Now in Lebanon: a cewas Middle East Start-up Programme

A new cewas Middle East Start-up Programme has kicked off in collaboration with Fondation Diane and Berytech in Lebanon. Since March 2018, 15 participants of the the  programme have started working on their ideas to turn them into business models, while also developing their promotional strategies and financial plans to manage their start-ups successfully. Currently, the start-ups are preparing their pitches in order to win a trip to the World Water Week in Stockholm, AMWAJ event in Barcelona and up to 15,000k.

Event for Supporting Palestinian cewas Start-ups

Social entrepreneurship in Palestine is still a nascent sector. To further support the Palestinian cewas start-ups, we teamed up with BuildPalestine and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to initiate a conversation around how to develop further social enterprise support structures.  The aim is to bring together the existing start-up sector, key government, donors, NGO community and private sector representatives to grow social entrepreneurship in Palestine. The event was a morning roundtable discussion that identified important stakeholders, addressed the key areas and challenges that need support and inputs from the community on the general process of building up social entrepreneurship in Palestine. In attendance were representatives from Birzeit University, The Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, Mercy Corp, GIZ, Global Communities, Ibtikar Fund, Hult Prize Palestine, JEST Hub as well as social entrepreneurs themselves.

SSWM Training in Vulnerable Contexts In Amman (Jordan)

In cooperation with GIZ and GTO (German Toilet Organization), cewas Middle East offered a 5 days training course on Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM) in October 2017 with special focus on fragile contexts for agencies and NGOs working in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The applied training provided WASH practitioners with various planning and implementation tools to build their capacities in the field. Participants had the opportunity to exchange information through group work, develop a sanitation system for real life case studies and gain practical insights during a field trip to the SMART demonstration site in Fuheis, where different decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse technologies are featured.

cewas Roadshow in Palestine - Towards a Greener Future

On July 19th, 2017, cewas Middle East organised a Roadshow event at Work Factory Manara. At the event, cewas environmental start-ups from Palestine showcased their business to invited guests from the start-up, donor and investment community.  Participants then discussed in several working groups what is needed to make green innovations flourish in Palestine, a mission, in which cewas hopes to involve many others.

Launch of the first Arabic "Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies"

Download the very first Arabic version of this popular and systemic planning tool. The Arabic version of EAWAG’s “Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies” represents a long needed instrument towards improved sanitation. Engineers, planners, decision-makers, non- governmental organizations staff as well as students from the arabic speaking world are now provided with an easily accessible knowledge tool and guide on how to achieve improvements in sanitation systems within contexts of scarce water resources, population growth and conflicts. The publication of this compendium is the result of a collaboration between cewas Middle East, EAWAG and Benaa Foundation and the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

February 9-12th, 2017: Water Innovation Lab, Palestine

The cewas Middle East Water Innovation Lab was a 4-days training course and part of the second round of the cewas Start-Up Programme in Palestine. Entrepreneurs, non-profit organisations and public institutions developed new sustainable business ideas in the water, sanitation and waste sector. The hands-on workshop guided participants through a creative idea development and innovation process to find a sustainable solution for a specific challenge. In a next step, participants will further develop and test their business idea, get one-on-one coaching from cewas Middle East and will define their business models in the upcoming training module in April.


cewas Middle East expanding to Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq

This past year, the Palestine Start-up Programme was not the only activity at cewas Middle East. Expanding its activities into Jordan, Lebanon and Kurdistan Iraq, the team has been focusing on introducing the unique Start-Up Programme in Jordan and Lebanon and developing targeted trainings in sustainable WASH to support actors responding to the on-going humanitarian crisis. In addition, cewas Middle East has taken an active role in raising awareness and providing access to relevant information and trainings material on sustainable sanitation in the Middle East.

Capacity Building Trainings in the WASH sector

As part of cewas Middle East’s capacity development efforts, an emergency WASH training has been conducted in Jordan in September 2016, in cooperation with the German WASH Network. Within the next two years cewas Middle East will offer a total of 12 relevant, specialized, target group-oriented trainings in Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan (Iraq) to practitioners working for local-based relief-agencies, NGOs and other institutions. The aim of this activity is to strengthen the local capacity in water, sanitation and resource management with special focus on improving the sustainability of emergency response.

