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EU-funded Social Innovation Challenge seeks to inspire Jordanian youth

By JT - May 22,2022 - Last updated at May 22,2022

Participants of EU-funded Social Innovation Challenge pose for a group photo (Photo courtesy of Expertise France)

AMMAN — Over 500 applicants aged between 18 and 25 who want to make a change and create an impact in their community responded to the EU-funded Social Innovation Challenge, run by Expertise France and IBTECAR Consulting in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.

The Social Innovation Challenge was launched by Expertise France and IBTECAR Consulting as part of the Civil Society Organisations Component of the EU funded “Support to Social Protection in Jordan” Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.

In the first phase of the exercise, 110 applicants were selected to work in 27 teams through the Local Challenges in the Karak, Jerash and Amman pilot areas, according to an Expertise France statement sent to The Jordan Times. 

These teams worked on their ideas for innovative projects that would benefit their local communities, and presented them to local juries. The juries selected five teams from each of these three pilot areas to go forward to the next phase, which is the National Challenge, read the statement. 

The training covered topics such as the process of design thinking which includes empathy, challenge validation, prototyping and testing, as well as sustainability and fundraising, the statement said. 

Alongside this, over a period of five months, each team is receiving individual coaching in Social Innovation and Design Thinking to develop its idea into a workable prototype. 

This will enable the teams to build a social business model that achieves financial sustainability and social impact, and to qualify for incubation and continuing support after the completion of the Challenge, read the statement. 

The projects target youth empowerment, social cohesion, empowerment of persons with disabilities, economic empowerment of vulnerable groups, realising the local economic potential of tourism and gender equality. Thus, their aim is to contribute to the Kingdom’s social protection needs and priorities, the statement said.

“Giving young people the opportunity to participate in this Challenge is evidence that government institutions, especially the Ministry of Social Development, consider them an important part of solving societal problems by finding optimal, modern and innovative solutions and projects,” said Thibault van Langenhove, Head of the Social Protection and Decent Work Unit at Expertise France. 

General Manager of IBTECAR Consulting Jamil Khatib added that the Social Innovation Challenge is part of the EU Support to Social Protection in Jordan Programme’s comprehensive approach to social protection; by involving these energetic youth seeking to find constructive solutions and suggestions that serve their communities. 

Maryam Eid, a Local Challenge participant, said: “Synthesised knowledge is different from disconnected information. The only way this could be achieved is by immersion in an activity. This is precisely what we experience from participating in the challenge. It is a unique experience that helps us come up with an idea with ​​social value, which could leave an impact and create a positive change.” 

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