Profiles - Meet the inspiring change makers

Home to some of the youngest populations in the world, the Southern Neighbourhood bustles with innovative talents and promising human resources. EU-funded projects pushing for change are flourishing in the fields of tourism, health, environment, education, human rights, media, culture and technology, among many others.

The EU Neighbours South sheds light on the inspiring beneficiaries behind these stories across the Arab countries of the Southern Neighbourhood region.

Discover their journey and get inspired!

Journalist /artist TANDEM 2021 Inès Nayli & Zac HT

Country:
Algeria
Sectors:
Civil Society, Culture, Media, Youth

“As soon as I heard the word culture, I knew I wanted to participate in this contest, and I knew that it would be about the casbah,” recounts Inès Nayli, an Algerian journalist and content creator who partnered with filmmaker Zac HT to produce “Mon Patrimoine, Ma Culture”.

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Abdelhaleem Khader The green engineer

Country:
Palestine *
Project:
SHABAP
Sectors:
Environment, Research & innovation, Youth

SHABAP is a start-up working towards energy and water efficiency in Palestinian buildings, as a way to improve quality of life and encourage local action against climate change. The start-up seeks to promote green entrepreneurship and dynamise the local economy.

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Abdellah Aouf The ambitious social entrepreneur

Country:
Algeria
Project:
GO platform
Sectors:
Education, Youth

Global Opportunities is Algeria’s pioneer platform in academic education and self-development for youth. Through easy-to-reach information, guidance and skill building services, the website offers students and young graduates an equal access to scholarships, internships and work-related opportunities at no or low cost.

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Ahmad Mohsen The travel blogger

Country:
Egypt
Sectors:
Culture, Education, Migration & mobility, Youth

Ahmad Mohsen documents his life experiences through a travel and food blog, which he views as a legacy for his and his children’s future. He also promotes local and inclusive tourism across his home country, Egypt.

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Ahmed Zaazaa The altruistic architect

Country:
Egypt
Project:
"Cultural Alliances" - 10Tooba
Sectors:
Culture, Environment, Human rights

10Tooba is an interdisciplinary group of built environment professionals working to improve housing conditions of underprivileged communities across Egypt. Through participatory planning and policy analysis, the company seeks to bring spatial justice, fair housing and meaningful change to Egypt’s rural areas.

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Ali Azmy The playful educator

Country:
Egypt
Project:
Makouk
Sectors:
Education, Youth

Makouk is a trailblazing organisation designing games that are both accessible and conducive to educational purposes. Seeking to bring the fun of play back into people’s lives, the company also provides play-based services and learning experiences for a variety of organisations.

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Amine Chakouri The Switcher protecting the treasures of the sea

Country:
Algeria
Project:
Barbarous
Sectors:
Civil Society, Environment

The marine ecological association Barbarous is a local organization led by a majority of divers aiming to raise awareness, act and protect the beautiful islands of the Oranese coast.

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Aya Sarsour The Switcher valorising household waste

Country:
Palestine *
Project:
Mnjm
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Mnjm collects recyclable materials from households and then sells them as raw materials to factories. In this way, the startup aims to demonstrate the real value of the recyclable waste currently languishing in trash cans around Palestine.

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Besma Belbedjaoui The Switcher revolutionising plastic recycling

Country:
Algeria
Project:
Plasticycle Algerie
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Plasticycle Algerie gathers tonnes of bottles and acts as an intermediary between plastic goods wholesalers and industrial manufacturing facilities.The startup also organises awareness-raising events, which resonate with a growing number of citizens who believe the circular economic model.

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Chiheb Karoui The eco-friendly entrepreneur

Country:
Tunisia
Project:
Barbecha
Sectors:
Research & innovation, Youth

Barbecha is a second-hand clothes site devoted to eco-conscious fashion lovers. The platform also offers tips and advice on how to act together for more responsible consumption.

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Chloe Jabbour, Kevin Hani & Gio Klaus Will The trio dynamising outdoor tourism

Country:
Lebanon
Project:
Tripntap
Sectors:
Youth

Tripntap is a website and mobile application that link outdoor activity seekers with trip organisers to promote adventure tourism. Tripntap also seeks to build a community of young nature lovers to take action against climate change.

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Coup de coeur TANDEM Jezia Nouma & Nadia Telich

Country:
Tunisia
Sectors:
Civil Society, Culture, Media, Youth
Moved by the quality of the numerous submissions, the TANDEM Media Awards jury decided to award a special category “Coup de Coeur” to an additional project.
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Faris Farrag The Switcher safeguarding food security

Country:
Egypt
Project:
Bustan Aquaponics
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Bustan Aquaponics is the first commercial aquaponics farm established in Egypt. Its pesticide-free products are grown in a locally developed and ecologically balanced system using 90% less water than traditional farming practices.