AMWAJ 2018: Mediterranean Water And Journalism forum for sustainable development

This week, cewas Middle East joined water actors, journalists and scientists at 2018’s AMWAJ – A Mediterranean Water And Journalism Forum for Sustainable Development in Barcelona. Two of the start-ups from our 2018 Lebanese programme batch also presented their innovative approaches at the conference: Ramzi Bou Khalil of clean2o and CubeX/Compost Baladi’s founder Marc Aoun. We were especially grateful for the opportunity to honour our Water Open Eye Award winner, Mostapha Raad, who participated in a media training we ran in the Middle East together with Borda, MiCT and the SDC.

New Start-up Programme in the North of Jordan

In March 2018 the Water Entrepreneurship Programme in Irbid (Jordan) kicked off. The programme is implemented by cewas Middle East in close collaboration with Shamal Start and seeks to to provide incubation services to start-ups from the North of Jordan with a viable business idea related to water, sanitation and waste management.

SSWM Trainings in Kurdistan

In February 2018, two trainings took place in Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah on the topic of SSWM. The trainings aimed at linking up integrated water resource management, decentralised sustainable sanitation technologies and agriculture. Each training had 21 participants from different sectors (governmental NGOs,..etc), who worked in groups to develop sustainable sanitation solutions for their region.


Startupweekend In Lebanon: Agriculture, Food, Water

cewas Middle East in cooperation with Berytech and Agrytech hosted the first Startup Weekend in the Bekaa and the ever to focus on agriculture, food and water challenges in Lebanon. On Dec 8-10th 2017, 30 participants spent 54 hours working on innovative solutions on the University Saint Joseph Agricultural campus. 9 teams pitched their innovations for cash prizes, and virtual follow up incubation at Berytech. Two more startup weekends focusing on agriculture, food and water will be launched in 2018.

Trainings, field trips and the cewas Shark Tank

During the different thematic training modules of the cewas Middle East Start-up program in Jordan,15 entrepreneurs have developed their business models, promotion and networking strategies and learnt how to apply financial tools to manage their start-ups successfully. A field trip to green start-ups (Wadi VeraGroasis WaterboxxGreening The Camps and Greening the Desert) provided great insights to the experiences and actual work of Jordan’s environmental change makers.
The cewas Shark Tank event, designed after the famous TV show ‘Shark Tank’, took place at the end of the last training module in October. The start-ups pitched in front of potential investors and clients – the sharks – and had to answer challenging questions. An important step into the real life of an entrepreneur.

Arabic version of the Special Topic Page "SSWM in Humanitarian Crises" now online!

The Special Topic Entry Page (STEP) on Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management in Humanitarian Crises is the go-to knowledge platform for water, sanitaiton and hygiene promotion practitioners in humanitarian crises. Due to the STEP’s particular relevance for the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, the comprised 175 factsheets were translated to Arabic, making STEP “SSWM in Humanitarian Crises” the first bilingual STEP on SSWM!

New: SSWM in Humanitarian Crises

Our flagship SSWM toolbox (Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management) Toolbox now has a dedicated section for humanitarian crises. This past year, cewas Middle East has spent months developing an incredible resource with 170 factsheets to help Arabic and English speaking WASH decision makers design, create and implement more sustainable projects. The Arabic translation is currently ongoing and will be launched by the end of the summer. We are offering a series of trainings and workshops based on the toolbox in Jordan, Lebanon and Kurdistan, Iraq in 2017.

December 11-15th, 2016: Training in Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management (SSWM), Kurdistan-Iraq

The training offered by cewas Middle East in cooperation with BORDA was built on the SSWM Toolbox with the aim of linking up sustainable sanitation, water management and agriculture at the local level and in practice. The SSWM Training course enabled 27 participants working in local gov’t institutions and local and international organizations to fully exploit the benefits of the SSWM Toolbox and develop a thorough understanding of Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management. The 5 day Course followed a participatory, cross-institutional and interdisciplinary approach. Besides face-to-face lectures, group works and case studies, visits to existing projects and role-plays revealed creativity and make participants think in a holistic way.

November 14-17, 2. Round Start-up Programme

From 14th – 27th November, the 2nd round of the Palestine start-up programme kicked off with new innovative startups in sustainable water, sanitation and resource management, some of which have already participated in the cewas business competitions, organized by cewas Middle East and local partners. But for the first time, not only start-ups participated in the training programme. Also local organizations, water service providers and other sector relevant institutions are now offered the training for strategic innovation development. The next training module of the programme will take place from 9th – 12th February.

July 17-19th, 2016: Smart Start-Up Competition, Bethlehem​

cewas Middle East in partnership with the Swiss Development Cooperation and the Bethlehem Business Incubator is opening the second cewas Smart Start-Up Programme in Palestine.  The 3 – day event will help participants understand sustainability challenges in Palestine and develop business ideas and solutions. It will give them the opportunity to meet members of the cewas Middle East Think Tank and the cewas mentors, get one-on-one coaching for their business idea, learn how to pitch and win prizes!

