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Our incubated CSOs are winning awards in international competitions

Thanks to SwitchMed training, CSOs become more able to win competitions, get more visibility and funds.
Published on Apr 06, 2018

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Thanks to SwitchMed training, civil society organisations receive high level expert technical and organizational support to implement successfully their ongoing project as well as future ones. Moreover, capacitated CSOs become more able to win international competitions and get more visibility and funds to implement their circular activities. In this context and thanks to its perseverance and technical skills, Lebanese “Bus Map Project” co-founder Chadi Faraj has recently won the First Prize in the Urb-Hackathon. 

The Urb-Hackathon was organized in Beirut by e-EcoSolutions and IPT Energy Center (IPTEC), led by the experts from La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris and was under the theme: “Data-Urbanism: Reducing City Air Pollution From Transport.”This event presented a unique opportunity for ambitious professionals, entrepreneurs, & university students to work together in teams challenging each other on solving urban problems in a limited time frame, and in the most technologically advanced and innovative ways. The Urb-Hackathon drove the participants to form working teams, brainstorm, design, and present solutions that allow cities to function more efficiently, be more responsive to community members and ultimately create better, more equitable and sustainable urban environments for people to live in.Among all participants, Bus Map Project co-founder Chadi Faraj swept the First Prize with his innovative public transportation tracking system as part of Team "#BeirutDetox"! The winning pitch builds on Chadi's bus tracking model, first developed and prototyped as


Photo credit  @locomobi

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention, perseverance leads to success"

BMP co-founder and Switcher, Chadi Faraj, is a software engineer who rides the bus everyday in Beirut and knows how much the public transportation infrastructure needs to be improved for the well being of its riders.

In fact, the informal transit system in Lebanon is complex, and requires a high level of social innovation to serve and transform it. To meet this challenge, Bus Map Project, with the support of SwitchMed, has been working on making the informal system more visible by building bridges between data-based and discursive advocacy.

Chadi leads the data-driven side of this effort (including the soon-to-be-public portal), and has also benefited from SwitchMed's Green Entrepreneurship mentoring. His bus tracking work was first prototyped as, and he has since refined his concept and participated in several SocEnt programs and networks (including AUB's Center for Research and Innovation). The aim of this bus tracking system (tentatively called "Smarter Connections”) is to provide live bus data in a low-cost way to apps and platforms like BMP's and others, as well as adding a new layer of "smartness" to transport infrastructure. Some of this infrastructure already exists (i.e. the buses themselves, telecom, etc.), and some of it will need to be built (like  the"Smart Bus Stops" that BMP's partners, H2 Eco Design, are working on);

Urb-Hackathon's prize has recognized Chadi's hard work and originality, and has been a great opportunity for networking, as the winning pitch emerged from an ad-hoc team formed during the hackathon (Team "Beirut Detox"). The prize also opens up avenues of some level of institutional support from Urb-Hackathon organizers;

Chadi will keep working on this bus tracking system while integrating it into Bus Map Project's online platform. Bus Map Project will continue to be a catalyst for innovative collaboration and community, as they strive to integrate and amplify transit-oriented initiatives both within the team and outside of it.

SwitchMed incubated initiatives working on Sustainable Transportation

SwitchMed is currently supporting other initiatives around the Mediterranean, promoting social and ecological innovation on sustainable transportation:

 Go Bike event in Cairo. Photocredit @GoBike

Go Bike is a community initiative , it's main aim is spreading the culture of cycling in Egypt by organizing weekly sport events using bicycles to visit archeological, touristic, cultural and recreational sites, awareness campaigns about certain diseases and prevention methods. It promotes the use alternative mean of transportation reducingair pollution and fuel consumption.The initiative started six years ago and is currently in the development and improvement phase.

 LAILA is community Bike Workshop initiative in Tel Aviv. It promotes the use of sustainable transport by facilitating access to bicycles and teaching skills required to fix them in Tel Aviv. The initiative also helps reducing waste by reusing discarded bicycles and parts. Community Bike Workshop redirects these materials back into underserved communities where they teach community members to refurbish them and then re-integrate them into the transportation grid. Currently fundraising to open a permanent space the initiative will also produce electricity through stationary bicycles situated in their facility. Whenever needed, people will ride these bicycles and provide electricity needed for lighting, charging computers, etc.