In 2021, we were able to set up strategic partnerships and have signed agreements with agencies such as Cités Unies and La Guilde from France and Arcenciel in Lebanon.
Following a strategic planning workshop conducted, the vision and mission were revised, and the strategic priorities, objectives and structure were set. Also, we expanded the core team by hiring Farah Abi Mosleh for grant writing and Sabine Karam as our financial officer.
Furthermore, we were able to increase our capacities by engaging 30 architecture students and volunteers and hiring 4 graduates as project architects. Based on a needs assessments conducted as part of the summer internship in Di-Lab, we was able to build 2 prototypes for an urban farming unit and a market stall for arc en ciel farmers’ market in taanayel and developed 2 project proposals and concept designs for an industrial kitchen in Rmeil and a community center in Karantina.
Our first project, the ‘Crossing Together’ community center, has become a successful model for bottom-up community engagement. The center has constantly increased its capacities and number of beneficiaries by distributing ready-meals, food parcels, and medicine. Moreover, providing psychosocial support and family therapy to people affected by Beirut Blast. With Caritas medical services now, the center is supporting 600 families per month.
Based on this experience, we have teamed up with the Beirut Urban Lab (BUL) from the American University of Beirut to develop a similar concept, the ‘Nafas’ Community Center in the Karantina area which is next to the Beirut port where the explosion happened. We were able to secure around 60,000 USD for the rehabilitation of the warehouse to become a social hub in Karantina. The iconic design was conducted in collaboration with the Di-Lab, offering a diverse program ranging from food production and a marketplace to theatre and psychosocial support. We also teamed up with different NGOs providing programs at a yearly budget of 400,000 USD. We are currently waiting for the building permission from the Beirut municipality hoping to start construction early next year.
The designed marketplace in Taanayel in the Bekaa valley and urban farming units for rooftops and public spaces prototypes were constructed with the support of Arcenciel NGO. We hope that the models will be scaled for the benefit of improving the local production of food to support households in affected areas of the country.
D4C aims to increase its capacities and reach more vulnerable people in 2022. For this purpose, we seek to continuously reinforce the organizational structure and development of D4C. Having successfully registered the NGO and established our policies and financial structure, we are working towards being certified by NGOi which is an agency within AUB that reviews and assesses the governance and administrative structures as well as operational principles of our NGO.
As our vision is also to empower young people to be engaged in creating sustainable and innovative projects that serve the community, we are aiming to set up a hybrid educational and professional training program, where the design community can acquire knowledge and develop skills for community-based projects. We believe that this will not only serve young professional architects and engineers who can’t find jobs, but also increase our capacities to reach out to a broader community in need.