the first time this year, for two weeks from January 14-28, 2018. 

“We have succeeded in attracting 513 refugees registered in this programme and 25 have been selected. MITEF will work to provide job opportunities for participants in this programme. We hope that these initiatives and activities will inspire young people to look forward to the future with optimism away from the difficult reality in which they live,” Fadel added.

Farah Shammas, Innovate for Refugees director, pointed to the success story of Ahmad Al Hidiq, one of the co-founders of HeyDoc. 


“Ahmad is a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who was pre-selected in the first edition of the Innovate for Refugees. HeyDoc has become an award winning global telemedicine platform that connects patients anywhere with doctors all over the world for the purpose of non-urgent medical advisory. This platform provides refugees, the poor and the needy in refugee camps, developing countries and rural areas access to doctors and health professionals to obtain medical advice,” Shammas was quoted in the statement as saying.

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