WE Talk Series: Innovation in Water and Energy

In collaboration with BORDA-WesCA and the Swedish Embassy, cewas Middle East hosted the second event of the Water and Energy Talk Series in Amman, Jordan. On September 23rd, the public was invited to discuss with experts on the meaning of the word innovation, the role it plays in  the Jordanian water and energy sector and what is takes to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. cewas Middle East start-ups from Jordan and Lebanon pitched and showcased their new innovative solutions.

Training on Innovation in SSWM in Beirut

Between 5-8th March 2018 and in collaboration with pS-Eau, cewas Middle East held a training on the topic of innovation in SSWM. For four days, 20 participants worked in teams on exploring current SSWM challenges in their local context and designing their own solutions to solve these challenges. The solutions have been developed into business models and each team pitched theirs at the end of the training. The training was funded by the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development.

The Social Entrepreneurship Series, starting in January 2018

In continuation of the kick off roundtable discussion on social entrepreneurship, together with BuildPalestine and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, cewas has launched the “Social Entrepreneurship Series”, a monthly series on various topics of relevance to social entrepreneurship in Palestine. The aim is to engage the community so that we can build up support structures that support social enterprises in Palestine.  January 9th 2018 was the first talk titled “Sustainable Revenue Streams” featuring NGOS and organizations in Palestine that have had experience in diversifying their revenues away from grants and donations.

Conflict Sensitive Journalism Trainings in the Water Sector

In cooperation with MiCT and BORDA, seecon has offered three-days training in both Jordan and Lebanon. The training aimed at providing journalists with an overview about water challenges in the region by working interactively with water and sanitation experts as well as entrepreneurs working in the field. By the end of the training, participants left with water captivating stories that could and would reach the public attention.

Sanitation Systems and Technologies Workshop

In cooperation with the Jordan Engineers Association, University of Jordan and Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Research (eawag), cewas Middle East offered a 3 half-days workshop in October 2017 on the Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies (English/Arabic) for participants from the private sector and academia.

Water and Business Challenge in Jordan

cewas Middle East kicked off the Jordanian Start-up Programme with a Water and Business Challenge. From 27th to 29th April 15 entrepreneurs with different backgrounds, but a strong environmental passion and business ideas that could help to solve Jordan water, sanitation or waste challenges participated in the hands-on training workshop. Mentors, coaches and an expert jury supported the start-ups, who will now take part in a year long programme to launch their businesses.

cewas Middle East at Arab Water Week 2017

From 19th-22nd March 2017, the fourth Arab Water Week Conference was held at the Dead Sea in Jordan. cewas Middle East participated with a group of partners of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), hosting a joint booth and the session “Scaling-up sustainable sanitation through the MENA Regional Chapter of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)” to celebrate the launch of the new SuSanA Regional Chapter for the Middle East and North Africa.

December 4-8th, 2016: WASH in Emergencies Training, Kurdistan-Iraq

With the support of the German Toilet Organization (GTO), cewas Middle East conducted a WASH in Emergencies training to strengthen humanitarian preparedness and response capacity for the staff of the Joint Coordination Centre of the Kurdistan Regional Government (JCC).

The overall goal of the training course was to empower and sensitise JCC staff on the importance and implications of WASH in humanitarian response, to activate a change in the design, planning, implementation, operation and maintenance of WASH services for displaced communities, who are currently hosted in camps and settlements in Kurdistan.

The training was based on lectures in English and Kurdish, followed by practical examples represented through case studies developed by the participants themselves and supported with coaching from the trainers.

New ways of knowledge sharing in the Middle East

Recognizing that the Middle East is lacking access and knowledge about existing key information and training material on sustainable sanitation, cewas Middle East is highly motivated to fill this gap and engaged in several efforts to do so. One project targets the development of an Arabic version of the EAWAG Compendium on Sustainable Sanitation Systems and Technologies, a key information source for sanitation and highly appreciated by practitioners globally. So far it has been hardly used in the Middle East, mainly due to language barriers. Another project aims at the establishment of a Middle East Regional Chapter as part of the online platform Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). SuSanA is an international alliance, which links on the ground experience with sustainable sanitation with an engaged community. Its incredible knowledge pool will be now strongly marketed in the Middle East and content relevant to the region will be displayed in the Regional Chapter.