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Fatima Mahmoud The brilliant pharmacist

Country:
Syria *
Sectors:
Civil Society, Education, Migration & mobility, Research & innovation, Youth

“The path to success is made of a lot of hard work amidst all the challenges.” This is the harsh reality that Fatima Mahmoud, a 25-year-old Syrian, has come to realise at a very early age.

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Fatima Zahra Beraich The empathetic R&D entrepreneur/engineer

Country:
Morocco
Project:
BIODÔME
Sectors:
Agriculture & rural development, Employment & entrepreneurship, Research & innovation

Throughout her life, Fatima Zahra Beraich never departed from the idea that entrepreneurship can do good. Convinced that innovation is the answer to all problems, she managed to combine her two passions through her doctoral research, by creating a R&D based company specialised in the construction and installation of biogas and composting plants. 

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George Rishmawi The Switcher promoting community tourism

Country:
Palestine *
Project:
Palestine Heritage Trail
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Palestinian Heritage Trail is community-based tourism alongside a trail that extends from the north of Jenin to south of Hebron. The trail spans 330 kilometers and passes through 53 cities and villages where travelers can experience authentic Palestinian hospitality.

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Georges Bitar The recycling Switcher

Country:
Lebanon
Project:
Live Love Recycle
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Live Love Recycle is the first Lebanese mobile application connecting people keen to sort their waste and to recycle. With just one click a driver on an e-bike will come retrieve the bag of recyclable waste and swiftly deliver it back to the closest appropriate facility.

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Hadeel Anabtawi The fearless STEM entrepreneur

Country:
Jordan
Project:
The Alchemist Lab
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Research & innovation

Hadeel Anabtawi offers accessible, interactive STEM learning experiences to young boys and girls from the MENA region through her social entreprise The Alchemist Lab, focusing on building the skills needed for tomorrow. 

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Hend Ksiaa The determined mother

Country:
Tunisia
Project:
Sourire aux Anges
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment, Gender issues, Health, Research & innovation, Youth

Hend Ksiaa is the founder of "Sourire aux Anges", a natural care and hygiene brand for babies and children that offers healthy, affordable and natural products to Tunisian mothers.

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Ibtihal Alshami The resourceful engineer

Country:
Libya
Project:
KAAD
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment, Gender issues, Research & innovation

Ibtihal AlShami developed KAAD, a substance reducing the resistance of the earth to allow for electric grounding of buildings. Locally produced, KAAD is an innovative way to ensure sustainable construction amidst Libya’s natural challenges.

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Kamel Almani The eco-responsible Switcher

Country:
Jordan
Project:
WashyWash
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

WashyWash is a company that is set out to change how people clean their clothes globally, by replacing the outdated PERC dry-clean system with our EcoClean technology, giving people the best laundry experience with zero health risks. 

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Makki Maalej The Switcher raising awareness about energy usage

Country:
Tunisia
Project:
M2M
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

M2M company innovates with sensors providing energy usage data when fitted to machines. This allows manufacturers to gain a clear picture of how to reduce their energy consumption, increasing their environmental awareness while helping them make substantial savings.

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Mohsen Bchir The bio-engineer raising environmental awareness through art

Country:
Tunisia
Project:
Thirst Republic
Sectors:
Environment, Media

Thirst Republic is an immersive photodocumentary project shedding light on the issue of water scarcity in Tunisia. Combining technology and art in an interactive display, the project seeks to initiate a dialogue about environmental challenges and encourage people to take action.

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Nadine & Rula Khoury The ever-innovative agri-specialists

Country:
Lebanon
Project:
Robinson Agri
Sectors:
Agriculture & rural development, Employment & entrepreneurship, Gender issues

Robinson Agri is a cutting-edge hub of smart agriculture and sustainable innovation led by two Lebanese sisters, who seek to improve the entire food value chain, starting from the producer all the way up to the consumer. 

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Radhouan Ayadi The Switcher turning bio-waste into charcoal

Country:
Tunisia
Project:
Chanouf Farm-Biofire
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Chanouf Farm-Biofire is a farm that has created an agro-forestry waste recycling unit. By promoting biomass waste, it manufactures fuel briquettes; an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of firewood, one of the major contributors to deforestation.

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Radwa Rostom The Switcher reinforcing the idea of sustainable construction

Country:
Egypt
Project:
Hand Over
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Hand Over is a design and build company, specialized in delivering environment-friendly and cost effective building solutions using earth construction techniques.

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Raowia Lamhar The «rural freshness» Switcher

Country:
Morocco
Project:
GO Energyless Solutions
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Go Energyless Solutions is an environmental startup that markets “Fresh’it”, a refrigerator that works without electricity, keeping food safe and good to eat for up to 15 days, even in the desert.

