The SwitchMed programme considers it essential to support community-based social eco-innovation initiatives to maximize their influence and impact, thereby contributing to the emergence of more sustainable models of consumption and production.
In order to help spread Social Eco-Innovation processes, the SwitchMed Programme implements Civil Society Empowerment Workshops at national level. These national workshops include intensive 4-day workshops and are organised in each of the SwitchMed target countries in coordination with local partners. On average, 20 community initiatives are shortlisted in each country, making a total of 180 initiatives across the programme as a whole. Then, out of 20 initiatives, SwitchMed is supporting two per country; the selected initiatives will receive a “coaching” support provided by one of the trainers and a technical support provided by an external expert to respond to the technical needs of the initiative. In addition, they will become part of the Switchers platform and will receive support to develop a crowdfunding campaign, if required.
The support phase for the initiatives from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon will be ending soon while it will be starting soon for initiatives from Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
In Palestine, SwitchMed has selected Sun4You, an initiative that has found a smart way to reduce food waste while providing a source of income for many marginalized women. Led by the women of Jerusalem (Jerusalem Women Forum), Sun4You members will use a solar energy system to dry collected market’s excess fruits and vegetables, then sell these dry products. This pilot project will start soon in villages located in the south of Jerusalem. The second initiative selected in Palestine is Ecological Agriculture and Sustainable Tourism. Based in a farm in the beautiful region of Deir Ballut, this initiative will encourage farmers, citizens, students, and pupils, to adopt sustainable farming practices and will promote locally produced healthy foodsbyconnecting farmers with consumers. This project will also promote ecotourism and the rich natural and historical heritage in the region.
In Jordan, Green Patches from Azraq is going to have support from SwitchMed in order to encourage community members to create green recreational spaces and parks. Youth will be involved in the garden making process and will get familiar with the use of grey water systems, and with repair-reuse-recycle culture. On the other hand, Renewable Sun from al-Kerak will improve the life of its community members by cultivating organic and healthy produce on roofs, balconies and public spaces.
In Egypt, Go Bike initiative is five years old and has been spreading the culture of cycling by organizing weekly cycling tours to visit archeological, touristic, cultural and recreational sites. Make your Rooftop Paradise is an Egyptian initiative that promotes planting edible crops and medicinal plants on roofs to insure continuous healthy food supply to marginalized families of Qena and Sohag areas. It also aims at raising awareness on the importance of recycling household waste to tackle environmental pollution.
In Israel, the selected initiatives are Kayamuta and Community Bike Workshop. Kayamuta aims at creating a “green revolution” in Jerusalem by promoting a sustainable urban lifestyle.The initiative empowers community individuals through workshops, festivals, courses, and shared community spaces/resources. Founded in 2014, Kayamuta has since been encouraging the production of local and small-scale products, creating and running urban farming exhibits and spreading alternative consumerism culture highlighting the repair/ reuse/ recyclelife style.
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Community Bike Workshop promotes the use of sustainable transportation by increasing access to bicycles and the skills required to fix them. 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. The initiative is also producing electricity through stationary bicycles situated in their facility. Whenever needed, people can ride these bicycles and provide electricity needed for lighting, charging computers, etc.
The SwitchMed sustainable consumption and production programme aims to promote a switch by the Mediterranean economies towards sustainable consumption and production patterns and green economy, including low-emission development, through demonstration and dissemination of methods that improve resource and energy efficiency. It also seeks to minimise the environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of products and services and, where possible, to promote renewable energy.