Enter any Syrian household and you will find that, by the force of habit, they have stores of recyclable materials; a big plastic bag full of smaller plastic bags, a corner under the sink reserved for reusable plastic bottles and containers, empty metal cans, a box full of old screws and nails and neatly flattened & stored cartoon boxes… The reason why this “junk” is being stored is because “who knows, one day it might come in handy”. That is the main message behind the accelerator lab campaign #الا_ما_تنفع (#itmightbeuseful) that was launched in collaboration with Shebak Souri, a youth led platform.
The campaign was part of the accelerator lab work on highlight novelties in household recycling, had two main purposes. First, to highlight stories and solutions of positive deviants in the Syrian community, who are recycling, reusing, and repurposing different materials in innovative ways and who are able to save money from utilizing these recyclable materials. Second, to educate the platform audience, mainly youth, on what is recyclable — and why waste contaminating reduces value and might cause a health hazard for both the individual and downstream in the chain.
Extended over the period of three weeks, the campaign was made up of 7 videos and 14 posts. The videos featured 5 recycling stories whilst the other two focused on the importance of recycling especially in times of crises. The posts were designed in a way to reduce confusions concerning recycling of different categories of materials. Each one of the posts contained information about a recyclable material and how it can be recycled correctly.
Working with youth:
The concept of the campaign was co-designed with Shebak-Souri, a youth led platform that supports youth and raise awareness on youth issues and challenges. As for the production, direction and designing of posts and videos they were all made depending on the resources and talents available within Shebak Souri network. This way, the campaign achieved another indirect positive outcome: empowering youth led initiatives and encouraging youth to be leaders and positive change makers in their communities.
After analyzing the data gathered from audience’s interaction with the campaign through comments, reactions (positive and negative) and evaluating the reach of the post; the following insights is worth sharing:
Comments indicated that there is a level of awareness about recycling among audience, but only at a very basic level. Although people knew about recycling, they are still unfamiliar with related topics like segregation, potential for a circular economy and its importance within a crisis context. Moreover, the comments introduced us to new and different grassroot recycling initiatives within Syria that we were not aware of. Another interesting insight that confirmed our previous findings is the increased number of waste pickers across Syria. Several people pointed out that waste pickers are sometimes the only source of waste collection in many communities. This means that there is a serious need for NGOs, international or national to start investing its resources to encourage working with this marginalized group of people to organize their work and improve their working conditions without causing any harm to them or to their informal work.
Check below some of the interesting videos that have been shared on this campaign: