news-icon 25/05/2021

Discover the 10 selected teams who are enabling youth empowerment and waste management with their solutions as part of the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI).

An app for waste management


The Swiss Pavilion in partnership with Swissnex has launched the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI). This initiative brings together students from universities across the Middle East region to develop innovative solutions for a cleaner environment, promoting the circular economy and encouraging youth empowerment.

Mentors from Swiss universities and companies are working hand in hand with the teams, facilitating exchanges and strategic connections for future collaborations. Best projects will be exposed at the Swiss Pavilion and team members will be invited to take part in additional activities, such as workshops and joint panels, leading to unique networking opportunities.

Finalists will be announced during summer and will be given opportunities to further develop their project, in partnership with our judges, mentors and local incubators. Let’s discover the 10 selected teams who are enabling youth empowerment and waste management with their solutions.


The application I-collect

This project can be described as an innovative waste collection system that optimizes the following processes: sorting, distribution, and the collection of specific types of waste like plastic, food, paper, electronic and glass to name a few examples. This project empowers the youth by giving them the opportunity to be part of this process by dropping their own sorted home waste inside our collection center via a smart recycle bin that will weigh the contribution and provide them with a QR code using the application we are developing and putting rewards in place as incentive for their contributions to our project. The collection center is assisted mainly by volunteers completing their required volunteering hours in the civic engagement course. The collected waste is shredded or hydraulically pressed to be later sold to NGOs and companies, thus ensuring us a profit to operate and give the rewards to the contributors. This system will therefore increase the efficiency and profitability of waste recycling while also raising awareness about the importance of the recycling industry while motivating and rewarding the users for being a part of the positive impact we are trying to make.

Why did you join this initiative?

Since 2015, Lebanon is facing a trash crisis resulting from a lack of solid waste management. After reaching a landfill capacity, trash started piling up on the roads. Lebanon is facing an economic crisis which an added huge cost of landfill reliance will overburden. If a new solution to waste management was implemented, it could save up to $74 million per year since 85% of solid waste in Lebanon are being dropped in open trashcans. We loved to be a working part in an initiative aiming to improve waste management and target circular economy and youth unemployment.


What do you like about Switzerland?

About Switzerland, we like its nature and landscapes. Also, the variety of the activities from hiking or enjoying a walk around a beautiful village to hanging out with friends in Montreux. The most important activity is skiing around the beautiful mountains. Not to forget the great livestock this country holds. Most importantly, the scientific aspect Switzerland always works on improving like the CERN lab, the high ranked universities… making this world a better place. We also like the diversity of its people and the safety this country provides for its residents; Switzerland is a role model country even for first world countries.


Who are the team members?

  • Maria Khalil, a fifth-year civil engineering student at the Holy Spirit university of Kaslik-USEK. Having a great interest in the environmental and sustainability field, I applied to a master’s degree of environmental engineering and sustainability management after which I wish to improve and help my community and all future generations. In this project, I am playing a marketing role to encourage all youth and students to participate in this process and to ensure the biggest number of buyers to maximise our profits.


  • Adib Abboud, mechanical engineering student. I am currently a volunteer with the Lebanese firefighting and rescue department (Lebanese civil defense). In 2019, I founded a startup that works I the recycling field and I won with it the 2019 local Hult prize for best environmental startup. Some of my interests and passions are space, nature and sports. In this project, I mainly contribute as a technical expert regarding the design of the process and the technology behind it.


  • Chantal Abou Harb, I am a 5th year Civil Engineering student at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik. Currently I am an Assistant Team Leader and a Search and Rescue team member at the Lebanese Red Cross. As our final year project my group and I worked on the hydraulic and structural design of a water purification treatment plant. In this project I am the sales representative, my work consists on providing more information about our idea and negotiating contracts with potential clients.


  • Manuella Richa, currently enrolled in my final year of civil engineering at the holly spirit university of kaslik, USEK. My interest in the environmental field came from my childhood when I was a member of Scout du Liban, as I discovered the importance of the availability of each natural material in its clean form. This encouraged me to expand my researches and develop more sustainable solutions to save the planet and its resources. Planning to pursue my education in Environmental engineering and sustainability management.


  • Christian Matar, I am a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon. I am looking forward to continuing my studies in the energy and environmental field. I previously worked on many projects in the environmental field including one concerning waste treatment, where I designed an organic waste treatment machine capable of reducing 80% of the waste volume and transform it to dry compost. As part of the Engineering Team, I am looking forward to the next step in the Swissnex competition, hoping to complete the initiative we started.


  • Perla Nohra, I am a 5th year mechanical engineering student at the Holy spirit University of kaslik. Started a small restaurant back in 2017, with a new concept where its evolution through sustainability and renewable resources. Thus, my final year project consists of designing a machine that makes out 3D printing filaments from water bottles and snail shell powder, where position stand for designing and evaluating performance. Currently, my main function in this project is as programmer.