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Rita El Helou The Switcher fighting plastic waste

Country:
Lebanon
Project:
SOUGHT
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

SOUGHT is a sustainable distribution company. The startup supplies environmentally friendly products and services that replace demand for non-green ones and covers the following categories: home & personal care for an Eco bathroom and kitchen.

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Ruby Haji Naif The resilient anthropologist

Country:
Syria *
Project:
Researcher, anthropologist & journalist
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Media

Ruby Naif is a researcher, anthropologist and journalist using media to promote behavioural change in the MENA region. Passionate about human nature, she pushes for greater gender equality and human rights protection as the pathway towards positive change.

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Safia Ltaif The researcher uncovering Arab identities

Country:
Libya
Project:
Sard
Sectors:
Culture

Safia Ltaif conducts field research in her native Libya to unveil the realities of the occupation and post-independence era. Informed by oral tradition and elders’ interviews, her artistic productions aim to fill the gaps in national archives and create an ethnographic record of the past.

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Sara Akkari The promising activist

Country:
Lebanon
Project:
Young Med Voices
Sectors:
Civil Society, Media, Youth

Through her blog and Instagram page, Sara Akkari sparks conversations about socio-political issues in Lebanon and advocates for individual and collective behavioural changes. By raising awareness of people’s rights, she seeks to reignite Lebanese people’s hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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Sondos Al Rqibat The inventive game designer

Country:
Jordan
Project:
Gadara spinner game
Sectors:
Culture, Education, Employment & entrepreneurship, Gender issues, Research & innovation, Youth

The Gadara spinner game is an innovative board game based on local history and heritage, which aims to drive tourists to less-known sites in Jordan. Entirely based on luck, the game sheds light on the hidden treasures of the ancient cradle of civilizations in a playful and educative way. 

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Student/Journalist TANDEM Mohammed al Kahlout & Mohammed Hasan-al-Rifai

Country:
Palestine *, Syria *
Sectors:
Civil Society, Culture, Media, Youth

The short documentary “Gaza and Idlib” on Thursday evening was awarded as part of the TANDEM Media Awards organised by EU Neighbours South under the theme SPEAK UP CULTURE!

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Wasan Alsayed The entrepreneurial computer engineering student

Country:
Palestine *
Project:
Be a Firefighter
Sectors:
Education, Employment & entrepreneurship, Research & innovation

Four school friends took it upon themselves to bring more safety and awareness surrounding fire in Palestine. At only 20 years old, Wasan AlSayed and her friends created ‘Be a Firefighter’, a Virtual Reality educational game spreading awareness on the reduction and prevention of fires.

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Wesam Sarhan The persistent applied researcher

Country:
Egypt
Project:
NanoEbers
Sectors:
Agriculture & rural development, Employment & entrepreneurship, Research & innovation

Wesam Sarhan is a nanotechnology professor who develops innovative medical solutions that respond to real life problems. Produced from locally sourced materials, her inventions help solve some of the shortcomings the region is facing in terms of medical infrastructure.

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Women / Man journalists TANDEM 2021 Fatima Zahra Jabbour & Wail Bourchabene

Country:
Morocco
Sectors:
Civil Society, Culture, Gender issues, Media, Youth

At the beginning, there was COVID-19. And then, there were Fatima Zahra Jabbour and Wail Bourchabene, two young Moroccan journalists at Hespress wondering “but… how can street performers perform without their streets?!”

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Yamina Bouchikh The entrepreneurial microbiologist

Country:
Algeria
Project:
TANMU
Sectors:
Education, Employment & entrepreneurship, Gender issues, Health, Research & innovation, Youth

Through TANMU, a start-up in the making, Yamina Bouchikh uses of bacteria from household and agrifood waste to create ecological, vegan material like leather. The professor in microbiology promotes a radical change in our production processes to ensure a more sustainable future. 

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Youness Ouazri The eco-builder Switcher

Country:
Morocco
Project:
Eco-dôme
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Eco-dôme is a start-up which constructs ecological dome-shaped houses. The innovation of the eco-domes resides, in particular, in the use of local natural earth, which enables the buildings to guarantee acoustic and thermal insulation, without the need for heating or air-conditioning.

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Youssef El Idrissi The bustling artist

Country:
Morocco
Project:
"Youth-Led Cultural and Civic Initiatives" - Konaktif
Sectors:
Culture, Youth

Youssef El Idrissi uses his multi-faceted artistic talents to democratise access to arts and culture. Through a number of grassroots collectives, he strives to promote the right to public spaces and forge social links between and amongst communities.

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Zeid Koudsi The agritourism-driven Switcher

Country:
Jordan
Project:
Dibeen Eco Farm
Sectors:
Employment & entrepreneurship, Environment

Dibeen Eco Farm is a guesthouse offering a unique experience to visitors in the midst of nature. Dibeen is also an online marketplace that connecting the consumers to local producers, allowing access to high quality local products while benefiting local economy producers.

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