The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Belgian community-tech company Unbox are proud to announce a transformative collaboration aimed at revolutionizing waste management and digital inclusivity in the Gaza Strip. Called UNLitter Gaza, this initiative aligns with both organizations' goals of promoting sustainable practices and improving quality of life, particularly among the refugee population in Gaza.
What is UNLitter Gaza?
UNLitter Gaza is an initiative aimed at creating a technology-driven digital infrastructure to enhance solid waste sorting and disposal. It functions as an alternative model for waste management and introduces innovative mechanisms for behavioral change and fostering circular economies, especially in regions grappling with economic difficulties.
"70 per cent of Gazans are under the age of 29 [...] this initiative enables us to engage, in partnership with Unbox, with young people in Gaza."
Thomas WHITE, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza
Objective and Scope
The core objectives of the UNLitter Gaza program extend beyond responsible waste disposal to modernizing recycling protocols, raising environmental awareness, and mobilizing the community in eco-friendly activities. The initiative aligns with multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Goal 3 (Health and Well-being), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), and others.
"Unbox is committed to digital inclusion, aiming to bridge the technological divide regardless of geographic constraints."
Erik SAELENS, Unbox CEO
Technological Challenges of Digital Inclusion and Unbox's Solution
Recognizing the limitations of low network connectivity (2G) and other infrastructural challenges in Gaza, Unbox has tailored its Web 3.0 technology to make it compatible and beneficial for individuals in restricted settings. Our technology focuses on digital inclusion, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their location or resources, can benefit from cutting-edge technological advancements. This focus on digital inclusion is not just a feature but a necessity for technologies aiming to create real-world impact.
Statements from Stakeholders
Mr. Thomas WHITE, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, emphasized the three-fold importance of this collaboration:
Engaging young people, who make up about 70% of Gaza's population.
Introducing advanced technology to Gazans.
Addressing waste management and environmental concerns.
Mr. Erik SAELENS, CEO of Unbox, stated: “Unbox is committed to digital inclusion, aiming to bridge the technological divide regardless of geographic constraints. Our initiative showcases the possibility of making advanced technology accessible, even in resource-limited regions."
The Road Ahead
Following a successful pilot phase at the Gaza Training Centre (GTC) and Gaza Field Office (GFO), UNRWA and Unbox aim to extend the UNLitter Gaza program throughout the Gaza Strip. Insights gathered from the pilot are instrumental in scaling the program, impacting surrounding schools and refugee camps, and contributing to long-term environmental betterment and digital economy advancement in Gaza.
Read more: UNRWA Press Release
UNLitter Gaza stands as a testament to what collaborative efforts between organizations committed to technological innovation and humanitarian causes can achieve. It embodies Unbox's core values of enabling smarter, more efficient, and transparent systems, all while striving for inclusivity and sustainability.