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D4C’s Newsletter 2022

As the end of the year draws near, we would like to share Design for Communities’ 2022 work and progress, and 2023 goals and ambitions. The success of D4C is based on building strong relationships with donors and partners. Over the past year we have added new team members and developed various sustainable community-based projects across Lebanon. Our passion in supporting young architects to design and innovate at the service of affected communities, remains strong and at the heart of our work. To this day, we have trained and mentored 50 young professionals and served more than 1000 vulnerable households across Lebanon.

What we have achieved

This year has been filled with a multitude of both challenges and opportunities. However, in a country in crisis like Lebanon, architects can play a major role in the sustainable development of their society. Through empowering young professionals and developing their sense of civic engagement, we have enhanced the living conditions of vulnerable communities for the upcoming years.

Mentoring Program

We are glad to be piloting our mentoring program for young professionals through the Tabadol program  which is implemented by Make Sense and funded by Asfari Foundation. D4C is upgrading the curriculum  with experts in the field and developing three courses to be delivered to the young professionals in the  beginning of 2023. The courses are: Social Design, Environmental Design and Community Engagement.  Each course is being developed by specialized instructors and experts. This program is the first step  towards D4C’s financial sustainability.  

The mentoring program will enable D4C interns and trainees to design and implement community-based  projects in a professional and sustainable manner. Examples are the Social Circus and Al Rassif. These  projects were developed as proposals with partners who would undertake their operation and are in the  process of being pitched for funding.


Urban Farming

The project aims to promote environmental justice and social inclusion in the Chiyah area. It aims to empower 25 women through providing facilities that allow them to grow their own food. The facility design proposes user friendly and modular farming units through the adaptation of a scaffolding system. Women can engage in growing herbs and vegetables and interact socially with the community. The scaffolding system can be adjusted and customized according to the needs of each user taking into consideration people with disabilities. Also, it optimizes local agricultural production in urban areas.

Social Circus

The Social Circus project proposal was designed by young professionals with the supervision of D4C experts to create an enabling environment for mental wellbeing. The Social Circus refers to the use of circus art as a medium for self-improvement, social skills and wellbeing to improve the psychosocial situation of disadvantaged children and young people in underprivileged areas. It is a mobile demountable structure that could be moved throughout Lebanon to different locations based on the needs of the community and allows circus activities, training and performances to be delivered in it.


The ‘Nafas’ project mentioned in the 2021 Newsletter was approved by Beirut municipality after a long period of negotiations for the building permits. The multi-functional community center is located at the heart of Karantina, one of the most affected Beirut neighborhoods by the blast in 2020. Through a versatile program that will be offered by different NGOs, the center will become the prime destination for the local community. It will provide programs and activities based on their needs. The project is a design collaboration between D4C and the Beirut Urban Lab (BUL) and construction start is slated for January 2023 with the support of Fondation De France, La Guilde, Cités Unies and Toufic Mouawad Initiative.

Al Rassif

The Al-Rassif project proposal is addressing one of Beirut’s old busy streets: Ibn Rushed. The project’s aim is to enhance and upgrade the streetscapes of Ibn Rushed street. It will provide inclusion, accessibility and mobility within the street and will enhance the social practices of the inhabitants, business owners and workers living in the area, thus improving the social cohesion between community members .

Partnership and Outreach

In 2022, D4C worked on setting new partnerships with local and International NGOs to increase the brand awareness within the NGO’s ecosystem in Lebanon. We have joined the Social Stability Working Group under “Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP)” and the “Lebanon Humanitarian Development Forum (LHDF)”. This will allow us to partner and collaborate with different NGOs for designing or implementing projects across Lebanon. Our relationship with donors was also continuously reinforced with various progress meetings on the projects they are funding, especially addressing challenges related to finances. As mentors and young professionals, our expertise is in designing and constructing spaces that improve the wellbeing of their users and affect their sense of belonging to their communities, neighborhoods and cities. Our partnerships complement our work in providing specific programs that address the needs of the communities such as capacity and peace building, psychosocial support, up-skilling and others.

As part of expanding our reach, we were happy to be invited to be part of a panel discussion under Fantasmeem funded by Goethe institute to discuss the relation between design, cultural colonialism and sustainability.

In addition, we organized on December 8th, 2022, our first Annual Gathering where more than 50 friends, partners, donors and academics gathered in Barzakh Library in Hamra to share information on Design for Communities projects and activities and network with the D4C community.

Vision and Strategic Path

In 2021, we established our vision and strategic path. This year was instrumental in building our business  model, developing our financial sustainability and working on our four strategic priorities: organizational  structure, partnerships, educational programs and community-based projects. Policies and procedures  were developed to align fully with international standards of NGOs, on the human resources level, the  financial aspect and the relationships with donors and partners. Through the Tabadol program, we took  capacity building sessions to strengthen our organization. D4C’s o ices were reorganized to allow students,  interns and professionals to collaborate freely and engage in developing innovative sustainable  community-based programs and projects. We also expanded the team and hired a communications officer  and extended our board to additional members: Bashir Kallas joined as treasurer, as well as Architect Raed  Abi Llamaa. The sta  team expanded with the addition of two junior architects who started as interns and  became team leads for various architectural projects.

Prospect 2023

In 2023, we aim to expand our educational program to involve more young professionals and encourage  universities across Lebanon to adopt our mentorship program at their Architectural Departments or  faculties.  

Our partnerships, and exposure to our expertise will also be essential in creating opportunities such as  consultancies among others to allow young professionals to develop and implement other projects that  would serve communities around us. 

The progress towards achieving our strategic priorities will continue as we will elaborate a more developed  business model to ensure the financial sustainability of the organization over the next few years.  

Hence, as we approach the joyous celebration of Christmas and New Year, we would like to take a moment  to thank you for your kindness and support and we urge you to come forward and support Lebanon and our  work!

Cheers to a fruitful 2023!

Karim Najjar,
Founding President
Sarah Rita Kattan,
Executive Director

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